Monday, April 23, 2018

Book Review: 'Mary Flora Bell' by Nancy Veysey and Ryan Becker

Ryan Becker is relatively new to the literary scene, a handsome young man with a penchant for the gruesome. His list of books to date are TRUE CRIME STORIES Volumes 1 and 2, ROBERT BERDELLA: The True Story of a Man who turned his Darkest Fantasies into a Reality Volume 1, EDMUND KEEPER: The True Story of the Brutal Co-Ed Butcher Volume 2, JEFFREY DAHMER: The Gruesome True Story of a Hungry Cannibalistic Rapist and Necrophiliac Serial Killer Volume 3, TED BUNDY The Horrific True Story behind America’s Most Wicked Serial Killer Volume 4 and now MARY FLORA BELL The Horrific True Story behind an Innocent Girl Serial Killer. At the end of this book his biography is scant though important – ‘Ryan Becker aims to write all the stories he has read and watched and letting himself be taken into the world of true mysteries and psychological murder crime stories. He also wants to share his experience of his younger days with the readers on how he immersed himself with the dark reality of the world. He loves to tell a true story that will make you solve a puzzle on your mind. He is now living with his wife and two sons. Ideally, Ryan wants to leave a mark on the reader with his dark true crime stories.’ In this volume he is joined by author Nancy Veysey.

In the Introduction Ryan and Nancy delve into the psychology of children as killers: ‘Evil kids. One of the most terrifying things any writer can possibly conjure up. The twins from The Shining, Samara from The Ring, hell, even young Michael Myers, before he gets all serial kill-ery is one creepy-ass kid. But that’s just fiction, right? Well, what happens when the lines of fiction and reality blur, causing kids to cross them? It wasn’t that long ago we heard about two young girls trying to sacrifice a third girl to the fictional character known as Slender man. If they’re telling the truth, then maybe, just maybe, these girls confused fictional evil acts and the reality of committing evil deeds. So, what about kids who make a conscious choice to commit violent acts, including mutilation and murder? The story that follows is a real story of violence and murder committed by a real kid, who knew exactly what she was doing when she violated other children. She wanted to inflict pain. She wanted to kill. And that’s exactly what Mary Bell did, fifty years ago, in 1968.’

The synopsis is succinct and well scribed- ‘What can drive a young and seemingly innocent child to kill? Murder is horrible enough when perpetrated by adults, and yet the concept takes on a whole new level of chilling morbidity when a murderer is revealed to be a young boy or girl. Is it the result of severe trauma manifesting itself in the most macabre of ways? Is it the progeny of some severe mental disorder? Or were they influenced by the actions of the people they grew up with? Most of the time, the answers to such a question are simple but no less horrific. Eleven-year-old Mary Flora Bell was tried and found guilty in 1968 for the coldhearted murders of two very young boys – crimes which she committed without any hint of remorse. After her past and motives have been examined, hindsight asks the pressing question: Was she a victim in as much as she was a killer? From the details of her murders to the dark childhood she suffered, Mary Flora Bell’s short but horrific time as a child serial killer will be analyzed in detail within.’

Fine writing, expert investigation and documentation, and a pace that speeds the reader through this grotesque tale make this a book to recommend and an introduction to a solid writer. Incredible as it sounds, this book makes a fine if terrifying novel! And to add to the shivers, Ryan adds a Bonus Book of 12 other true crime stories at book’s end! Grady Harp, April 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.