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One died in infancy—and the other three were raised alongside Elisabeth, never to see the light of day. Then, in , one of Elisabeth's children became seriously ill, and was taken to the hospital.

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It was the first time the nineteen-year-old girl had ever gone outside—and soon, the truth about her background, her family's captivity, and Josef's unspeakable crimes would come to light. English-born John Glatt is the author of Lost and Found , Playing with Fire , and many other bestselling books of true crime. He has more than 30 years of experience as an investigative journalist in England and America. Glatt left school at 16 and worked a variety of jobs-including tea boy and messenger-before joining a small weekly newspaper.

Secrets in the Cellar

He freelanced at several English newspapers, then in moved to New York, where he joined the staff for News Limited and freelanced for publications including Newsweek and the New York Post. His first book, a biography of Billy Graham, was published in , and he published For I Have Sinned , his first book of true crime, in Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website.


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To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices. Martin's True Crime. Martin's True Crime St. But only Josef knew the truth about Elisabeth's disappearance… For twenty-seven years, Josef had imprisoned and molested Elisabeth in his man-made basement dungeon, complete with sound-proof paneling and code-protected electric locks. The book is very well written; the only reason it was hard to read was because of the content you were reading about which is so outside the realms of what a normal human being could even think about perpetrating and this man seemed to do it with no problem; its really disturbing to think that people like this are in the world and probably walk by us everyday without our knowledge.

The fact that he was able to keep Elisabeth and three of her children as prisoners for two plus decades without getting caught is very scary to me. That he could pass himself off as a good father, husband, and provider just chills me to the bone.

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The book was easy to read and although I don't read a lot of books in this genre I perceived this book to be well put together and thoroughly researched. It was not just dry facts being listed for the reader it had a rhythm and pace to it that makes me respect the author and his writing ability. If you enjoy true crime novels or are a fan of books in this genre then this is a book you should pick up.

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It really shows a side of the human psyche that is disturbing to realize that someone living in normal society can be that narcissistic, perverted, and just plain EVIL. I know this is a story that I won't be getting out of my head for a while in the foreseeable future. This book is almost well written. It's an account of the events of the Fritzl family, with facts and quotes pulled from witnesses, neighbors, and news reports.

It doesn't appear that the author has had contact with the actual victims or perpetrator, however. It leaves me to wonder who has profited from book sales? I thought initially that it might be the product of a native Austrian journalist, and that something would be lost in translation. However the author is British and has worked in America as well. So, no excuses for the lack of editing.

Phrases, facts, and even sentences and paragraphs are often repeated from chapter to chapter. And not for effect, as one might expect. The result is an unpleasant feeling of de ja vue and annoyance. I would expect to see this more polished. Also, there are no pictures as the description suggests. My final note is that the final pages attempt to explain the "why" of the horrors.

Secrets in the Cellar: The True Story of the Austrian Incest Case That Shocked the World

I appreciate that this is how the book began, and the author has come full circle. However, it makes me feel like it gives more credence to the horrible man who committed these crimes. I would have liked to see it end on a positive note, in respect to hopes for a brighter future for the family. Overall, if you're looking for details of this horrific crime in Austria and quotes from the need, this is it. However be warned that reading it has left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, and not just for the evil man who committed the crimes described.

This author did a great job in creating a full picture of this twisted family for the reader to understand.


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  • He offers a full background from when the father abductor was a young boy, until he's an older man living a split life with two families. This is one of the most horrific abduction novels I have read. The incestuous aspect of the story adds a whole new level of twisted to this poor girl's experience. I don't know how anybody could survive that many years trapped in such a small space underground being continually raped and beaten by their own father. It pains me that "in retrospect" the neighbors and tenants realized something wasn't right.

    How frustrating that must have been for the poor girl to learn once she escaped. It is an absolutely disgrace that the father had a sexually deviant criminal history that continued to get ignored. Everything about this book seemed wrong - from the mother ignoring beatings and rapes going on under their own roof, to the tenants, to even the friends of Elizabeth who knew she was getting raped all along.

    Shame on all of them. I hope these children and this woman are sometimes able to enjoy life and freedom even though their lives have been completely destroyed by this monster. I hope these books bring awareness to the people who read them that this could happen anywhere, to anybody and sometimes a nosey neighbor isn't such a bad thing. This was crazy to read about! What Elizabeth went through for almost more years than I have even been alive is astounding. This book went in depth as to how he created this cellar in secret for so many years and how he managed to trap her down there.

    The only part that was annoying was how certain parts of the story were repeated two to three times as different people were interviewed but it didnt actually change so you had to read the same parts of the story two or three times over again. I'll be looking into what ended up happening to the sentencing since that also wasn't in the book. Go to Amazon.

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