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House of Horrors: The Shocking True Story of Anthony Sowell, The Cleveland Strangler
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House of Horrors: The Shocking True Story of Anthony Sowell, The Cleveland Strangler

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  76 ratings  ·  14 reviews
11 Vulnerable Women...One Charming Predator

To his neighbors, Anthony Sowell was a friendly and helpful former Marine who played chess and hosted summer barbeques. But they didn't know about his dark side -- or the gruesome secret inside his house.

Sowell's secret life was exposed to the nation on Oct. 29, 2009 when a Cleveland Police SWAT team entered his house to arrest h
Paperback, 216 pages
Published October 29th 2012 by Kent State University Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Mary Thoms
A great read for true crime fans. For me, the author did an amazing job of maintaining objectivity and restraint in depicting the gruesome crimes of Anthony Sowell. We learn about the lives of Sowell's 11 victims, and the factors that led to their interactions with him, and their tragic fates, but the book doesn't rely on sensationalism. What I liked most was the weaving of the victims' lives with the life of Sowell. While we can never understand what drives a serial killer, this book sheds some ...more
This was interesting only in that I enjoy true crime stories. The story itself was disturbingly fascinating, but the book itself was lengthy and often repetitive. I actually quit reading 240 pages before the end, because the author was basically repeating facts from previous chapters and essentially recapping every conversation in the courtroom. I found it repetitive and dry with the only good points being statements from friends and families of the victims.
This book was a good look into Anthony Sowell's crimes. It gave life to the victims and the awful reality of drugs and life in the poor community of Cleveland. The author did a good job explaining how the victims found themselves involved with Anthony Sowell. The case was thoroughly researched using tools ranging from court documents to interviews with friends and family from both the perpetrator and the victim. I gave this book three starts only because the story itself is gripping and disturbi ...more
Ronnie Cramer
An interesting book, though it gets repetitive at times and the author mixes past and present tense throughout (often on the same page). Police in Cleveland were criticized for not investigating more aggressively (which is probably true), but there's plenty of blame to go around. Neighbors incorrectly assumed that a local sausage factory was responsible for the stench in the area (of course it was actually decomposing bodies in the killer's house); several women were attacked but escaped, then d ...more
Jan 18, 2013 Ted marked it as to-read
Shelves: first-reads
"*** I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads ***
** The Giveaway was Listed By Robert **
* I received my copy on Wed Jan 16, 2013 *

Gena Koehler
A detailed and well researched account of the horrors of Anthony Sowell. One of the best true crime books I have read.
Chuck Thomas
Robert Sberna provides a well researched and very detailed book about Anthony Sowell and the rapes and murders he committed at his home at 12205 Imperial Avenue, in Cleveland's Mount Pleasant neighborhood. If you enjoy reading true crime books, you will enjoy this one. But be warned, often times the book goes into graphic detail about the sexual assaults that occurred. If you can stomach those details, you'll be fine. In my opinion, I think Sberna had to include those details because it gives th ...more
What is most interesting about serial murder Anthony Sowell is not so much the man himself, but rather the setting that allowed him to terrorize one of the most vulnerable cohorts of our soceity for so long. Author Bob Sberna is extremely respectful and comprehensive, without being overly sympathetic, as he examines each victim, all poor african american women, often struggling with addition. Why police and human services agencies allowed someone with a long sorted history of violence against wo ...more
David Lemoyne
I'm not going to write an official review. But after reading the book, I was inclined to hop on here and voice my opinion of it.
I have been researching the Sowell story ever since it started.
Mr. Sberna has done an excellent job of compiling all of the available information as well as the information from his interviews with Sowell.

The book is an extremely easy read. I bought it one afternoon and had it finished by lunch the next day. Total time reading the book was about 3-4 hours.

If you like tr
John Ferak
House of Horrors is a compelling read, and it's told very matter of factly by Robert Sberna, a talented and experienced investigative journalist who knows Cleveland inside and out.

When you read House of Horrors, you will get the eerie feeling like you are standing on Imperial Avenue back in October 2009, when all of the badly decomposed bodies were discovered on Anthony Sowell's property.

House of Horrors is a definite must read for fans of true-crime. I highly recommend that you read this book.
House of Horrors is a well-written and detailed account of one of the most gruesome events in Cleveland's history -- the murders of 11 women by Anthony Sowell. The author provides an abundance of personal details and graphic descriptions of Sowell and his victims, which draws the reader into the narrative. The photos in the book, including pictures of the house where the attacks occurred, as well as the photos of the 11 women lend a compelling realism.
The book includes copies of prison letters
I have to admit that I did not know anything about Anthony Sowell and his crimes; however, after I read this book, I felt as if I had received the true, comprehensive story of the killer, his victims, the community and the court case. The author did a wonderful job covering every aspect of this terrible episode in Cleveland's history. I take my hat off to the author for his well-written and researched book.
Jim Flora
Very good overview of a sad, important case. Sberna is committed to providing a clear-eyed, well-rounded assessment of the case. His explorations of the lives of the victims show great compassion, while also refusing to gloss over flaws. Overall, a very good true crime book.
Lori marked it as to-read
Aug 23, 2015
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I'm a journalist based in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. I started my career covering the police and court beats for newspapers in the Midwest. House of Horrors is my first book and is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

Writing House of Horrors -- the story of Cleveland serial killer Anthony Sowell -- was a three-year undertaking. In researching the book, I interviewed nearly 100 pe
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