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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

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  102 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
To his neighbors on Imperial Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio, Anthony Sowell was a quiet and helpful former Marine who played chess and hosted summer barbeques in his front yard. But there was a dark side to Sowell and a horrific secret inside his house. In mid-2007, Crystal Dozier, 38, made plans to visit Sowell. She was never seen again. Over the next two years, ten more Cleve ...more
ebook, 233 pages
Published November 1st 2012 by Kent State University Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Mary Thoms
Dec 11, 2012 Mary Thoms rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 08, 2013 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 13, 2014 Lovisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
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
Claudia Taller
Feb 01, 2016 Claudia Taller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never read true crime. I didn’t want to know what happened in the house on Imperial Avenue in Cleveland. Despite my reluctance to read the book, once I started reading House of Horrors, The Shocking True Story of Anthony Sowell, the Cleveland Strangler by Robert Sberna, I felt I was in good hands as a reader. I trusted the narrator’s voice. Intelligent and thoughtful reporting, good word choices, and the experience of discovering the story with the author make for a good true crime book. It to ...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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 10, 2013 Gena Koehler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
A detailed and well researched account of the horrors of Anthony Sowell. One of the best true crime books I have read.
Chuck Thomas
Mar 06, 2013 Chuck Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Faye Oney
The story of Anthony Sowell is a modern day horror story. Instead of sensationalizing the events portrayed in the media, Robert Sberna wrote the book from the victims' perspective. This is a compelling story of how one man preyed on women who had no loved ones to speak for them. Sberna also delves into the mind of Anthony Sowell, and we learn how his dysfunctional childhood contributed to his criminal behavior. This is a must-read for anyone interested in true crime stories.
Jan 24, 2013 Lydia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 12, 2013 David Lemoyne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 23, 2014 John Ferak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 12, 2015 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not sure why I decided to try reading this. Didn't make it all the way through. Why does Ohio have so many serial killers anyway?
Dec 11, 2012 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Cynthia Sillitoe
Not as well-organized as it could have been.
Myrtle Wilson
A lot of victim shaming in this book.
Dec 13, 2012 B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 25, 2013 Jim Flora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Tracy Perfetti snider
well written.
Pudgy marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2016
Paula Dillion
Paula Dillion marked it as to-read
Jul 15, 2016
Laura rated it liked it
Jul 14, 2016
Krista marked it as to-read
Jul 01, 2016
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan marked it as to-read
Jun 29, 2016
Sharon marked it as to-read
Jun 26, 2016
george ward
george ward marked it as to-read
Jun 09, 2016
Old Spinster
Old Spinster rated it really liked it
Jun 08, 2016
Anthony marked it as to-read
Jun 03, 2016
Julia Wang
Julia Wang marked it as to-read
Jun 03, 2016
peter summers
peter summers marked it as to-read
May 31, 2016
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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
More about Robert Sberna...

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