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Devil in the Hole

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  91 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
In the ballroom of a sparsely furnished Connecticut mansion, police find a shocking sight: four bodies lined up next to each other, three teenagers and a middle-aged woman, each lying peacefully on a blanket, each shot once in the head. In an upstairs bedroom: an elderly woman and the family dog, both of them shot as well.

The only person missing is the husband, father, so
Hardcover, 254 pages
Published July 17th 2013 by Five Star (ME)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Susan May
Sep 12, 2015 Susan May rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
A friend reviewed this book back in 2013 because I didn't have time to read it. However, I got to reading it at the beginning of this year. It's a great book and fast paced with a different perspective to a normal thriller. This book is highly recommended from me, and I read it in a couple of sittings, which means its a quick and engaging read. I'm looking forward to reading more from Charles Salzburg.


James Kirkland is not your typical nosy neighbor. So, when he notices
Aug 25, 2013 Raven rated it it was amazing
I am always fascinated by fictional recreations based on notorious real life murder cases, and this is the starting point for this exceptional novel by Charles Salzburg, that kept me hooked and emotionally involved throughout in equal measure. The novel is based on the real case of John List who in 1971 killed his wife, mother, and three children in their home in New Jersey and then disappeared, having planned the murders so meticulously that nearly a month passed before anyone noticed that ...more
Sharyn Wolf
Jan 02, 2014 Sharyn Wolf rated it it was amazing
5 stars is not enough. This book is a masterpiece. Like Capote, like Dreiser--one fiction, one non-fiction--this book recreates a horrific murder in a quiet town, revealing the thoughts and feelings and behaviors of those connected to the murderer who is on the run and slowly becoming emotionally strangled with his own madness. The author has complete control of each word, and I found myself begging for more all the way through the book. I just could not put it down. His discipline and judgement ...more
Oct 04, 2015 Darlene rated it really liked it
This book is based on a real murder case from 1971. Although the time, names, location, are all changed for this book, some details were left intact.
Very interesting style this book was written in, where every chapter is from the point of view of different people who knew or had some type of contact with the muderer.
There is no 'who done it' in here, you know from the beginning who the murderer is. The question is why and the effect John Hartman had on people who knew and encountered him.
I was
Brynne Betz
Jan 03, 2014 Brynne Betz rated it it was amazing
Given a typical crime novel, I will politely pass. But given an exploration of the heart and mind of a troubled soul and many of the lives that soul touched on his way down? I could barely wait to read. And thankfully, Devil in the Hole didn’t disappoint. In fact, days later, it still doesn’t show any signs of leaving. I was engaged the entire time, moved, touched, even stopped to ponder time and time again…with a smile. Well done, Salzberg. You have yet another cheering fan.
Oct 06, 2014 Heidi rated it it was amazing
This book was probably my favorite of all the ones I have read this year. It gets right to the point. I thought with all the characters I would be confused but the book was so interesting it was easy to be interested in everyone's stories. I look forward to reading more of Salzberg's books.

Also, after reading other reviews about it being based off a true crime, I read up more on John List's story. It is very interesting.
Barbara Mitchell
Sep 04, 2013 Barbara Mitchell rated it it was amazing
This is a clever book based on a terrible tragedy that really happened in New Jersey in 1971. I remember, and you might too, when John List almost got away with murdering his wife, three teenage children, his mother-in-law, and even their dog. He disappeared long before the bodies were discovered and the law didn't catch up with him for 18 years, until after the case was featured on "America's Most Wanted."

Salzberg has turned this awful crime into a novel set in Connecticut. He tells the story t
Aug 16, 2013 Patricia rated it it was amazing
News of a horrific crime prompts the question: how could someone do that? In the cleverly-crafted Devil in the Hole, Charles Salzberg considers both the crime and the criminal from a number of angles to get at the answer.

Although fiction, the book is based on an actual event that occurred in a comfortable, upper-class east coast community. Five members of a household, along with the family pet, are brutally slain and left in a 13-room mansion ablaze with lights. Missing is John Hartman, the husb
Mary Kirby
Aug 24, 2013 Mary Kirby rated it it was amazing
The typical nosy neighbor, bored with his suburban life, becomes intrigued by the ever glowing house lights across the street. Anytime he looks, day or night, they're on. The house's occupants are nowhere to be seen. Finally, he notices the lights burning out one by one and decides to alert the police. What unfurls is a fast-paced tour de force....not a whodunit.....but rather a psychological study of a killer and now, a fugitive. Along the way, the psyche of the murderer becomes an obsession ...more
Laura Arens
This review is from: Devil in the Hole (Hardcover)
FIND THE MOST COMFORTABLE SEAT IN THE HOUSE...You wont be able to put this book down!!!

Charles Salzberg masterfully depicts the mind of a murderer through chapters as layers, one built upon the other by somebody who saw him, knew him, touched him. With these personal narratives, without awareness we create our own profile of the killer. We're captives to the tale, waiting to know if our picture matches that of the real perpetrator.

As a psychoana
Gina's Library
Aug 22, 2013 Gina's Library rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
I received this book for a fair and honest review.

This is not just a book about a crime. It's a horrific crime that is hard to wrap your head around. What kind of person murders their family in cold blood like that? Then just simply walk away like nothing happened.

This book is not read like a documentary where the author just describes the murders, and how the town handles the shocking news. It is told in varying points of view of people that knew the husband/father John Hartman.

Although this b
Sep 05, 2013 Lauren rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-review
I normally don't read this type of book, but I'm so glad I read this one! It was fantastic! Mr. Salzberg is an amazing author. It's like he has multiple personalities the way he writes as so many characters. Whether it be a teen girl, a witness, or a detective, he even has the accent down pat! Each chapter was a different character. There were even times where I was nervous, like I was in the story.
Although I've never read any book by Mr. Salzberg before reading Devil In the Hole, he is definite
Robin Tauber
Aug 04, 2013 Robin Tauber rated it it was amazing
I could not put down Devil in the Hole. I found the format of using several different characters' point of view fresh and riveting. Each character came alive in very unique voices that made me want to keep reading and find out what was going to happen next and who I was going to read about next. Salzberg's gift of writing is so apparent in this fast paced novel, where there was never a lull in the story. Devil in the Hole is an excellent read!
Aug 26, 2013 Susan rated it it was amazing
Murders create mysteries that live on way after the murderer's been identified. This is a fascinating exploration of how a series of characters' respond to a mass murder that touches them personally. I loved all the different points of view, some of them as creepy as the murderer. This is a rich and entertaining story.
Aug 11, 2013 Catherine rated it it was amazing
Devil in the Hole is more than just a great crime novel and compelling read, it's an accomplished work of literary fiction, with multiple points of view, all compellingly told, coalescing around a single, unimaginable, unforgivable act.
Aug 17, 2013 Laurie rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, first-reads
I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. As soon as I opened the package, I sat down and started reading. I literally have only put it down to sleep since then. It started out strong and kept my attention the whole time.
Aug 16, 2013 Robin rated it it was amazing
Loved this book, one of my best reads of 2013!!!!
Sep 10, 2013 Fran rated it it was amazing

Devil in the Hole: Charles Salzberg

Murder comes to a small town and no one knows it or is aware of it. Someone notices the lights on in a house that never seems to ever go dark and begins to think that something is strange within its walls. Waiting three weeks while contemplating whether to call the police one man watches, waits, counts the lights that shine each night and finally decides to make that one phone call that would rock a small community’s feeling of security, safety and instill fear
Sep 19, 2013 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
Crime thriller fans, boy do I have a riveting book for you!

In Devil In The Hole, author Charles Salzberg weaves a fascinating fictionalized tale based on the 1971 NJ true crime murder case of John List, who mass murdered his family in their posh family home, then fled the scene and eluded capture for eighteen years until he was highlighted on the TV show, America's Most Wanted.

Devil In The Hole is a fast paced page turner that follows the murder case of John Hartman, who cold-bloodedly planned a
Oct 03, 2013 Tammy-&-Michelle rated it liked it
Our Reviews:
The best thing about a book review is that everyone has their own opinion. For the first time in over a year, The Nook Users Book Club reviewers have agreed to disagree. The following are Tammy & Michelle’s individual reviews:

1. John Hartman disappears from his huge home in Connecticut before police find the bodies of his wife, three children, mother and dog. The only reason their bodies are found is because a neighbor notices the lights all on. One by one over the course of 3 w
Ellen Schecter
Sep 11, 2013 Ellen Schecter rated it it was amazing
Devil In The Hole, by Charles Salzberg
Nobody likes murder—especially when it wipes out a whole family—minus one, in this case. The only family member missing in this bloody tableau is John Hartman, the father, husband, and son of the dead. Did he do away with his entire family—including the dog? Three teenagers, their mother, and their grandmother—all shot once in the head—lie for weeks, undiscovered in an elegant but nearly unfurnished Connecticut mansion. Finally, an alert neighbor notices th
Nov 13, 2016 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
DEVIL IN THE HOLE by Charles Salzberg
Published by Five Star
Publication Date: August 7, 2013
ISBN-10: 1432826964
ISBN-13: 978-1432826963
Pages: 252
Review Copy from: Author
Edition: HC
My Rating: 4

In the ballroom of a sparsely furnished Connecticut mansion, police find a shocking sight: four bodies lined up next to each other, three teenagers and a middle-aged woman, each lying on a blanket, each shot once in the head. In an upstairs bedroom: an elderly woman and the family dog, both of them
Jan 01, 2014 Brad rated it liked it
Devil in the Hole is fast-paced, engaging and digestible. You can consume this book in large chunks, perhaps even a day or two, if you get drawn in. And it's easy to get drawn in. The book opens with a nosy neighbor noticing an odd occurrence at the weird family's house and calls the police. The murder scene and subsequent viewpoints are captivating.

In fact, divergent viewpoints are used throughout the book. There are more than 50 chapters, each one titled by the name of the person speaking. I d
Oct 20, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Being from the UK I had never heard about the List murders from 1971 in the USA. This made the book seem like a complete work of fiction, as you really can't comprehend anyone carrying out such a heinous crime or even understand what drove them to it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I enjoyed the way the author had based each chapter on each of the characters involved. This made the "story" extremely easy to follow.

The dedication and passion of the lead investigator in the case makes you reall
Bryn Greenwood
Oct 29, 2013 Bryn Greenwood rated it liked it
As a book consumed one chapter at a time before going to sleep, I enjoyed this quite a bit. The novel takes the form of multiple eye-witness narratives that are like the one-sided recording of a police interview. Characters pop in and out of the frame, sharing the pieces of the story that touch their own lives.

As a "crime novel," I'm not sure it lives up to its claim as such. Yes, it is a novel written about a crime, but its narrative arc feels far more true-life than crime novel. As there is n
Linda Marie Marsh
Aug 24, 2014 Linda Marie Marsh rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-reads
Take a horrific family mass murder from the 70's and propel into the present day time into the form of a novel. Salzburg has done this.. made an old murder relateable for those not old enought to remember when the killings took place. John List was a father who meticulously planned the murder of his wife, mother and kids about 40 years ago in NJ. He was finally found and prosecuted not that long ago!

The author fictionalized it and created Devil In the Hole...doing an exceptional job. Not a strai
Oct 29, 2013 TAMMY CUEVAS rated it really liked it
After a neighbor notices the Hartmans' lights on for several nights, the police make a grisly discovery: the wife, three teenagers, mother, and dog of John Hartman have all been executed and left to decompose while Hartman has disappeared.

Based on a true story, Charles Salzberg has taken a unique approach to the retelling of the John List murder case. There is never a question of whodunit; the question is why. Hartman's motives are explored as the story is told from the perspective of several d
Kathleen Kelly
Oct 13, 2013 Kathleen Kelly rated it really liked it
Devil in the Hole is a novel based on fact about a man who kills his whole family and disappears. I remember seeing a show a few years ago about this case so when I had a chance to read the book I jumped at the chance. Written in the perspective of a jounalist who is asking questions, or it seemed that way to me, each chapter is in the voice of the neighbor who reported his concerns, the detectives who investigate, the killer and anyone that had known contact with him. A very engrossing and page ...more
Dec 11, 2013 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
Anyone who can remember the murders perpetrated by John List will find Devil in the Hole eerily familiar. The difference between this story and the traditional media rendition of the true crime is the characters. Salzberg cultivates an intimacy with John Hartman, the central character, by getting into the head of a psychopath. The reader gets to feel Hartman's impact on everyone with whom he has had even the slightest encounter. Each character is a study, often unaware of the bigger picture ...more
Barbara M
Sep 07, 2015 Barbara M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read a lot of mysteries and this one sucked me in on the first page. It's based on the true story of John List who murdered his family. The author, Charles Salzberg, crafts a compelling and interesting story providing different perspectives. Each chapter we hear from someone who's life was touched in some way by the murderer. We hear each character's perspective on what he was like as person. As the story unfolds we learn more and more about the murderer and what may have motivated him.

I very
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Charles Salzberg's latest novel, Swann's Lake of Despair, is the third in the Henry Swann Detective Series. When rare photos, a scandalous diary, and a beautiful woman all go missing at once, the stage is set for three challenging cases for this skip tracer and his slovenly, disbarred lawyer friend, Goldblatt.

Devil in the Hole, his last novel, is a work of literary crime fiction based on the notor
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