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House of Secrets

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  2,327 Ratings  ·  154 Reviews
Bestselling true crime author and veteran investigative reporter Lowell Cauffiel takes readers into a shocking world of abuse, incest, and family murder.In October 1993, Eddie Lee Sexton told his daughter, Pixie, to silence her crying baby. Incredibly, the young mother smothered the infant, and buried it in a shallow grave. Less than a month later, Eddie Lee ordered his so ...more
Paperback, 429 pages
Published November 5th 1999 by Pinnacle (first published 1997)
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Perhaps one of the most painful true crime books I have ever read. Not due to the writing, which is exemplary} but due to the subject, which is horrific.

This is the saga of the Sexton clan, a hellish mix of religion, domination, murder, and multi-generational child abuse. Author Cauffiel takes a complex case which unfolds over a period of decades, with a complicated cast of family members with multiple nicknames, and makes it readable and clear.

In someways this case made me think of "The Family"
Obviously I was wanting to read this book since it is my job. This book has a very interesting topic but I felt it needed an editor to truly make it great. It deals with child abuse, domestic violence and murder. However, it was very stilted, choppy and in places didn't make sense. The author presents the story one way for a couple chapters then in the next couple chapters states that it may or may not be true then for a couple chapters goes back to the original telling. It was just weird. I rea ...more
Jun 09, 2012 Michele rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story of a disturbed man and the family he destroyed. The writing style is choppy at the beginning but gets somewhat easier to read about 1/2 way through. The subject matter never gets easier. I grew up in Massillon and went to school with some of the Sexton kids. Because of that I had issues with some of the descriptions of the town (and constant misspelling of the name). Reminded me of why I am not a fan of true crime novels.
Apr 09, 2011 SenoraG rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Article first published as Book Review: House of Secrets by Lowell Cauffiel on Blogcritics.

House of Secrets is the story of the very dysfunctional Sexton family. Eddie Lee, his wife and children. Dysfunctional is not strong enough a word. Incest, abuse, torture, satanic rituals and, yes, all this led to murder. You have to read it to believe it.

Lately, I have become addicted to true crime and have read many — all of them disturbing but in different ways. House of Secrets made me sick. Not like o
Apr 10, 2010 Heidi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely disgusting!!! My sister lives close to this house, and you would never know now by looking at it what actually happened here. The house and pond are pretty, but the evil that lies behind them is terrifying. I can't believe some one lives there! I hope they don't actually swim in that pond.
I believe this isn't a popular story because at the time the Jeffery Dahmer case was in high publicity.

As for as the writing off the book, I thought it could have been better. It dragged on and on a
Feb 10, 2009 Indra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
I remember seeing some of the "kids" from this family on a talk show fifteen years ago or more and had always wanted to read the book, because their ordeal sounded much more complicated and multifaceted than could be broached on a talk show...and it was. The horror this story contains is enormous enough to be difficult to get one's mind around, even for a seasoned true crime reader such as myself. I wonder how these kids could survive, much less thrive...both parents in this story are the true e ...more
May 18, 2010 MK rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The subject matter of this book is 1 star, but the book itself had me hooked. I couldn't put it down. Years later, as I add this to my goodreads, I couldn't remember the Title or Author of this book, but this haunting and horrific true story has stayed in my head. Thank goodness for Google (it helped me locate the title)! True Crime fans MUST read this book. If you don't like the True Crime genre stay far, far, far away! It left me awake at night after I read it. I was young and had no idea that ...more
Denise Toibes
Nov 14, 2009 Denise Toibes rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book naive enough to believe that while in labor I would be able to read a book. Needless to say that didn't happen. It sat on my shelf forever and I finally picked it up to read. As far as the book itself, the half that I did get through was okay. However, very graphic and repulsive pictures of dead babies. I was having nightmares so I decided to just throw it away.
Bri Wedge
May 15, 2016 Bri Wedge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a heartbreaking & gut-wrenching story. It almost doesn't seem like it could be real; these acts are so horrible, they sound like fiction. I found myself near tears so many times while reading this book. Those poor children...and Joel Good & his family. So, so sad.
As terrible as this true-crime is, Cauffiel's writing was excellent. The book moved at a good pace, wasn't bogged down with a lot of descriptive detail, and it was easy to keep track of who everyone was.
Overall, though it w
♥ Marlene♥
Decided to re read this and if I am honest I would definitely not have given this 4 stars now. After so many years reading true crime I guess I have become a bit spoiled (although nowadays it is so hard to find a good true crime book cause I have read all the good oldies,but anyway back to this book.

Now I must be fair and also tell that over the last 2 years I have gone a bit of books about abused children and incest. I find them very hard to read so this was not a great choice of mine.

Very anno
Alisha Marie
Aug 14, 2011 Alisha Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
House of Secrets is probably the most twisted true crime book I've ever read. It's just such a sad case. It's even sadder when you realize that the social workers, police officers, and lawyers had tons of chances to do right by these children and by Joel Sexton, yet ultimately intervened a little too late. Had they acted right when the first got an initial complaint, I have no doubt in my mind that more lives would have been saved. It's sick what Eddie Sexton did, but it's even more sick that he ...more
Nov 12, 2012 Tj rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book 2 stars because I desired more than I was given. I was very excited to read about the secrets of "America's Most Dysfuntctional Family" and I was intrigued by members of the Sexton Family. However, I was left with more questions than answers. Because of the multiple recantments from the Sexton children, unreliable witnesses and family members with possible alterior motives I was never able to distinguish between truth and lies. Although, I do believe that the Sexton children wer ...more
Jasmin Reed
Dec 16, 2009 Jasmin Reed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Murder, how can this word bring so many emotions. Perhaps it is because many people do not want to believe it is humanly possible to do this.

House of secrets brings you into what many call "America's most dysfunctional family." Cauffiel brings together the different things the police accumulated from this case and even from the victim's family and people who knew the Sextons. Written going back and forth from the trial to before the murders, it gives you a good amount of backround on how the fa
Ruth Turner
Aug 24, 2014 Ruth Turner rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
This was a confusing book for me. It wasn't particularly well written. At times the story jumped backward and forwards, leaving me scratching my head in bewilderment. There were also so many characters to keep track of, many with nicknames.

The e-book version that I read had many errors, which added to the confusion. There were paragraph breaks in the middle of sentences, no paragraph break where there should have been, missing punctuation at the end of sentences, words with missing letters and w
Bookhooking (Tanya Childress)
If you like true crime and you can separate yourself from the fact that there are very sick, disturbed and disfunctional people in this world that do horrible things, then you will like this book. Yes, it does have some very disturbing things like incest, beatings, rape and murder but it was very well written and the author did a very good job! Please don't read this if you are unable to handle the few things I have listed because I did find myself saying out loud "Oh My God" and he is one sick ...more
Lowell Cauffiel does an excellent job putting this chaotic mess together. There are retractions, lies within lies, minds shattered by ritual abuse and the most vile man at the center.

Eddie Lee Sexton deserved to be tortured to death instead of dying of natural causes in prison.

Children learn what they live. His 11 children assumed that having sex with their parents was normal, along with seances, cannibalism and torture. He also told them he was the Devil and God, he could see into there minds
Aug 26, 2008 Holli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Its very hard for me to 'rate' this book. In some parts it made me literally sick to my stomach to imagine anyone doing these acts upon children let alone, their parents. Someone whose suppose to be protecting them. I thought the book was dragged out. I went through it really quick, towards the end and it took me a week to get through it because I felt it to be boring and just too much details that really didn't interest me. I was annoyed at the fact that they needed to start a new murder trail ...more
This is a really horrifying and fascinating story. It’s got that train wreck quality to it; you just can’t bring yourself to look away.
But the grammar/editing in the book is atrocious. I’m not sure if it’s so bad because it’s a kindle version, or if the publisher just didn’t bother with editing it, but this reads like a first draft. I can’t really fault the writer because he’s tells a good story teller, but no one bothered to proof the writing. Unfortunately, some the errors made the story more
Krystal Cruz
Jul 30, 2015 Krystal Cruz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took a loooong time to read this. There were times where i couldn't put it down and times where u felt the need to look away, this is the most uncomfortable book i ever read. Its sad to know how truly sick and twisted people in this world are. I was repulsed by some of the members of this family, especially Ed Sexton, what a sick, twisted, poor excuse for a human being. I cant believe this is a true story. Very sad
"house of Secrets" reveals a true life story. In 1993, Lee Sexton killed his own family members. Sexton asked his daughter to silence her daughter. The infant ended up dying in their hands, and was stuffed in a gym bag to be buried. In less than a month, Sexton then ordered his son to strangle the baby's dad at the picnic. It was then when the FBI began to notice Sexton's actions, and he was soon arrested. Even though he was caught, it was still too late. Sexton's family may never heal from thei ...more
Feb 11, 2015 Jaime rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 18, 2014 Aggy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would like to express my disgusts and my anger towards the story that the book told:

imagine you lived in one home with a dozen other people, that you called family. Now imagine that family is a cult, with your father as the leader, raped, abused, impregnated your sister and killed his child/grandchild & son in law and no, what you were imagining wasn't half the horror this book stated.

the horror lies in how one man has orchestrated his whole family into a cult. he might not have strong fo
It is a very dark, intense story which I truly enjoyed reading, because it opened my eyes to what is out in our big world. Overall I give this book a good rating, as it is a true crime with shocking, catastrophic details. I had a hard time putting this book down even though it broke my heart all while frightening and infuriating me. The evil awfulness of incest, abuse and murder within a family just shocked me, as it is an unfamiliar hell on earth I never want anyone to ever experience!
David Brown
House of Secrets is an interesting true crime book about the incestuous Sexton clan, but it is poorly written, outlined and contains no citations as to where or how the author got his information.

The Sexton family appears to be relatively obscure in the world of true crime. I lived in Florida at the time, only a about an hour away from where they were hiding out, and had never heard of them until stumbling upon this book in the local library system while searching for a book with the same title
Cindy Coury-broadhurst
Most dysfunctional family in America? Oh yeah. Difficult to read at times? Oh Yeah. Anger that "the system" completely failed this family. But it was a goodread anyway. I attempted to find information on the family since the book was published and discovered only one item on the father. I hope these children have been able to break the cycle of abuse and enjoy their lives and have peace from that point on.
Dec 16, 2015 J.M. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good. What a crazy guy.
brian miller
World's craziest most perverted family

unbelievable true story of the sick twisted minds of the Sexton family.So unbelievably abnormal it sounds like fiction.story goes on and on though and I lost interest half way through the book and started to skip pages.still a must read if you never heard about this incestuous family.
Oct 14, 2015 Jaime rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
House of Secrets, by Lowell Cauffiel

I'm not really sure where to begin with this book. I can truthfully say that "it was okay," but it wasn't "fantastic." The subject matter is beyond dreadful, but that's what I expected. I wanted the dreadful, miserable, gratuitous details. That's the point of true crime, to satisfy macabre curiosity.

That being said: there were some things about this book that bothered me. For one, the author jumped around far too much for there to be any real semblance of a t
Jan 11, 2009 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Raed this about 5 year ago, just found it on my bookshelf and figured I'd read it again. True crim story of the Sexton family, The father is a Manson type figure who gets his children do to most of his dirty work. even the picture of the father creeps me out, you look into his eyes and all you see is evil.
SK Payne
Jul 29, 2011 SK Payne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most sickest and disturbing book I ever read. It shows how to break down the the mind of a child. You got to read this, you'll appreciate your family more once you read about the most dysfunctional family in America. God Bless You!
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“She was the girl with her finger in the dike,” she said. “Little did anyone know that when she removed it, all hell was going to break loose.” 1 likes
“Incest,” she would say. “It’s always occurred, rich or poor. You can read about it in the Bible. Up until the 1980s, you kept it hidden in the family. Why do they do it? It’s a form of control. It’s not sexual. It’s all about power.” 0 likes
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