House of Evil
In the heart of Indianapolis in the mid 1960’s, through a twist of fate and fortune, a pretty young girl came to live with a thirty-seven-year-old mother and her seven children. What began as a temporary childcare arrangement between Sylvia Likens’s parents and Gertrude Baniszewski turned into a crime that would haunt cops, prosecutors, and a community for decades to com
I've spent a few years trying to track down the original Beeline Press release of John Dean's The Indiana Torture Slaying, so I was thrilled when I heard St. Martin's was going to re-release the book in 2008 thanks to the interested generated by the films An American Crime and The Girl Next Door. The Indiana Torture Slaying, now retitled House of Evil, has long been touted as the definitive book on the Likens case; not hav ...more
by John Dean
After hearing of the story, and watching the movies, The Indiana Torture Slaying was a hard book to pick up and start. This book is the interpretation of the torture, and eventual murder of a young girl named Sylvia Likens.This book is written in a journalistic and very literal manner.
Sylvia and her sister Jenny were part of a big and very unordinary, yet loving, family. Their mother was in jail for ...more
This case was senseless and horrifying; however, if you want to read about it, I recommend you go to Wikipedia instead. The author has a unique way of writing in that he jumps back and forth between events, but funnily enough he has a dramatic way of writing. When I read a true crime book, I prefer it to not read like a novel, but most do.
The book ended up being dry, especially when the author goes into great detail about the legal side of the case. I wasn't interested. Oh! Also, the book ...more
The best part of this book was the epilogue. I felt a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that none of the people involved in such a heinous crime would live to see another day. God rest poor Sylvia's soul. I hope her killers enjoy their personal spot in hell.
It was written by a newspaper reporter, is a fast read and pretty much covers the facts and not much else. In fact, it reads like a very long newspaper story and doesn't really delve into anything beneath the surface.
For the basics on the case, the trial and the a ...more
Like many other reviewers, I agree that the first half of the book is much more engaging than that last half, which focused on the aftermath of Sylvia Likens' death and the trial(s) that followed. With that said, I enjoyed John Dean's style of writing and very clear and concise explanation of events - I'm guessing his experience as a news reporter made it feel like that: one big report on the horrific death of Sylvia Likens. Some other reviewers harshly ...more
The second half of the book dragged a bit as it gave detailed accounts of the court trail. Not to say that those details were bad, but it ...more
What was never really made clear in either the book or the movie, Sylvia was made the sca ...more
I found House of Evil to be very surface-le ...more
I wish could say the true crime is far less dramatic than the Ketchum story, but it would not be true. This is a heartbreaking account of the event followed by the court procee ...more