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Secrets in the Cellar
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Secrets in the Cellar

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  991 ratings  ·  152 reviews
Josef Fritzl was a 73-year-old retired engineer in Austria. He seemed to be living a normal life with his wife, Rosemarie, and their family—though one daughter, Elisabeth, had decades earlier been “lost” to a religious cult. Throughout the years, three of Elisabeth’s children mysteriously appeared on the Fritzls’ doorstep; Josef and Rosemarie raised them as their own. But...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by St. Martin's True Crime (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,874)
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Ruth Turner

I can't really say that I enjoyed this book, because of the content.

However, it was well researched and well written.

The ending was a little abrupt, but apart from that it was a great read.
Jeannie
Mar 16, 2009 Jeannie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: true crime buffs or anyone interested in tihs case
Recommended to Jeannie by: book club pick
This true story is horrifying and since I remember it happening I was glad to see this book come out. It was a very quick read but I felt the writing was somewhat choppy. The author tended to flit around and back and forth. I feel deeply for Elizabeth and her children and hope they have made a full recovery but since the book doesn't tell us that or what sentence her monster father received I felt a bit let down when the book ended...and that is pretty much what it did..it just ended.
Cassie
I thought the writing was very bad. There were certain phrases that he repeated over and over in different chapters. It was apparent that this book was written in a hurry.
Susan
I'm a real fan of true life crime accounts, and this one looked interesting, so I picked it up for a quick read. Unfortunately, John Glatt is no Anne Rule and it read sort of dry and detached, despite the drama and sensationalisim of this Austrian man who apparently kept his daughter prisoner in his basement for 24 years as a sex slave, raising a second family with her literally under the feet of his 'regular' family.

It's an interesting look into what human beings are capable of enduring and sur...more
Viktoriya
I honestly can't rate this book. I want to give it at least 4 stars, but at the same time I feel that I'd be saying "good job" to Josef Fritzl, since this book would not have ever been written had it not been for his actions.
My mind still can't really grasp that a human being could be so cruel and heartless and egoistic to do the things he did to his own daughter, Elisabeth, to her children (who are his children as well). I am boggled that for over 20 years noone noticed anything out of the ord...more
Eva Leger
Aug 11, 2009 Eva Leger rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in this case
Recommended to Eva by: Jeannie and Love
Shelves: b-true-crime
I think Glatt did a stellar job with Secrets In The Cellar. I've been wanting to read about the case more in depth since the news broke of what Josef Fritzl did and I finally got my chance. I don't think he should have waited until the outcome of the trial and I didn't feel left hanging at all. I feel more knowledgable about the case now.
A few people reported that they read numerous parts repeated in the book but I didn't find anything of the sort and I'm a stickler for things like that. He men...more
Ⓑⓔⓣⓗ
this is a good account of the events of the crime and for once didnt seem to be filed with forensic mobo jumbo to fill in pages (like many other true crime books)

I did find it odd though that the book didnt end with the verdict in the trial...infact i had to double check my kindle version for errors cos the book just seem to end at a very random spot?
Sonja Arlow
This was one of the most appalling crimes I have ever read about.

Imagine being raped 3,000 by your father, giving birth to 7 children alone in a dungeon with no fresh air, sunlight or medical care. Watching your one child’s body thrown into the incinerator by your father, after the baby died of complications and so much more.

How is Elizabeth still sane???

From a factual standpoint it was fascinating, as I knew only the bare facts of this horrific crime when it made worldwide news. However the bo...more
Awallens
Josef Fritzl was a 73-year-old retired engineer in Austria. He seemed to be living a normal life with his wife, Rosemarie, and their family—though one daughter,
Elisabeth, had decades earlier been “lost” to a religious cult. Throughout the years, three of Elisabeth’s children mysteriously appeared on the Fritzls’
doorstep; Josef and Rosemarie raised them as their own. But only Josef knew the truth about Elisabeth’s disappearance…For twenty-seven years, Josef had
imprisoned and molested Elisabeth in...more
Tabi34
This book isn't for the faint of heart. Josef Friztl grew up with a domineering single mother during WW II in Austria - not far from a death camp and just down the street from a "clinic" that committed war autrocities. Even with this backdrop to his childhood, it is no excuse for the horrors he inflicted on his family and others. Convicted of rape in the late 60s, he served only 18 months before being released and after 15 years, his record was expunged. In public he became a model citizen, but...more
♥ Marlene♥
Yes this was indeed a very quick read. I finished it last night so read it in 2 days and it was interesting but there are way too many questions left. Come on. we all want to know more about how the family is doing now. Does Elisabeth still not speak with Rosemary? How are the children doing? but you do not get any answers. i guess we have to wait to see if anyone of them will write a memoir.

I liked the book but I thought it was some what repetitive and most I already knew from the news papers....more
Lennie
A true-crime story about Josef Fritzl who locked his daughter, Elizabeth, in a dungeon-like cellar when she was 18-years-old and held her captive there for the next 24 years. I remember hearing about this in the news but I didn't know the details of her ordeal until I read the book. At times it was hard for me to read it and I felt compassion for the victim who is the same age as I am. I thought about how I attended college, got married, and raised two children and during that whole time, she wa...more
Raven
What an alarming book to think that this type of thing still goes on. Could still be going on. I liked the read but found it a little choppy and repetitive at times. The ended left me wanting to know more, like it ended with a piece missing.

I only hope that family finds peace.
Sara
I read this book in practically one sitting. I could not put it down. The story of Josef Fritzl imprisoning his daughter Elisabeth in his celler, unknown to everyone but himself, was horrifying. When this news story broke I was appalled and fascinated.

I saw this at the library and picked it up. I remember I had read stories on the Internet but didn't get the big picture. As awful as this subject matter is, I was drawn into this book and this horrific crime.

It's not always well written. At times...more
Ashley
May 04, 2010 Ashley added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents, mothers, mature adults
Recommended to Ashley by: teacher
I can't rate this book because of how devastating the whole story it. Its a hard read, mentally, and most certainly brings out the evil in humans as a whole... in society as an entirety. It's a sad story all around that I believe mothers, parents, and mature adults ought to read. The author presented the facts nicely in his writing... and did a great job putting all of his research together into a book. I do rate the author personally as amazing, but the book not so much- hard, hard, hard.
Tamara
I don't usually read true-crime books, but this one called to me. It was a horrific story of a father who locks his daughter in the cellar for 24 years, rapes her repeatedly and fathers 7 children on her.

I wish it had been written a little later, because the father's trial is still under way, so there's no resolution. I like resolution. But at least the Austrian government is doing its best to make sure he gets what's coming to him.
Eric Schurr
The story this book tells is truly "stranger than fiction." If it was a novel, you'd say it was too absurd to be true. But amazingly, and shockingly, it is.

From the very beginning, the story is well-paced and well-written. It contains enough details to send chills down your spine that such a sick, twisted man could ever exist. You will wonder how his victimized daughter ever survived and kept her sanity through numerous unthinkable acts: raped 3,000 times by her father, help captive for 24 YEARS...more
LauraTrev1
It's so hard to rate a true crime book due to the hardship that the ones involved had to endure. I did read it quite fast because it caught my attention since the first moment. John Glatt did a great job writing this book. ABOUT THE BOOK: Secrets in the Cellar is a book about a father that becomes obsessed with his daughter to the point that he rapes her and has her incarcerated as his sex slave (although claims to make her his wife) for 25 years in the cellar of his home..! In those 25 long and...more
*•.♥.•*Sabrina Rutter*•.♥.•*
This book was written too soon after the crime took place, we didn't even get a prison sentence at the end of the book. I hate it when TC authors wanting to be the first to write about a crime jumps right on it offering the reader the same thing the media reports have already shared. Hopefully Elisabeth will choose to tell her own story one day...
Georgette Lang
It was a good but disturbing of course. But at the end when the author enters the actual records where the information from the book came from, you realize that is exactly the story. No actual interviews with the people in the book just written from reports. Just make it fiction.
Misty
Gruesome look into yet another case that rocked the world. So many things were overlooked by countless people while his poor daughter sat having babies in his cellar. Because of how disturbing the content is, it is hard to say that I REALLY liked this book.
Michelle
It amazes me how evil some people are. The big print made it a very fast read. But the ending left me wanting to know more about how the family's making out, and what happened to that sick scumbag. He deserves the death penalty if you ask me.
Love
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley
I went in my mom's room looking for books to read and I came across this one. I looked at the title thinking it would be some mystery and then I read the back. It shocked me how any father could do that to his daughter. I wanted to read what happened and why he did it. Reading this book and how he was maintaining a double life without much suspicion made me angry. There were signs that something was going on and nobody followed those signs. The one tenat there with his dog should have seen what...more
Rori Rockman
I am ashamed of my morbid fascination with kidnapping stories. It's such a horrible thing to happen to anyone, and for the media to bombard these shell-shocked young ladies who desperately need their privacy is still more horrible. So after completing this book, I wondered to myself why I was so enthralled by these stories that would really be best kept private.

The answer I came up with is the crime of kidnapping a girl or young woman, then locking her up, beating her, and raping her for years i...more
Anne Hawn Smith
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris Demer
This true crime book is rather well-written for the genre. But is difficult reading, partly because we know what happened from the news stories. It is the bizarre story of how Josef Fritzl, husband, father, respectable businessman in a small city in Austria, sexually abused his daughter from the age of 11 and ultimately spent 3 years building an underground bunker where he imprisoned her for 24 years! He continued his abuse and she eventually gave birth to 7 of his children, one of whom died aft...more
Liz
Wow, what a disturbing story - but I knew that getting into it.

I really enjoyed how the writer portrayed the story. He covered all of the important aspects without dwelling on them for too long. You got the background information on both Josef Fritzl and Elisabeth along with the rest of the family so you understood their mentality when she went missing, which kept me from wondering "how could these people not know what is going on?"

You also received enough information to leave you a bit terrifie...more
Lauryn Staley
Could you imagine being locked in a cellar for 24 years? Secrets In The Cellar by John Glatt is about a nomal family, or that's what people thought. Josef Fritzl is a working man who comes off being rich, when actually he's in debt for many reasons.

Josef Fritzl had a strange relationship with his mom. Being extremely close, as a couple. Since he was living such a weird life, he did the unexpected. Josef's sexual interests were getting out of hand. He started to rape women, scaring them to death...more
Liz Hargis
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to not know what the existing world was? Well, this book, Secrets in the Cellar, by John Glatt explained what it was like. Josef Fritzl was a father from Austria. As a child, he was abused and beaten by his mother. He married a homemaker and together they had children. One of his daughters was named Elisabeth. She was a gorgeous girl who resembled Josef's mother. Josef was a mean father, he would not let the children bring home friends nor go out with...more
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English-born John Glatt is the author of Lost and Found, Secrets in the Cellar, Playing with Fire, and many other bestselling books of true crime. He has more than 30 years of experience as an investigative journalist in England and America. Glatt left school at 16 and worked a variety of jobs—including tea boy and messenger—before joining a small weekly newspaper. He freelanced at several English...more
More about John Glatt...
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