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Entering Hades: The Double Life of a Serial Killer

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3.42  ·  Rating details ·  295 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
"I was a greedy, ravenous individual, determined to rise from the bottom to the top . . . It wasn't me!"--Jack Unterweger's final words to his jury""" Serial killers rarely travel internationally. So in the early 1990s, when detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department began to find bodies of women strangled with their own bras, it didn't occur to them at first to mak ...more
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published November 13th 2007 by Farrar Straus Giroux
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Jlsimon
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible, true-crime
This is one of the best true crime books I have read in a long time. Absolutely incredibly well researched. The sources were fantastic. Leake covers the crimes, the locations, the investigations, the trials, and the aftermath. I would recommend this book to individuals who enjoy the full length books written by Ann Rule.

Jack Unterweger's was very reminiscent of "The Stranger Beside Me." Mostly I think because you get the idea that his mask was very firmly in place like that of the early crimes
...more
Steffi
Oct 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Als ich kürzlich eine Diskussionsrunde des Österreichischen Fernsehens zu dem Film „Jack“ und dem sich dahinter verbergenden Jack Unterweger, Österreichs vermeintlich schlimmsten Serienmörder, wurde ich neugierig. Ich konnte mich dunkel daran erinnern, dass er in den 90er Jahren verurteilt wurde, seine Schuld bis zum Ende abstreitend, und in der Nacht nach dem Urteil Selbstmord beging.

John Leake, ein Amerikaner, der viel Zeit in Österreich verbrachte, hat ein Buch über den Fall geschrieben, dass
...more
Theresa
Dec 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008, nonfiction
I read very little nonfiction but when I saw this one on a blog I was intrigued. This book is the true story of Jack Unterweger, a serial killer from Vienna, who beat and strangled prostitutes with their own stockings or bras and then wrote about it for the papers. He then traveled to Los Angeles where he did "research" with the police and killed more prostitutes.

Jack had already been convicted and imprisoned for the gruesome murder of a woman in 1974. While in prison in Vienna he wrote his "aut
...more
Jade Lopert
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography, true-crime
Alright, so as snobby as I am about my books (and as good or bad as it may be, I definitely am that), I firmly believe that everyone needs crap in their life. Crap for me tends to be true crime books and books on serial killers. To be completely honest, I'm fascinated with the psychology of it.
Unfortunately this book didn't much delve into the psychology of it and was more about the process of bringing in Jack Unterweger with enough evidence to prosecute him. It's a quick read and it's entertain
...more
Fishface
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, true-crime
Man, what is it about Austrians? They elect a Nazi war criminal prime minister, then make a murderer into a beloved playwright. Wonderful portrait of what they accurately call a "malignant narcissist." Also a fascinating look into a totally different court system, in which the judge, jury, and defendant are all allowed to chime in at will, and the defendant even gets to make a closing statement. great bombshell ending, too. REALLY well written, never slow. This is one of the best I've read in so ...more
Whitney
Feb 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, true-crime
3.5 stars The double-life of this man - publicly perceived as the model of rehabilitative justice, a murderer who became a literary star - while murdering a string of prostitutes from Europe to L.A, is the stuff of crime fiction. Fascinating story - I only wish the author had been able to delve a little more into the killer's psyche - the elusive "why" of how a man like him comes to be. But still a good true crime read about a story most Americans aren't familiar with.
Donna Landon
Nov 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
Didn't finish the book. Didn't like the author's writing style at all. Too convoluted and boring.
Ileen
Vorrei tanto che tra gli anobiani questo libro fosse più diffuso, invece siamo solo in 57 a possederlo. Come sempre dietro ogni libro c’è una storia che ti ha portato fin lì… mesi fa, sarà stato maggio, curiosando sul sito di Repubblica avevo trovato questo libro tra i suggerimenti. La storia mi aveva catturato immediatamente. Mi sono segnata il titolo e via. Peccato che a distanza di altri mesi non ricordassi più né il titolo né dove avessi scritto l’appunto ma solo di cosa parlasse il libro… v ...more
Erika Nerdypants
This is a solid account of the crimes of Austrian serial killer Jack Unterweger, who murdered eleven prostitutes in several countries. Unterweger killed for the first time as a young adult, and spent many years in prison where he educated himself, became a writer, and was championed by Austria's intellectual community as the poster child for prison rehabilitation. After winning early release, he killed seven women in two years before being re-apprehended. The book is well researched, but I would ...more
Carol
Jan 14, 2009 rated it liked it
The writing was OK. Organization was pretty good. Really though I think the subject was a little beyond this writer. I don't blame him for not being able to put it in the best order--it's an incredibly complex and bizarre case: A highly functional sociopath convinces Austrian literati to help get him paroled, then embarks on a sadistic killing spree while living a well-publicized high life and being ridiculously promiscuous. The investigation involved investigators from multiple countries and U. ...more
Lenore Beadsman64
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
ottima ricostruzione di una vicenda che ha dell'incredibile

Jack è un giornalista e scrittore che, sottratto all'ergastolo dal suo talento
letterario, si gioca tutto ricominciando a uccidere appena quattro mesi dopo la scarcerazione, la peculiarità dei suoi deliri sta nel fatto che di giorno egli intervistava i poliziotti che gli davano la caccia, e la notte uccideva prostitute

negli anni de Il Silenzio degli innocenti, di Hannibal Lecter e dell'unità di Scienza del Comportamento di Quantico, Jack
...more
Lori
Feb 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008february
As a journalist, I'm wildly impressed by all of the research that went into this book, the story of an Austrian serial killer. John Leake did an amazing job of compiling an incredible amount of information, detailing the lives of dozens of people and outlining how Jack Unterweger lived.

At times, the book succeeded mightily. Jack, a journalist of sorts himself, creeped me out as he interviewed police about the very crimes he'd committed. He was cocky in a nearly unimaginable way, leaving a trail
...more
Anthony
Sep 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was fascinating. Yes, it wasn't the smoothest read but it was still interesting. A good look at the European "white tower" NPR types who went to bat for this convicted murderer and got him out of jail. He becomes the toast of the town. Schmoozing with the European NPR crowd and starting his new career as a serial killer. He actually was a "reporter" reporting on his own murders. You know the boys at Quantico will be analyzing this guy for a long, long, time. He then moves to L.A. For m ...more
Abc
Sep 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rzetelna i absorbująca publikacja. Zasługa w tym Autora, który do tematu podszedł iście wnikliwie. Przeprowadza kilkadziesiąt wywiadów z policjantami, specjalistami medycyny sądowej, psychiatrami i psychologami kryminalnymi, obrońcami Jacka, dziennikarzami i fotografami, reżyserami i wydawcami, przyjaciółmi i rodziną Jacka. Jako źródła służą mu także akta policyjne i sądowe, dzienniki Jacka, opinie psychiatrów, książki innych autorów poświęcone mordercy, jak i artykuły i książki autorstwa Jacka. ...more
Resalo
May 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Although a depressing read at times due to the subject matter, this book was quite interesting. Based on the true life story of Jack Unterweger, "Entering Hades" reveals the almost unbelievable tale of how this serial killer "conned" the public into not only releasing him after only serving 15 years for a murder charge but them making him the "darling" of Vienna's Literary Circle. While he was embarking on travels and granting interviews he was adding victim after victim in each city that he vis ...more
Jim
Mar 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, crime
A decent account of the Austrian "Ted Bundy": a murdering ex-con turned writer/journalist who was able to charm and use a plethora of victims (both those he killed or manipulated) in Europe and America. It is stunning how many people, especially women, fall for these predators. The writing and research is solid, though I can't say that I was bowled over by the pace or organization. Granted, it probably was a challenging subject to a grip on. And by this point, you would think there would never b ...more
Claire Englewood
Mar 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: d
As with many true crime stories, it becomes difficult to separate the quality of the book from the likability of the main character, and there are few redeeming qualities to Jack Unterweger. As an international serial killer, he is not especially interesting, merely sleazy. Nor is he exceptionally intelligent or crafty or charming; in fact, the author does little to explain how such a mediocre scumbag managed to escape detection for so long. This book seemed to take forever to finish and in the ...more
Patty
Jan 27, 2008 rated it liked it
This was a weird book. Not really what I thought it was when I first read about it - the true story of a journalist who was writing about prostitute murders in Austria and Los Angeles as investigators searched for the killer, who was the journalist. The killer was more of a playwright than a journalist, but it was an interesting, well-researched book into this guy's life and the effect he had on the many people - women - he charmed into helping him along the way.
Laura
Oct 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who like true crime without blood
I don't usually read true crime. This one had an interesting premise-- because the literary and cultural elite of Austria lobbied to have the convicted murderer Jack Unterweger released early, based on his autobiography, were they thus culpable for his subsequent murder of prostitutes in Austria and the US?
There is not much gore in this, or gratuitous detail of the crimes. Otherwise I would have hated it as the crimes were pretty brutal.
Erica
Jul 10, 2009 rated it liked it
This is the true story of a debonair "reformed" murderer who was let out of prison in Austria only to then become a serial killer. If you like true crime, you'd probably find this interesting, but it's not fascinating enough/spectacularly written enough (though the writing is fine) for anyone just looking for nonfiction.
DJ
Apr 21, 2009 rated it liked it
The focus of the book is an Austian serial killer and his path during his time of incarceration and after. While reading about his most recent trials, I learned a lot about the Austrian trial process. Really very interesting. Jurors can ask questions of the witnesses and so on. An interesting story about a very strange man. Very strange.
Straw
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book is a really quick read because of the subject matter. Who can't read about serial killers? The whole premise is that the intellectuals of Austria allow this guy out of prison to roam free and murder more women. Stupid intellectuals...thinking people can be reformed. Not the best writing nor the best character study...in fact now that I think about it not the best book.
Adrasto
Nov 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Jack Underweg: da pappone ad assassino, da assassino a carcerato, da carcerato a scrittore, da scrittore a pieno esempio della funzione riabilitativa del carcere.Fine della storia? Scambiandolo per un romanzo avevo pensato che la trama fosse improbabile, improponibile abbastanza addirittura. Ma ancora una volta la realtà ha superato di gran lunga la fantasia.
Nina
Oct 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down. So disturbing! I will never understand what motivates serial killers. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in true crime stories. If it weren't true, it would be hard to believe!
Antea
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inizia lento e disconnesso. Lentamente prende forma. Poi ci si rende conto che ogni gesto non è inventato, ma accaduto davvero. L'analisi scrupolosa e ricca di dettagli rende il tutto ancora più vivido.
Ellen
Jan 12, 2008 added it
Shelves: want-to-read
As seen in the NYT Book Review.
Kim
Sep 01, 2008 is currently reading it
Okay book...jumps around alot, I lose track of characters and such. I am determined to finish but haven't gotten there yet!
Ms. Randorf
Jan 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Those serial killers are pretty sneaky!
Anna
May 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paradokumentalna książka podobna do programów na kanale telewizji satelitarnej Investigation. Książka na zajęcie czasu czymś innym niż totalna fikcja.
Viennabro
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book. it describes everything so good that I don't have any more questions. BTW it's written like a movie and a book only with facts. good mixture :)
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Born in Dallas, Texas, John Leake went to Vienna, Austria on a graduate school scholarship and ended up living in the city for over a decade, working as a freelance writer and translator. His first book, Entering Hades: The Double Life of a Serial Killer (Sarah Crichton Books, FSG) was a New York Times Sunday Book Review "Editors' Choice," a Men's Vogue "Best Book of 2007," and the inspiration of ...more
More about John Leake
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