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The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family, and a Shocking Murder

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,359 ratings  ·  338 reviews
In The Perfect Father, New York Times bestselling author John Glatt reveals the true story of a Colorado family whose storybook life turned into a nightmare.

In the early morning hours of August 13th, 2018, Shanann Watts was dropped off at her Frederick, Colorado home by a colleague after returning from a business trip. It was the last time anyone would see her alive. By th
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 21st 2020 by St. Martin's Press
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Elizabeth Stolar In the book, it says her parents named her after the group Sha Na Na, which is weird in and of itself, but if that is the case, the apostrophe doesn't…moreIn the book, it says her parents named her after the group Sha Na Na, which is weird in and of itself, but if that is the case, the apostrophe doesn't make any sense. (less)

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Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family, and a Shocking Murder” (2020) is a stunning and devastating portrayal of a crime that captured the attention of the national and international global media. Shanann Watts disappeared with her two daughters from her Frederick, Colorado home on August 13, 2018. Days later, a gruesome discovery followed at the Anadarko Petroleum facility where Chris Watts worked. British American journalist John Glatt explored this horrifi ...more
Elle's Book Blog
Jul 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Release Date: July 21, 2020
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

True Crime

FIRST THOUGHTS: A devastating and haunting true crime novel that I won’t forget. This book had me rolling in emotions.

John Glatt is a seasoned true crime writer and when I saw he was writing a book about the Chris Watts case (it made headlines around the world) I knew I needed to read it. For one thing, the story is absolutely devastating. How can a seemingly perfect man kill his pregnant wife and two daughters? It
Valerity (Val)
This seems to be a well researched and written book about family tragedy that took us all by surprise and shock at the time it happened. It seemed like we watched Shannan’s Facebook videos over and over on an endless loop for days on end with all of the news and news shows. I’m not sure what was so fascinating about the horrific situation, but it was impossible to turn away when it was on, for me anyway. Hoping at first that Shannan and the girls would be found alive, of course. And then the com ...more
Laura Peden
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well that was a brutal listen...This is what I knew about the Chris Watts case before reading: An American man, husband & father killed his pregnant wife & two daughters because he fell in love with another woman. That’s about it. I’m sure I’ve even confused this case with Scott Peterson’s crimes at some point. This book is a comprehensive account of what led to this horrendous act, a walkthrough of the crimes, and then trial & follow-up. When I say comprehensive, I’m talking complete transcript ...more
M.  [storme reads a lot]
As soon as I saw this on Netgalley, I knew I needed to read it. I devoured it immediately because true crime interests me and has pretty much for long as I can recall. This was a case I didn’t have a lot of knowledge of so I was intrigued to learn more.

I’m not going to talk about details because it’s a very sensitive case, and I know the murder of pregnant women and children is hard for many to handle. I had no idea how horrific this case was, and I learned more than I had before. This book show
Krystelle Zuanic
Aug 07, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is about the horrific murder of a family at the hands of the person they should have been able to trust the most, and it is a well-hashed-out picture of the case, as well as the aftermath and the life before the crime. I found a lot of new information out, and the narrative approach makes this book horrible to read but also incredibly compelling, and I thought it gave a lot of insight into the families and people that the murders affected. With that being said, there was a fundamental ...more
It is all Shannon Watts fault. She was too controlling, always nagging and belittling her husband. She didn’t let him do what he wanted. She separated him from his hometown and family. She had a toxic relationship with them and constantly fought him. She was obsessed with social media and manufactured appearances. Her need for finer things in life put the family in debt again and again and put pressure on her doormat husband. She insisted on having kids when her body had deficiencies and all her ...more
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
How do you even review a true crime book?
Watts family seems to have it all. Shanann is running her own business and loved by her followers/Thrive family. Chris is a perfect husband and father - loving, hard working and supportive. Their daughters Bella and Celeste are their pride and joy. But one day Shanann, Bella and Celeste goes missing...
I remember hearing about this case and thinking "wow, getting some "Gone Girl" vibes!". Obviously - this is real life, Watts family case is tragic and the w
Holy shit.
Erin (from Long Island, NY)
I always feel so wrong "rating" true crime books. & this story is especially heart breaking. As far as the writing though.. It was well researched & if you're not familiar with the case, it's to the point & informative. Turns out I already knew most of this though, i guess from articles and/or tv shows.. So for me it was really just kind of a recap. I'd definitely read another by this author though, i appreciate that he doesn't repeat himself or drag things out for shock value. ...more
In depth review to come.

Thank you to Netgalley, John Glatt & St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The publish date is July 21, 2020.
Ruthy lavin
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A Chilling, gripping, and very harrowing account of the events leading up to and after, the murders of Shannan Watts and her children.
True crime fans will enjoy the intelligent narrative of this book, as the story is told in a neat chronological and factual way.
It is NOT a pleasant read, but you will find it difficult to put down.
4 stars 🌟
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently watched a series of videos on the Facebook page, Law & Crime -- the "Watts Family Murders." This book provides much of the detail not included in the docudrama but it's still true that no one will ever know what really happened that night and why this man did what he did. I do think it's apt, however, to describe Chris Watts as a monster. Family annihilation is the ultimate betrayal.

True crime fascinates me, and I've recently rediscovered my love for this genre. It was heartbreaking t
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is kind of weird to want to give a book about a murder story five stars. Yet, I felt like the author really did a good job of recapping this horrible and sad story of how Shanann, Bella and Celeste lost their lives. I still remember hearing and reading about this case as I live in Colorado.

It was interesting to see how Chris went from being submissive husband and father to a cold, blooded killer. Yet, in a way; I think that years of Chris taking more of a silent role caused him to exploded.
Caidyn (he/him/his)
I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

CW: cheating/an affair, graphic description of the murders in a couple of chapters


Damn. I haven't read a true crime novel this fast. 75% one day and the other 25% in another day. I wasn't expecting to be so taken in by this book. When the news broke about Watt's family being missing and then his confession, I didn't pay too much attention. I was saddened by it, of course, but it's not my huge true crime interest. Serial ki
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in a day because once I began reading I didn't want to stop. Chris and Shanann both seemed utterly normal, although he was quiet and she was the opposite. The author meticulously documents their life before meeting and during their marriage and also the crime itself and the trial afterwards. The crime is of course horrific but the story of how this couple got to that point is fascinating in itself and well laid out. What also intrigued me about this book was how much of Chris an ...more
Dec 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well researched account of the deeply disturbing destruction caused by brutal acts of senseless violence.
Anna  (The Bursting Bookshelf)
Thank you to St Martin's Press for the review copy

Back in 2018, the story of the Watts family murders was making national news – a father had murdered his wife and children, and then went on the news to plea for their safety. The nation had a gruesome fascination with the brutal murders of Shan’ann and her children – for a few weeks it was impossible to see a tabloid without an article about the tragedy. Needless to say, everyone wanted to get to the bottom of why Chris Watts did it, and what
Sep 01, 2020 rated it liked it
I had a lot of issues with how they portrayed Shannan. Being clean and organized, even having OCD is not a reason for you to be murdered. Chris was a grown adult who could have left whenever he wanted, he chose to be with her and start a family. I don’t feel like enough was put on him refusing accountability and more was about his family blaming the woman he murdered. He gets to “find god” in jail and live his life, after murdering his wife and killing his daughters TWICE. He truly is a monster. ...more
Tiffany Reads It All
If you follow true crime, then you’re definitely familiar with the story of Shanann Watts and her daughters, Bella and Celeste. In August 2018, Shanann’s husband Chris murdered her, their daughters, and their unborn son, Nico. After initially feigning innocence, Chris later confessed to the murders. The crime came as a shock to the country and perhaps the world–this picture-perfect, Instagram-ready family seemed to have it all.

In The Perfect Father by John Glatt, we’re given a history of the Wat
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star-reads
I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is my first John Glatt and I have a feeling it won't be my last. Glatt writes without an agenda and gives a blow by blow, almost minute by minute retelling of the case. The amount of research and detail included in this book was almost overwhelming. Glatt put his own voice aside to allow the voices of the family, the victims, and the assailant ring true.

This case is particularly harrowing and close to ho
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ever since I first of this case, I have been drawn to the story. This book covers the whole story in depth and read like a thriller (even though I knew the ending). I finished it up in less than a day, couldn't put it down. Would recommend for fans of true crime. ...more
Jade Wright
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I always find reviewing true crime books so strange. It's impossible to say you 'enjoyed' a book about someone's real tragedies. Reading a story about how someone took the life from another is hard to swallow... but that's the nature of true crime books, isn't it?
So - let me clarify that no, this isn't an 'enjoyable' read. It's horrific. It's spine-chilling. It's heartbreaking. But..... it is so well done.

On August 13th, 2018, pregnant Shannon Watts and her two daughters, Bella and Celeste, wen
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a chilling account of the Chris Watts murders. Although much of the story has been publicized over the past couple of years, this factual rendition was a gripping, detailed read that horrified me. Watts is infamous for murdering his pregnant wife Shanann and their two small children Bella and Celeste in cold blood. What makes this story so horrific was his ability to lie to authorities and the public, and accept sympathy and concern from others, including close family and friends, witho ...more
Cassie Martin
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gave me nightmares :-)
Mae Tyler
Aug 23, 2020 rated it liked it
average 🤷🏻‍♀️ 3/5
Aug 14, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a local murder(s) for me. It was all over the local news but in three and four minute segments. Very interesting look at the couple and the dynamics that may have led to this horrific event. Fast read.
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've read and seen a lot about this case over the past six months or so. This book lays out the story well but there isn't a whole lot of new information in it. Chris Watts has told so many various versions of what happened that we'll never really know what the real truth of what happened the morning of August 13th, 2018.

For those who don't know the story this will be a nice review of the case for them.
Johnna Whetstone
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think John Glatt is one of those who truly knows how to write a true crime book, in a way that is factual but also in a way that lets the reader be able to be intrigued. While this case is a very sad case, it’s one that raises so many questions, because the signs and even criminology profiling just doesn’t show Chris Watts as your typical family annihilator, because of this I wasn’t new to the case; but did find value in reading Glatt’s book. I think he did a good job of bringing up important ...more
I was familiar with the Chris and Shanann Watts' murder case prior to reading John Glatt's book "The Perfect Father," and had read another book on the subject. I give Glatt top marks for pulling together all the information into a very readable, cohesive book that does an excellent job of presenting the case without a lot of editorializing.

Some people may have the impression of Shanann as a great mother with a boatload of less-than-desirable traits and qualities, but Glatt gives us a full range
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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

News & Interviews

Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
77 likes · 29 comments
“Around lunchtime, Shanann received confirmation from Amazon that the Hold Me Tight book had been delivered. She then texted Chris to check his mail—which he did, throwing the unopened package straight into the garage dumpster.” 0 likes
“For someone who was a truth-teller,” said Agent Lee, “we would consider them to be a grade two or higher. And we would consider someone to be deceptive if they were a negative four or below. Chris Watts scored a negative eighteen.” 0 likes
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