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The Road Out of Hell: Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders
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The Road Out of Hell: Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  2,004 ratings  ·  222 reviews
From 1926 to 1928, Gordon Stewart Northcott committed at least 20 murders on a chicken ranch outside of Los Angeles. His nephew, Sanford Clark, was held captive there from the age of 13 to 15, and was the sole surviving victim of the killing spree. Here, acclaimed crime writer Anthony Flacco—using never-before-heard information from Sanford’s son Jerry Clark—tells the real ...more
Hardcover, 285 pages
Published November 3rd 2009 by Union Square Press (first published 2009)
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Sarah It only briefly mentions this fact in the book. Gordon worked at a local grocery store that the Collins would frequent. Walter was mostly sent to the…moreIt only briefly mentions this fact in the book. Gordon worked at a local grocery store that the Collins would frequent. Walter was mostly sent to the store via his mother, so Gordon only met his mother 1 or 2 times. (less)

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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,004 ratings  ·  222 reviews

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Paul Brandel
Jul 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I've noticed some folks here on goodreads didn't enjoy this book.
It's not any easy nor enjoyable read,far from it! But the fact that
this kid could go through so much with his truly evil uncle,including
being raped and molested.But STILL grow up to be a fine upstanding
man and husband is REMARKABLE! Too bad I can't give this book
more than 5 stars.
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was such a tough book to read , not because it was badly written but because of its subject matter. The Wineville murders were unknown to me before I read this book, it is unbelievable to be able to comprehend how much suffering this guy went through at the hand of his uncle . This is a biography more or less and trigger warning (the first 100 pages will be very hardcore). If you want to read more about crime and/or redemption stories...this is the book for you. Slow reading after the first ...more
Nov 09, 2017 added it
Shelves: 2017-reads
The crimes committed by Gordon Northcott in Wineville, California were heinous enough for the city to later change its name to Mira Loma. That’s saying something right there. This book was insane. It read like fiction and it was easy to forget that it wasn’t. I wanted it to be fiction. Sanford Clark was only 13 when his uncle Gordon took him with him from Canada to Wineville, a small town outside of Los Angeles. Sanford’s mom allowed it and his Dad didn’t try hard to stop it. So off he goes with ...more
Jan 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
"I have never read a book like this in my life. When I finished, I wanted to crawl into a ball and sob but also wanted to throw up at the thought of everything that little boy had to suffer. I'm still shaken up by the book that my stomach is still churning several hours after finishing, but I wanted to write this review while my feelings were so raw. [return:][return:][return:]Unfortunately, I had no idea what the Wineville murders were. My knowledge of them unfolded only as I kept turning the p ...more
Charmaine Stephens
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dark-side, non-smut
Wow this book takes you on such a journey! Its definitely off the track from my normal smut reading. It's not pretty or pleasant and this doesn’t end on quite a happy note. But it’s definitely worth the read. What intrigued me to read this to begin with was recently I’ve been watching this great show “American Horror Story Hotel” and couple weeks ago they had an episode that featured The WineVille Chicken coop Murders.

At first the story was so horrific that I thought this had to be made up fic
♥ Marlene♥
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
An Unexpected good read!

I had this book on my kindle and it just said The Road out of Hell. I did notice that people who had read it liked it but that was all I knew.

So I did not know it was about the Wineville Murders. I consider myself quite knowledgeable about true crime books but I had not heard about this crime.
(To be honest I still have to check google to find out more. I of course did google but only searched the images, to worried I would lean the outcome.)

Anyway so I did not know where
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Everytime I read these evil true crime stories about people, I come away from it thinking that this is the worst I have ever read. The Road Out Of Hell was the most EVIL of books and what makes it worse is that it was committed by a trusted family member on a child.

Anthony Flacco is indeed a very unique writer of true crime because his book grabbed me right at the first page. As I continued down this path about a diabolical monster preying on children, this author told a riveting psychological d
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a hard book to rate. Writing 5 stars. The subject matter is very disturbing. I read a lot of serial killer type books, but this one is one of the most upsetting, likely because almost all the victims were children. It IS a very good read, if you can withstand what the monster did to his victims, including his own nephew. The story of Sanford's reintegration to society and living an exemplary life, after being rescued, was powerful. Picked it because of the connection to my hometown (Sask ...more
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a story that will stay with you and rip your heart out. The content is not an easy read by any means. The accounts recalled here are graphic and harrowing. I wanted to reach into this book so many times to just embrace Sanford and shield him from the terrors he faced. Ultimately this book is a testament of the triumph of the human spirit in the face of pure evil.
Sep 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: act, nonfiction, 2009, arc, reviewed
In 1926, at thirteen years of age, Sanford Clark was given away by his mother to his uncle, Gordon Stewart Northcott. Northcott took the boy from Canada and illegally brought him into the United States where he was used as slave labor on a chicken ranch and sexually abused. Northcott also brought other boys to the chicken ranch to sexually abuse and murder. He forced Sanford to help him dispose of some of the boys. He used that and the fact that the boy was in the US illegally to keep Sanford fr ...more
Alesha Leveritt
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don't hand out a lot of five star ratings. A book has to be more than be well-written for that - actually that's not even the highest criterion. For a five star rating, a book must speak to me. This one does.

I won't summarize. There are many reviews and reviewers that have done that. I will simply give you three reasons you need to read this book.

1) You will close it knowing without a doubt that evil exists, and that it cannot be satiated with kindness. Gordon Stewart Northcutt makes Jeffrey D
Tim Nordstrom
I had a hard time getting into this book because of the writing style. Based on the reviews it seemed to work for many readers, but I didn't care for it. It reads more like a fictional novel than a non-fiction account because the authors embellish what is known with a lot of fictional dialog and detail, which they mention in the Preface. As much as the "speculation and dramatization" may be "bounded by the known facts..." and the "the manner of each character's speech" may be "taken from transcr ...more
Scoop Erickson
Nov 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The emotional honesty of this book is almost too much to bear at times. It horrified me and broke my heart. The movie, The Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie, was based on this murder case. This book tells the story of the psychotic murderer's only witness, the young nephew he forced into his personal hell. The boy not only survived, but lived a long, good, and productive life. Tormented by guilt, flashbacks, brutal migraines for the rest of his life, he sought comfort and redemption in the pur ...more
Dec 11, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Amateurish and Banal

Really it's tragic what happened for Sanford. And his Uncle was a horrible murder rapist who deserved to die. But who were
All these people who have this thing a 5/5. It honestly reads like a combination of of a Dick and Jane book and and some sort of genealogy document for Falco's family. Really after the crimes, no one cares if he puttered around the garden and enjoyed volunteer work. I couldn't skim fast enough by the end as an amateurish writing style becomes downright bor
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The true story of Stanford Clark is horrific and remarkable!!! Any person that blames a "rough" childhood for the wrong doings of their adulthood may feel a bit wimpy after reading this book! This young man endured a evil few could ever imagine. I don't want to give any of this book away... just trust me.... READ IT!!! An incredible story that will give you strength. This kid is a inspiration to anyone that has battled through the toughest adversity. I picked this book out by chance.... turned o ...more
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-true
Immediate response notes - Review proper to follow:

I cannot remember the last time I cried whilst reading a book. I've cried watching films and documentaries because they present animated imagery to see. Books are but words only...unless they are so powerful that they embed themselves into your being and you cannot stop the emotions overflowing, nor the horror of imagining what must have befell the poor unfortunates.

This account is written with compassion and without self pity or sentimentally a
This is the True Crime story of the Wineville Murders that occurred in the late 1920's. I just could not put this book down. Parts of this book left me in a state of disbelief that a monster like Gordon Stewart Northcott got away with what he was doing for so long. Anthony Flacco did a wonderful job of pulling you into Sanford Clark's, a innocent boy,horrific account of survival. I also like the added chapters of what happen to Sanford as he grew up and had a family of his own. Must warn others ...more
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Harrowing, gripping and redemptive.
Daphne Vogel
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah (booksgorelore)
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up at a library sale, not knowing what it was about, except that it was a True Crime novel, and I'm obsessed with True Crime. I'm so glad I chose this book. It was so heart breaking, disgusting, and absolutely awful to read about the heinous crimes of torture, rape, and murder that Sanford's uncle committed. I cried multiple times throughout this novel. Reading that Sanford survived that Hell farm and lived an honorable life made me truly happy, and made that awful story worth ...more
Jaimee McGuire
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a ROUGH read, but it is well-written and interesting. I had to put it down several times because some of the scenes are horribly disturbing. This was a family full of evil, and many children paid the price.
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This scratched my true crime, non-fiction itch. It is brutally detailed and I would not recommend it for the sensitive. That being said the writing style is excellent and it makes for a quick engaging read.
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
What could have been a horrible, depressing, soul-crushing story had a fairly happy ending. How such a tortured and tormented little boy could turn out to be such a good, kind, gentle man is a miracle in itself. I would have liked a bit more background on Walter Colllins’ mother and the Winslow brothers’ families and what they were doing at this time. But I understand it wasn’t their story.
Allison Whisler
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tough, heartbreaking read, but the sparks of light and hope made it worth it. So shocking and sad, it's almost unbelievable.
Geri Spieler
Sep 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who is interested in the human condition
Recommended to Geri by: Anthony
Book Review
The Road Out Of Hell-- Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders
By Anthony Flacco with Jerry Clark
Union Square Press; 285 pages,

It's not often we get to hear the story from the victim of a serial killer as we do in this sensitively written account of Sanford Clark, the nephew of serial killer Gordon Stewart Northcott.
In 1926 Northcott snatched his nephew, 13 year old Sanford, away from his self centered sister and used him for sex as well as his servant and accompl
Jul 08, 2017 rated it liked it
True crime story told from the perspective of the captive nephew of Gordon Stewart Northcott, who murdered 20 children in the late 1920's California. See: The Changeling film by Clint Eastwood
P.e. lolo
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
This story is a true crime that took place between 1926 & 1928 in a town called wineville, outside of L.A. The story starts off with the life of the young cousin who by the age of thirteen is sent with his older cousin to help him on his chicken farm in California. They Canada and make the drive all the way down. The terror starts on the trip and does not end for years. It is not until his sister who after a visit and notices changes in her little brother that she knows something is horribly ...more
Denise Barney
Aug 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
In 1929, George Stewart Northcutt was tried in Riverside County and convicted for the murder of twenty boys at his chicken ranch in Wineville. George's nephew, 15-year-old Sanford Clark, was the chief witness for the prosecution.

This is the story of Sanford Clark, of how he came to be held a sexual slave and unwilling accomplice to his uncle, how his grandmother not only ignored the abuse of Sanford, but aided and abetted her son, Stewart, in his crimes.

Ultimately, the story is also about Sanf
Jolene Haack
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 150-2018
This book is one of the most upsetting, and redemptive, stories I've read in, well, I was going to say a long time but the truth is I read a lot of disturbing stuff and I should probably stop but I can't seem to. Anyway, it was awful and I need a break.

But the book is purposely a letter of apology from Sanford Clark and his family, an apology he arguably never needed to make but spent his life trying to. Because the reality is that Sanford Clark was a child at the hands of a sadist and serial ki
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I've been a reader of serial killer books since I was 8 (I'm in my 12th year in law enforcement and finishing my 3rd year as a forensic analyst plus I have a B.S. in psychology and always was curious about the criminal mind); however, I never heard of this particular one until a coworker mentioned it to me. She read this book and let me borrow it. Reading the book from the point of view from a survivor was definitely a different pace than usual, as most are from psychiatrists and authors who use ...more
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Anthony’s background as a trained stage actor with over 2,000 performances under his Actors Equity membership provides the primary basis for his critically acclaimed ability to empathize with a wide cross-section of personalities. His screenwriting experience is also of great use in telling narrative stories that are visually compelling, whether for the “screen” of a reader’s imagination or the sc ...more
“Evil is not something instilled in a few unlucky persons by a malicious Lucifer. If we are to understand “evil” at all, we must think of it as a word—an emotional word—we use to describe actions performed by other humans that we experience as breathtakingly horrible, shocking, and, often enough, nauseating.” 1 likes
“that overeager reporters would somehow” 0 likes
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