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

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,256 ratings  ·  256 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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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
♥ 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
Sep 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, act, nonfiction, 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
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
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
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.
Daphne Vogel
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
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
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
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Harrowing, gripping and redemptive.
Bettye McKee
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime-books
Faint-hearted need not apply

I had to take lengthy breaks while reading this book. It was so difficult to come to terms with the fact that this is a true story. Although much has been written about the Wineville murders, I don't believe the full story has been told before.

When Sanford Clark was 13 years of age, his mother, Winifred Clark, gave him to her brother, Gordon Stewart Northcott. Uncle Stewart took him from his home in Saskatoon to an area near Los Angeles where Sanford was raped, beaten
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
Sarah (furby.reads)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mar 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
This book isn't exactly a factual telling of what happened on the Wineville Chicken Ranch. I have learned more details about this case by reading about it on the internet. I feel that Stewart's brutality was actually glossed over a bit and I didn't learn much about the victims at all. There was no mention of how many victims there were thought to be or anything like that. Maybe I'm a complete weirdo for wanting the details, but I didn't feel there were enough here to truly understand how horrifi ...more
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
Cynthia Austin
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't think anyone can truly understand just how evil Gordon Stewart Northcott was.

He took his own blood, his thirteen year old nephew, repeatedly sodomized him, beat him into submission and then forced him to watch as he raped and murdered young boys. If Sanford ever thought he may be rescued by his grandparents, that hope was diminished when Grandma Louise discovered one of the kidnapped boys locked in Stewarts chicken coop and instead of contacting the law, she took an ax and killed the chi
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Pure human evil, as witnessed by a young boy who was forced to live through years of Hell on Gordon Stewart Northcott's chicken farm in California. Well written, with an emotional approach that takes you right inside the young mind of Sanford Clark, the young boy in question. Presents the objective facts in a way that forces you to engage with the material in a personal, subjective way, a choice that adds to the harrowing nature of the book. Recommended for dark history fans who are able to brac ...more
Jul 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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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

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“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
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