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Publisher's Summary

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 27 years, Josef had imprisoned and molested Elisabeth in his man-made basement dungeon, complete with soundproof paneling and code-protected electric locks. There, she would eventually give birth to a total of seven of Josef's children. One died in infancy, and the other three were raised alongside Elisabeth, never to see the light of day.

Then, in 2008, one of Elisabeth's children became seriously ill and was taken to the hospital. It was the first time the 19-year-old girl had ever gone outside - and soon, the truth about her background, her family's captivity, and Josef's unspeakable crimes would come to light.

©2009 John Glatt (P)2013 Tantor

What listeners say about Secrets in the Cellar

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Very repetitive

The story itself is crazy obviously, but you hear about in detail the same thing over and over again, just telling it from a slightly different angle ....
this is what was said to the dr.... this is what she said to the police officer, this is what she said to.... you get the point... she recounts her story several times .... and it’s repeated in the book in the same detail each time .....
if you are going to go ahead and read the book, just skip to the last two hours and you’ll get the same information, or read the first two, you just pick any two hours anywhere in the book and you’ll be fine.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Horrifying story and a monster of a father!!!!

This story is so hard to imagine of all the terrible things the father did to his daughter and her resilience and survival !!!

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  • Eric Schurr
  • 2013-11-08

One of the most riveting and disturbing books ever

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, living in a dungeon that is only 5' 6" tall with no windows...it's truly unthinkable.

I listened to this book during my commute, and i was anxious to get into my car every day (how often does that happen to you?). In addition to the story being unbelievable, the narrator is perhaps the best i've ever heard. His voice is made for this kind of thing. It is truly one of the best books i've ever listened to.

My only word of caution: be prepared to be amazed, horrified, disgusted, and baffled.

You'll want to hug your children after you listen to this.

14 people found this helpful

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  • ilovebooks
  • 2013-12-07

I was hooked. A great listen.

Any additional comments?

I know its a good book when I scour the web looking for anything I can about the main characters. This father was a sociopath of the worst kind. I think the author was too easy on the wife but I do live in a different part of the world and have had many things that women did not. Still, how could she let him do all those things to the kids while they were growing up? And the main character, she must really be something to have survived that. I send her and her family all of my prayers and well wishes.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Paul Luthi
  • 2013-10-28

A Fact Filled Account of a Chilling Crime

I REALLY enjoyed this book. The author fills your mind with facts and details and the narrator dictates them to you in a clear, engaging manner of speaking. The subject matter, while horrifically grotesque is in a morbid way, quite interesting. By the end of the book, your heart will go out to the victims of this terrible crime.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Joshua
  • 2013-10-04

crazy and disturbing

What did you love best about Secrets in the Cellar?

Im a big believer that non fiction is better than fiction and unfortunately this story makes that statement true. Its a horrible true thriller for anyone wanting to read it

What did you like best about this story?

the way the author and narrator made you feel like you were right there.

What about Gildart Jackson’s performance did you like?

awesome narrator!!!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I would never want to make a film of this book, Way to disturbing

6 people found this helpful

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  • Susan
  • 2013-08-01

The Most Chilling Book I have ever Read

Would you consider the audio edition of Secrets in the Cellar to be better than the print version?

I only do Audible books so I wouldn't know BUT I can't imigane it getting any better!

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The fact that this is true and that a young lady's life was stolen for 24 years is beyond belief and to watch your own children suffer and not be able to stop it. My heart goes out to this woman....

What does Gildart Jackson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He allows you to truly feel the pain that this family went through, I couldn't wait to hear what happened. Nicely done!!

If you could give Secrets in the Cellar a new subtitle, what would it be?

How can one Human do this to another?

5 people found this helpful

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  • tina Johnson-gunn
  • 2014-06-30

Sickening

What did you love best about Secrets in the Cellar?

The actual story is horrible - the fact the father could do this to his own daughter is unreal. How she survived I have no idea.

What did you like best about this story?

That she survived - she had strength in her far deeper than most the people on this earth. A mothers love can do amazing things.

Have you listened to any of Gildart Jackson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not saying do not want to give any parts away

Any additional comments?

Be ready to be mortified.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Cheri
  • 2015-07-08

Awesome book

I'm still digesting it all. It was an unbelievable case! I highly recommend this book!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Karen
  • 2014-07-13

Subject is horrible, story is well told

I love true stories, which is how I found this book. I don't remember ever hearing about this story in the news, but it sounds like it was a nationwide story.. It is a terrible subject, absolutely horrible what this woman and her children went through, but it is very well written, giving the listener a very clear idea of what is going on. I actually don't like knowing things like this even go on in our world, and after the first part of the book, I had decided I didn't want this horror in my mind, but after a few days, I had to listen to more to make sure Elizabeth survived.. She did/does survive, but the horrors her father put her through are unimaginable..

At the end of the book, a psychiatrist explains why he thinks this man did what he did. He isn't justifying it, just giving a psychiatric evaluation. I think that part is fascinating.. A lot of people would, and I'm sure do, just refer to his man's actions as being evil, but saying someone is evil is not a real explanation of why people do the things they do.. Everything has a reason, a cause, something turns something in a persons head to make them do the such horrific things..

Would I recommend this book to others? No, I wouldn't... It is very well written, but like I said, the subject matter is horrible...But if you don't mind this kind of thing being in your mind, and you enjoy true stories, then you will like this one.. I can't say anyone would enjoy this book.. Who would enjoy knowing this went on? But it is very well told...If I had heard about this story in the news years ago, and knew what it was about, I probably would not have purchased it..

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kate
  • 2014-01-20

Incredible

What made the experience of listening to Secrets in the Cellar the most enjoyable?

Filled with facts.

What other book might you compare Secrets in the Cellar to and why?

My Story by Elizabeth Smart

Both tales of survival against the odds.

Any additional comments?

Sometimes the repetition can be a little annoying, but I believe the author had the best of intentions. He paints a very clear picture of the events leading up to Elizabeth's capture, the horrors of her life in the cellar, as well as what happened after her eventual freedom.

2 people found this helpful

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  • beverly
  • 2014-01-14

in your face that crazy people do crazy things

What made the experience of listening to Secrets in the Cellar the most enjoyable?

it held my attention threw the whole thig

Who was your favorite character and why?

the daughter

Which character – as performed by Gildart Jackson – was your favorite?

daughter

If you could give Secrets in the Cellar a new subtitle, what would it be?

crazy is not just a word

Any additional comments?

unbelievable that one man can have a standing in the town and all that money and be the sickest ticket in town and no one knew

1 person found this helpful