House of Horrors: The Shocking True Story of Anthony Sowell, the Cleveland Strangler

  • by Robert Sberna
  • Narrated by Dave Clark
  • 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Winner, 2012 True Crime "Book of the Year" by ForeWord Reviews
To his neighbors, Anthony Sowell was a friendly and helpful former Marine. But they didn't know about his dark side - or the gruesome secret inside his house.
Sowell's secret life was revealed to the nation on October 29, 2009, when a Cleveland Police SWAT team entered his house to arrest him for an alleged rape. They didn't find Sowell, but they encountered a nightmarish scene: two decomposed bodies in his third-floor living room. Eight more bodies were hidden throughout the house and buried in the back yard. In the basement, they discovered a human skull. All of the bodies were female and all appeared to have been bound and strangled.
Two days later, police captured Sowell, a sexual sadist who had served a 15-year prison sentence for kidnapping, raping, and torturing a 21-year-old pregnant woman.
House of Horrors exposes the shocking details of Sowell's depraved crimes and twisted psyche. He preyed on neighborhood women, luring them to his home with alcohol and drugs. Sowell then murdered the women and lived among their corpses. After a dramatic trial in the summer of 2011, Sowell was convicted and sentenced to death.
In House of Horrors, listeners are given a rare glimpse inside the mind of a serial killer - through interviews with Sowell's neighbors and relatives, his surviving victims, and exclusive interviews with Sowell himself.
The book is published by The Kent State University Press.


What the Critics Say

"This book had me absolutely hooked from the first page." (True Crime Reader)
"Rob Sberna's compelling treatment of the Sowell murders allows the case to speak for itself." (James Jessen Badal, author of In the Wake of the Butcher)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A must-read to learn about iniquities.

First of all, Dave Clark moved right up in the ranks of my own personal favorite narrators. His velvety-smooth tones and perfect pronunciations are matched only by this incredibly subtle shift in character voices. Listen to the sample with headphones.

At first I was a little annoyed that Robert Sberna repeated things in his writing several times. But then at the end of the book, when some things had been repeated 3 or 4 times, it dawned on me that those facts were something that I might have mis-remembered if not repeated. Mr Sberna also has a timeline for this case on YouTube.

Why is this book so important? If you have never done drugs, and you had a 'normal' childhood, such as this reviewer, you might be inclined to say "So what? More crackheads off the street." But there is so much more to be understood. Oprah Winfrey was raped by family members continually as a child yet she grew up, flourished, and has a heart as big as the outdoors. She is the exception to the rule, but proof positive that these women may have turned around if not murdered by Sowell.

In more than one case, had the police listened to a victim instead of dismissing her tale because of her drug abuse and rap sheet, others might have been saved. In one case, the victim didn't want her husband to find out she'd been partying all night with Sowell, and even though she went out a 2nd story window naked, hit the ground and broke many bones, she lied. It would have been the perfect opportunity to get Sowell. I bring up both of these incidents as there was fault on either side. The cops AND the victims. He could have been stopped so much earlier.

This is the kind of book that needs your attention. If you are to learn anything about how and why these things come about, why so many poor black women fall into these traps of drugs, endless babies starting at 12 or 13, why grandmothers end up raising their grandchildren and why police sometimes dismiss claims of will be able to get a glimpse into areas not available to you otherwise.

Many changes in the way sex crimes are treated came about due to this case. You will listen to the narrator put life into people that were just victims on a list, and draw your own conclusions. The repetitiveness at first annoyed me. But as the book drew to a close, I found it a plus as I didn't take notes.

If I had daughters (I only have grown sons) and lived in a drug-riddled neighborhood, I think I would try to convince all parents and middle-school aged kids, especially girls, to really dig into this book to see how it all could have been avoided.

In a single blood-chilling statement by Sowell, many abusers out there should take heed: "Abused children grow up." In many cases they go into armed services and are taught to kill, as the armed services are their only employment opportunity.

Does anyone know if recruits are given thorough psychological testing before being taught how to kill efficiently? I don't, but would like to know.
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- IndyMcDuff "indymcduff"

I'm speechless....

I can't find the words to explain how this book makes me feel after reading it. So many different emotions, I can't say I enjoyed reading the book because it was too horrific. However the Author wrote an extraordinary book and the narrator was just excellent! Very interesting and detailed book and I highly recommend it. This book will disturb you greatly, it definitely left it's mark in my mind and I will never read this book again, once was enough. I just don't think I can stomach it again, it was hard enough... honestly it mad me feel very angry more than scared at what this demon of a man did, just sickening! This book is brutally honest and cuts to the bone, if you think you can tolerate it then I highly recommend this book.
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- Kimberly

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-17-2016
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks