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Publisher's Summary

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 story behind the case that riveted the nation.
Forced by Northcott to take part in the murders, Sanford carried tremendous guilt all his life. Yet despite his youth and the trauma, he helped gain some justice for the dead and their families by testifying at Northcott’s trial, which led to his conviction and execution. It was a shocking story, but perhaps the most shocking part of all is the extraordinarily ordinary life Clark went on to live as a decorated WWII vet, a devoted husband of 55 years, a loving father, and a productive citizen.
In dramatizing one of the darkest cases in American crime, Flacco constructs a riveting psychological drama about how Sanford was able to detoxify himself from the evil he’d encountered, offering the ultimately redemptive story of one man’s remarkable ability to survive a nightmare and emerge intact.
©2009 Anthony Flacco (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Jerrilynn on 09-09-14


If you could sum up The Road Out of Hell in three words, what would they be?

Heartache, Courage, Inspiration.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Road Out of Hell?

The most memorable moment in this story for me was the prosecuting attorney Kelly breaks up when he sees the extent of damage done to Sanford at the chicken ranch. As the narrator chokes out the words, portraying the emotion of Mr. Kelly it is impossible not to feel the level of hurt emotionally and physically of young Sanford. It is equally impossible not to feel the incredible compassion of Mr. Kelly. I am grateful for the narrator recognizing the need to relay this to the listener.

What about Anthony Flacco’s performance did you like?

Mr. Flacco is of course the author of this book. As a result he understands how to convey the feelings of the individuals involved.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I did listen all in one sitting. Yes. The book is engaging, moving, horrifying and uplifting.

Any additional comments?

This is not simply a true crime novel written in a "just the facts ma'am" style. Although I find many of those interesting as well. This book is written with the focus on the victim more than a focus on the criminal. This book is not one for the squeamish. I would recommend this book but advise readers that the emotions exposed are raw.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

By A.R. on 08-12-14

Overall compelling but lost momentum at the end

This was an incredibly disturbing true crime story which at times was very difficult to listen to. In fact I had to take a break at times to deal with the terrible descriptions of abuse suffered by the narrator (the victim, Stanford Clark). But I kept going and am glad I did as the story was also a very compelling one and I really, really wanted to see justice served against the pepetrator of these horrific crimes. My only discontent with the book was that I thought it was a bit weak at the end. I would have liked it to focus more on the trial. I must put in a mention of the narrator of this audiobook, Anthony Flacco, who does an amazing job of portraying the twisted and depraved personage of Clark's Uncle. I would encourage listeners to look up photographs from this true crime case as they will definately add depth to the characters portayed in this book, as well as the settings and courtroom drama.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By JanMarie on 02-23-15

Very moving

I was riveted from the beginning, brilliant. As a survivor of abuse myself from age 11 to 20 I understand the 'heaviness' and feelings of hopelessness Sanford went through. What an amazing person to get through it. A true hero.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

By marie on 02-03-15


loved it from start to finish
very shocking to think it's true
highly recommend this one! !!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Anonymous User on 07-09-17

Horrific and Inspiring

This book is not for the faint-hearted. The graphic details of murder and child abuse are heart breaking and horrifying but the beautiful end to the story is well worth it. Very emotionally heavy book but highly gripping and Inspiring at the same time.

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By Sarah on 07-07-17

Horrifically heart felt

This is the worse story I've read of child abuse, this is pure evil. A very good book however from beginning to end

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