The Road Out of Hell

  • by Anthony Flacco, Jerry Clark
  • Narrated by Anthony Flacco
  • 9 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


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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- Jerrilynn

Disturbing but enlightening.

I almost turned this off very early on. The graphic descriptions of Sanford's physical abuse were almost too much for me. But I decided to hang in there and hear his story out. Although I wouldn't describe his life after his release as triumphant, I am impressed by his strong will to survive the rest of his life as normally as possible. He was tormented up to his death with the demons that followed him around in his mind. As a Christian, I have to wonder if Sanford's life after his release wouldn't have been very different if he had invited Jesus Christ into his heart and allowed Him to banish the torment. With Christ's forgiveness, Sanford could have forgiven himself.

The epilogue was interesting to me in that all credit was given to Sanford and the people around him for helping him survive the atrocities he endured on his uncle's ranch. I saw Divine intervention again and again. What hurts my heart is that Sanford, by this account, never recognized God's intervention nor publicly acknowledged it. I believe Sanford could have had a triumphant life if he had.
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- Jo Miller "Saint Lover"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-27-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios