• Secrets in the Cellar

  • The True Story of the Austrian Incest Case That Shocked the World
  • By: John Glatt
  • Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (544 ratings)

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Secrets in the Cellar

By: John Glatt
Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
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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

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

20 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

11 people found this helpful

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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.

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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?

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Ahhhhhhhhh

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No way, it was very well done, but it made me feel ill.

Would you recommend Secrets in the Cellar to your friends? Why or why not?

Is this the same question I just answered, or am I missing something?

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

No, not that I am aware of.

Did Secrets in the Cellar inspire you to do anything?

Stay away from creepers......

Any additional comments?

This is a truly tragic disheartening story, with nowhere close enough too true justice served, if you have a strong stomach you might like it.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too terrible to listen to.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I have never commented on a story before, and I don't usually, but this story is just too terrible and horrible. I couldn't listen to it and really want my credit back. Perhaps my next book will be something really happy, cause I'm just stunned that such a horrible thing could actually happen in this world.

What could John Glatt have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

nothing

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

absolutely not!!!!!!

Any additional comments?

Do not listen to this book if you have a weak stomach for grotesque and horrible truths of depravity.

5 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

I didn't care for it. it was very slow going I found the story was good and I felt bad but the way it is wrote and read was very slow and boring

4 people found this helpful

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Awesome book

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

4 people found this helpful

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  • sara
  • 01-02-15

Fascinating

Interesting yet gruesome, I found the detail behind this real story intriguing, how can some individuals carry out such horrors defies me.

At first I found the narration stilted, as though some sort of auto-tune is used which makes it on the monotone side.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ben
  • 03-31-15

Factual and dry, but an amazingly disturbing story

I recommend this book based on the astonishing and disturbing story alone. It delves into the mind of a truly sadistic and damaged man.

I found the part about Fritzels own up bring the most fascinating as it gives clues as to how a person can do such horrific acts to his own family.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Katyc
  • 06-29-16

Griping & brilliantly read! English voice

First ever audio book and totally loved it. Was 3/4 way through within days.
Authors voice was great to listen to.
Such an interesting story, I've told many people about it already.

2 people found this helpful

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  • s.millin
  • 07-20-15

loved this book

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

Just loved this book, she explained every detail of what she did and felt.
How brave she is, to go through what she did, giving birth on her own, with no help from a doctor, and then coping with her children, and the life she was forced to endure.

How brilliantly she wrote this, so inspiring.

Who was your favorite character and why?

the main character.

What about Gildart Jackson’s performance did you like?

All of it, no faults at all.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

it made me cry, in several places.
Not much joy in this book.

Any additional comments?

you will want to listen to this all in one go. Beware serious time needed. You cant stop.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • marie
  • 12-12-14

interesting book

Narration was not great but the story was interesting, I would recommend this book, shocking you know it's true

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sally Howes
  • 05-24-15

Secrets in the cellar

It's an uncomfortable book due to the subject matter. However it's well written and well narrated. A shocking story but worth a listen if you are interested in true crime.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Claire
  • 10-28-22

Struggled with this !

I was fascinated by the story but a lot of this book was padded out by reports of people involved in the case read verbatim. It also contained reports of the opinions of people who were not involved in this case again read verbatim! It felt like a lot of the other content was taken from newspaper reports at time. Also the narrators accents as he read the book were irritating to me.

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  • Jeni Quinn
  • 02-15-22

Truly magnificent and horrific

I have watched countless documentaries about this case always wanting to know as much as possible about the victims. This audiobook described in incredible detail, Elisabet's history and progress.
I highly recommend this book.

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  • June x
  • 09-08-21

Heartbreaking and compelling

What a tragic situation. And Fritzl himself showed no remorse whatsoever. Would love to know how Elizabeth and her children are doing now

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-23-21

Horrifying

Very sad and Dark and very well told. After finishing this you Will find Youself hopning the Victors have nothing but happiness for rest of Theis lives

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  • Tamara Dehne
  • 12-02-20

Great listen Sad story

such a sad story of a very strong woman. would recommend listening to her story

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jodie Blampied
  • 02-14-19

unbelievably tragic

wow what a story!!! unimaginable for a father to do that..... heart breaks for this family 💔

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • sofia
  • 10-23-15

A Further Injustice to Elizabeth Frizl.

What disappointed you about Secrets in the Cellar?

I will try to be short and to the point. It is obviously a tragic thing what happened to Elizabeth and her children. I am interested in her story - I admire her strength, as I am sure many others do. It would have been moving and far more interesting to hear how she overcame what was clearly a living hell.

That is the story I wish this book told.

I don't believe this book did Elizabeth Fritzl justice. The story focused on Josef Fritzl. His childhood, his mind, blah blah blah. I actually found it rather frustrating that the focus was on him. 'Secrets in the Cellar' is a narrative into a disgusting human's mind. If that is what interests you, then you will actually thoroughly enjoy this book.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Gildart Jackson?

Many people seemed to enjoy the narrator Gildart Jackson - I found his 'accents' and overall performance rather intolerable. I almost didn't finish the book because I found the narrator so difficult to listen to.

Any additional comments?

After reading only really positive reviews, I was convinced that this would be a great book.
I can appreciate that the high expectation may be why I didn't enjoy it. However, I listen to many books in this genre, and I simply did not enjoy this book at all.