In Captive: One House, Three Women and Ten Years of Hell, Allan Hall reconstructs one of the most shocking cases of abuse in modern times.
Hall reveals the dark obsessions that drove the Cleveland Abductor, Ariel Castro, to kidnap and enslave three young women. Using interviews with witnesses, psychologists, family, friends and the police, he shows how these girls remained undetected for ten years in a home just three miles from the block where they all went missing, and the extraordinary moment when they triumphed over their tormentor.
About the Author
Allan Hall was a New York correspondent for ten years, first for the Sun and later for the Daily Mirror. He has spent the last decade covering German-speaking Europe for newspapers including The Times and the Mail on Sunday. He is the author of two previous books, Monster, an investigation into the life and crimes of Josef Fritzl and Girl in the Cellar: The Natascha Kampusch Story. He lives and works in Berlin.
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I felt this story was a bit disjointed. It seemed to jump from the present to the past a lot. It didn't seem to start at the beginning and go to the end. It was not what I expected. It certainly was a sad tale for the girls who were locked up for 10 years and continually abused during that time.
I bought this book because I thought it would be a re-telling of the events of this horrifying case, you know, because it's subheading is 'The story of the Cleveland abductions'. Well, to put it simply, it's not. Although it may be sadistic of me, I wanted to know what actually happened to those girls inside that house. Literal events that took place. Of course, the overarching story is told, but it is fluffed out with political opinions. Ninety percent of the book is the author's analysis of the community, media and law enforcement's reactions to and handling of the case and deconstruction of the psyche of Ariel Castro. Of course, you would expect and want a little of that anyway, but there is a subtle (yet quite obvious) anti-police bias and contempt for law enforcement throughout the whole book. There are also not-so-subtle accusations of racism and apathy against the community, media and law in regards to Michelle Knight, the first of the kidnapped victims. The author very clearly expresses his opinion (over and over and OVER again) that the community and police were ignorant, stupid and cowardly in handling Castro and the situation of the missing women. There are constant references and comparisons of Ariel Castro to Josef Fritzl and Wolfgang Priklopil, which again, can be expected, but when I say constant, I mean CONSTANT. If I wanted to read about their stories, I would have bought a book about them. The book is very well written and the author is a fantastic critical thinker and I hope that he will continue to observe and deconstruct criminal events and place his observations into books. I just think this book is perhaps titled incorrectly or needs a re-working of the subheading to give the potential reader a more honest summary of the book's content.
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 21st November 2013
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.9 x 13.0 x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.29
Edition Number: 1