Customer Reviews: Cellar of Horror: The Story of Gary Heidnik
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on December 2, 2014
In about 250 pages, the bone-chilling tale of Gary Heidnik is spun in clear-cut, unbiased detail. I have read quite a few crime novels, and find that most authors are so self-absorbed that they insert some tidbit (and usually much more) about their own lives and careers into these books, which is distracting and unnecessary. Not Ken Englade.

He writes facts, not opinions; he writes testimony, not rumors. This could have easily turned into a 500-page tome of speculation, but it was instead handled with a type of professionalism rarely seen in this genre. I will definitely look for more from Mr. Englade, and would recommend this particular book for a rainy afternoon.
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on December 18, 2014
This was an excellent subject for a true crime novel. However, I wouldn't recommend it, simply based on the style of writing. I would have loved this book had it been written by a more experienced true crime author. And who knows, this author may have been very experienced, but the book did not seem to stay on topic through half of it. It bounced all over the place constantly, repeated facts (some very minor) over and over, and would focus on aspects that could very well have been left out of the book. Half of a chapter was dedicated to the architecture of the courthouse, for example. While that may be interesting in some circles, I felt that and other parts could have been either filled with more aspects of the crime, or left out entirely.
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on September 24, 2015
Well written book which was obviously a disturbing story. You can easily imagine what the author is describing and therefore you can appreciate this true story very much. If you enjoy true crime, I'd recommend this one.
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on July 21, 2014
Great true-crime novel. The author has delved into all the facts without being overly graphic about what the women went through. It is heartbreaking to read how many times this monster slipped through the cracks of the mental health system and how he abused the loopholes to set up his own "church" so he could hide money. The pictures were disappointing. I wanted to see the house or at least the basement. The photos were just various shots of Heidnik in court and jail.
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on March 29, 2015
Gruesome and sad story. So many people want to look innocent when they come to court it's because of their childhood, parents etc. but once you get older it's your decision to make the right choices. It was a great read and I would recommend everyone to read this book.
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on March 2, 2015
I was stationed in Philadelphia during the time of these horrible horrible crimes. I accidentally came across this story whileresearching something else. The author took me back to this horrible event I highly recommend this for people who enjoy the silence of the lambs.
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on June 6, 2016
Summary of this Book...
Cellar of Horror: The Story of Gary Heidnik by Ken Englade is a disturbing look inside the life and crimes of one of our nation's most disturbing cases of kidnapping, rape, torture, and murder. With the intent of kidnapping ten women to impregnate them and have a family, Heidnik was caught after kidnapping six women, two of whom were killed before rescue. To further illustrate his derangement, Heidnik fed a mixture of dog food and one of the murder victims to his other kidnap victims. He was eventually convicted of his crimes (and put to death by the state of Pennsylvania by lethal injection on July 6, 1999--That part not being covered by the book). The book takes you through much of his life before the crimes and continues through his conviction. It also includes botched opportunities to discover his victims, pretrial events, and some of the odd and prejudicial rulings of the judge presiding over his case.
This type of Book is good for...
This book is good for anyone interested in true crime or books about the criminally insane. But the reader should be aware that some of the contents are disturbing, though Englade doesn't go into obviously unnecessary detail.
I especially liked...
I especially liked the little details Englade gave which brought about a feeling of being there. For example, he described Heidnik's kitchen walls as being "...half covered with pennies which had been meticulously glued in place" (Englade, 13) and his hallway walls as "...partially papered with one- and five-dollar bills." (Englade, 14)
I didn't like...
The title, "Cellar of Horror" seems a bit cheesy to me, though it's certainly an accurate depiction.
When I finished reading this Book I wanted to...
I want to read more about Gary Heidnik and look for other things written by Ken Englade.
This Book made me feel...
This book made me feel shocked at human depravity and sad at the repeated failings of humans and systems.
The author of this Book...
Ken Englade did an excellent job of showing us a well-rounded view of Heidnik without boring us, alternating early chapters between Heinik before and during the criminal events for the first third of the book, then reading chronologically throughout the rest with the second third describing pretrial events and jury selection and the final third of the book covering the trial. There is an epilogue that covers the aftermath.
I recommend this Book because...
I'd recommend this book because it's an interesting account of some horrific crimes. This isn't for the feint of heart, but it's a fascinating, though disturbing, read.
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on December 31, 2013
This book was really good and interesting, until I got about halfway through. The first half was about Gary and his prisoners with great detail and you really got into the book. However, halfway through the read (not the end. . halfway) Gary gets caught. So the whole second half of the book is the court proceedings. Interesting, but not very exciting.
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on November 24, 2013
I purchased this book after I read the sample. It grabbed my attention and I had to know more. Very well written, it will take you into the very twisted events of this true crime. Most books that delve into the court phase of true crime are meandering and drag on in a mundane fashion. Not here. It was sufficient as well as very educational, thanks to the presiding judge. I couldn't leave it alone! Definitely thumbs up to you Mr. Ken Englade!
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on January 14, 2009
This was a sick man in this book. He deserved everything he got. I read this book really quick as well. True crime is my favorite type of book to read and this one was one of the top books I read also. I got it in about a week and started to read it as soon as I got it. Then I saw a documentary on it on tv and saw the real person. If you like true crime you will probably like this book as well. It was never boring or slow like some books can get. I didn't think so anyway.
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