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Invisible Chains: Shawn Hornbeck And The Kidnapping Case That Shook The Nation Paperback – April 15, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
―Jerald Barnes, a lieutenant with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department
and one of the nation’s most respected hostage negotiators
“Invisible Chains is a tribute to the courage, persistence, and resilience of these boys and their families.”
―David L. Corwin, M.D., Medical Director at Primary Children’s Center for
Safe and Healthy Families and Professor and Chief of the Child Protection and
Family Health Pediatrics Department, University of Utah School of Medicine
“…a deep psychological look at child predator Michael Devlin.”
―Caitlin Rother, author of Poisoned Love, the authoritative account of the Kristin
Top Customer Reviews
The Good: The author did consult with several psychologists and forensic psychiatrists who have studied the Shawn Hornbeck abduction. The portion of the book pertaining to the kind of sex offender that Michael Devlin was and remains is by far the most interesting section of the book and reads quickly.
The Bad: The author DID NOT interview Shawn Hornbeck, either of his parents, Ben Ownby (the other abducted child found in the shabby apartment), or either of his parents. She also did not speak with any of the lead investigators or the prosecuting attorney. Every quote provided by any of these individuals was taken from previously written accounts in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Associated Press, and other publications. Because there were no interviews with any of the key figures, there really is no information in the book pertaining to the abduction and abuse that could not be gleaned from newspaper accounts.
The Ugly: The first 6 chapters of the book (a full 60 pages) detailed the ongoing search for Shawn Hornbeck in the 6-8 weeks following his abduction. These chapters were interminably long, repetitive, and boring. (How many times must one read that there were no clues found?) These chapters could easily have been reduced to one chapter without losing any content.
The author has a rather awkward style of writing in which she frequently writes sentence fragments as complete sentences. I understand that sometimes this literary tool is used to add interest or underscore a point.Read more ›
Some people became extremely interested in this case, either before or after Shawn was found. Particularly after he was found, there was intense and prolific sharing of every new development via the Court TV forums, the St. Louis and national media websites, and Christopher Leonard's excellent coverage for the Associated Press. We have rallied behind the family & their cause, and rejoice in their recoveries. If you are one of us, this book has *nothing new* except for psychological information and interviews with experts. Very few, if any, new interviews have been done (none with the families), and all quotes are familiar from items we've already read and discussed. If you fit this category, you may wish to skip this book.
However, this book is extremely educational for the general public. The author has drawn together many published sources and tied it together in a way the general public can understand and learn from. After reading it, the general public will understand much more clearly why Shawn didn't leave, and that a victim of any age can be made psychologically unable to escape even when physically able to do so. For anyone who thinks they or their child would have handled the situation differently, this book will point out the sobering facts.
Additionally, the story of Shawn's recovery and the relationships among the Akers family is quite inspirational, as they have supported and stood by him every step of the way and helped him grow into a healthy and successful adult - unlike some of the families of former abduction/abuse survivors. Reading about Shawn's journey from victim to survivor gives the reader hope in a dark world.
I also found the repeated references to Devlin as "the monster man" childish and added no value whatsoever.
Overall this was a pretty disappointing read. You could get about as much out of the Wikipedia article (or any of the dozens of published news media articles that are about the only source material for this book) and avoid the unnecessary and thinly veiled disgust and condescension for small town life in a flyover state.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I chose this book to learn what happened to Shawn Hornbeck. I would not recommend this book to anyone... There were some interesting parts, and also very boring information.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Well written and absorbing. Too bad the perpetrator wasn't given the death sentence.Published 9 months ago by sld816
I could not get into this book at all. I know the story and was pretty excited to get this book after reading "I know my first name is Steven" after the first chapter in... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Lorajean101
This book is written well and the author did interview several experts in dealing with victims of abuse, but she didn't interview Hornbeck or anyone in his family/circle/etc. Read morePublished 11 months ago by bbmarie
This book contained no more information than what the news told us.
I knew the "author" was having trouble filling in the pages between the covers of the book... Read more