Posted:  Jan. 10, 2014

The Road Out of Hell by Anthony Flacco  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.

This story is a true crime that took place between 1926 & 1928 in a town called Wineville, outside of L.A. The story starts off with the life of the young cousin who by the age of thirteen is sent with his older cousin to help him on his chicken farm in California. They Canada and make the drive all the way down. The terror starts on the trip and does not end for years. It is not until his sister who after a visit and notices changes in her little brother that she knows something is horribly wrong. When she returns to Canada she writes a letter to the local sheriff who at the time was looking for two missing boys. When they came across Sanford and got him away from his uncle Gordon Stewart Northcott. He told the police everything and where to look for the buried bodies. After the first bodies showed up the police now new what they had sort of. Sanford led them to the graves and because of the work he did with the police Gordon was sentence to death along with his two grandparents. Gordon was put to death after two tears and after about a year in the Whittier Boys School, Sanford was able to back to his home town in Canada. In 1935 he married June Mclnnes and she became good friends with his sister Jessie. With the help of both of them he would be able to get through times of not sleeping and nightmares. He was able to join the military and served with a Canadian 6th field Regiment from 1939 to 1946. After the war he got a job as a postal carrier and worked there for 28 years. He and his wife adopted two boys and they grew up not knowing about their fathers’ childhood. After leaving the postal job to keep his mind busy he volunteered at local museum and other local charities. He and his wife were married for over 50 years before she passed away. He passed away not soon after wards. He did tell his oldest son when he was older because a story was coming out and he thought maybe they would make reference to his story. his son is the one who felt his father’s story should be told. I got this book from net galley.

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