True-crime book tells story of Cleveland serial killer
Reading true-crime books can be satisfying, learning of the ingenious methods used by law enforcement to catch criminals. Reading Robert Sberna’s House of Horrors: The Shocking True Story of Anthony Sowell, the Cleveland Strangler is, in the words of one dispirited survivor of Sowell’s atrocities, “a hollow victory.” Though the prosecution team, who won a death-penalty argument in the case of one of the nation’s most sadistic serial killers, strikes “victory poses” for media cameras, no one is really happy in the end.
Several women had accused Sowell of raping them, and one later claimed that police had said her account was not credible. Another didn’t bother to file a report because she’d been raped before and said the police did nothing. These were among the women who escaped; 11 didn’t.
Made vulnerable by their addictions, they were drawn to Sowell by his friendly manner and offers of crack cocaine. “Poor, black, and living on society’s fringes,” as Sberna says, they “weren’t likely to be missed,” but when their families did file missing-persons reports, they found indifference.
The story is, of necessity, graphic, but Sberna is as restrained as he can be while giving an overview of the case and his efforts to understand what motivated Sowell to kill, including a jailhouse interview and correspondence in which Sowell demanded money for further contact.
House of Horrors (216 pages, softcover) costs $14.95 from Kent State University Press. Robert Sberna will talk about and sign his book from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Strongsville branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, 18700 Westwood Drive. Registration requested; call 440-238-5530. Sberna lives in Strongsville.
Inspiring growth through faith
Dwight Mason, pastor of NewPointe Community Church, uses examples from his own life, from his parishioners, and from well-known personalities in Only God: Change Your Story, Change the World. The book addresses personal growth and challenges readers to accept change, to understand and tell others about their faith and guide their children.
Only God (254 pages, softcover) costs $12.99 from Uhrichsville’s Barbour Publishing. NewPointe Community Church has locations in Canton, Dover, Coshocton and Millersburg.
On the schedule for March 24 is a screening of a restored print of the 1926 Mary Pickford silent drama Sparrows, hosted by film historian Christel Schmidt, author of Mary Pickford, Queen of the Movies. The screening, at 3:30 p.m., is at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque, 11141 East Blvd.; admission is $9.
Akron Civic Theatre (182 S. Main St., Akron) — David Kirk, author of the Miss Spider children’s series, will sign his works today at the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet’s 2:30 p.m. performance of Miss Spider’s Tea Party. Visit www.cvyb.org for information.
Ohio Theatre (Playhouse Square, 1511 Euclid Ave., Cleveland) — Presidential historian Michael Beschloss (Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How they Changed America, 1789-1989) concludes the Town Hall Speaker Series at 6 p.m. Monday. $45; call 216-241-1919. Pen/Faulkner Award-winning author (for Bel Canto) Ann Patchett continues the William N. Skirball Writers Center Stage series, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. $30; call 216-749-9338.
Visible Voice (1023 Kenilworth Ave., Cleveland) — Poets James Arthur and Dave Lucas (Weather received the 2011 Ohioana Book Prize for Poetry) read from their works, 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Westlake Porter Public Library (27333 Center Ridge Road) — Marilyn Suszko discusses and signs her book (with Laura Taxel) Cleveland’s West Side Market: 100 Years and Still Cooking, 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Lakewood Public Library (15425 Detroit Ave.) — Sam Thomas reads from and signs his historical mystery The Midwife’s Tale, 7 p.m. Thursday.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Fairview Park branch, 21255 Lorain Road) — Maria Isabella, author of In the Kitchen with Cleveland’s Favorite Chefs, talks about her book from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday; Fox 8 director Vicki Stracensky, author of the children’s book Wise on Weather, appears from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday. Registration requested; call 440-333-4700.
Akron-Summit County Public Library (Tallmadge branch, 90 Community Road) — Beacon Journal columnist Mark J. Price discusses and signs his book The Rest is History: True Tales from Akron’s Vibrant Past, 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Malone University (Cattell Library, 515 25th St. NW, Canton) — The university’s Spring Writer in Residence, poet Julia Spicher Kasdorf, author of Poetry in America, speaks at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Wayne County Public Library (220 W. Liberty St., Wooster) — Mary Ellis, author of Amish-themed fiction including Living in Harmony, talks about “The Job of a Fiction Writer” and signs her work, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Mac’s Backs (1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights) — Poets Sean Thomas Dougherty and Philip Terman read from their works, 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday.
— Barbara McIntyre
Special to the Beacon Journal
Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or email@example.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.