Girl in the Cellar: The Natascha Kampusch Story

Allan Hall, Author, Michael Leidig, Author HarperCollins Publishers $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-134510-4
This exploration of the disturbing kidnapping and eight years of an Austrian girl as a hostage matches its tabloidesque topic. There's little doubt that Natascha Kampusch's captivity is captivating, and veteran journalists Hall and Leidig know the story well. For those who may know the story only from the headlines-she was abducted in Vienna and spent the next eight years as a prisoner in an urban fortress-they offer a wealth of new, often sensationalist background information about Kampusch, about her troubled relationship with her divorced parents, and about her abductor, Wolfgang Prikopil. For instance, before the kidnapping Prikopil went to the same bar frequented separately by Kampusch's father and by her mother's boyfriend. They are also critical of the way the local police handled the case, calling them both inefficient and simplistic in their methods. Unfortunately, many answers surrounding the case are still unknown: Prikopil committed suicide right after Kampusch escaped this summer, and Kampusch herself has been circumspect in discussing parts of her captivity. As a result, the authors have to rely on comments by neighbors and psychiatrists to speculate about the gaps: Did Prikopil sexually abuse Kampusch? Why did she take so long to run away, since after a few years Prikopil let her go out in public with him? Those fascinated by the case will be partially satiated, but much of this case that shocked Austria remains hidden.
Reviewed on: 01/01/2007
Release date: 01/01/2007
Mass Market Paperbound - 272 pages - 978-0-06-194529-8
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-198987-2
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