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The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family, and a Shocking Murder

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In The Perfect Father, New York Times bestselling author John Glatt reveals the true story of a Colorado family whose storybook life turned into a nightmare. In the early morning hours of August 13th, 2018, Shanann Watts was dropped off at her Frederick, Colorado home by a colleague after returning from a business trip. It was the last time anyone would see her alive. By th In The Perfect Father, New York Times bestselling author John Glatt reveals the true story of a Colorado family whose storybook life turned into a nightmare. In the early morning hours of August 13th, 2018, Shanann Watts was dropped off at her Frederick, Colorado home by a colleague after returning from a business trip. It was the last time anyone would see her alive. By the next day, Shanann and her two young daughters, Bella and Celeste, had been reported missing, and her husband, Chris Watts, was appearing on the local news, pleading for his family's safe return. But Chris Watts already knew that he would never see his family again. Less than 24 hours after his desperate plea, Watts made a shocking confession to police: he had strangled his pregnant wife to death and smothered their daughters, dumping their bodies at a nearby oil site. Heartbroken friends and neighbors watched in shock as the movie-star handsome, devoted family man they knew was arrested and charged with first degree murder. The perfect mask Chris had presented to the world in his TV interviews and the family's Facebook accounts was slipping--and what lay beneath was a horrifying image of instability, infidelity, sexual ambivalence, and boiling rage. In this first major account of the case, bestselling author and journalist John Glatt reveals the truth behind the tragedy and constructs a chilling portrait of one of the most shocking family annihilator cases of the 21st century.


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In The Perfect Father, New York Times bestselling author John Glatt reveals the true story of a Colorado family whose storybook life turned into a nightmare. In the early morning hours of August 13th, 2018, Shanann Watts was dropped off at her Frederick, Colorado home by a colleague after returning from a business trip. It was the last time anyone would see her alive. By th In The Perfect Father, New York Times bestselling author John Glatt reveals the true story of a Colorado family whose storybook life turned into a nightmare. In the early morning hours of August 13th, 2018, Shanann Watts was dropped off at her Frederick, Colorado home by a colleague after returning from a business trip. It was the last time anyone would see her alive. By the next day, Shanann and her two young daughters, Bella and Celeste, had been reported missing, and her husband, Chris Watts, was appearing on the local news, pleading for his family's safe return. But Chris Watts already knew that he would never see his family again. Less than 24 hours after his desperate plea, Watts made a shocking confession to police: he had strangled his pregnant wife to death and smothered their daughters, dumping their bodies at a nearby oil site. Heartbroken friends and neighbors watched in shock as the movie-star handsome, devoted family man they knew was arrested and charged with first degree murder. The perfect mask Chris had presented to the world in his TV interviews and the family's Facebook accounts was slipping--and what lay beneath was a horrifying image of instability, infidelity, sexual ambivalence, and boiling rage. In this first major account of the case, bestselling author and journalist John Glatt reveals the truth behind the tragedy and constructs a chilling portrait of one of the most shocking family annihilator cases of the 21st century.

30 review for The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family, and a Shocking Murder

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    “The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family, and a Shocking Murder” (2020) is a stunning and devastating portrayal of a crime that captured the attention of the national and international global media. Shanann Watts disappeared with her two daughters from her Frederick, Colorado home on August 13, 2018. Days later, a gruesome discovery followed at the Anadarko Petroleum facility where Chris Watts worked. British American journalist John Glatt explored this horrifi “The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family, and a Shocking Murder” (2020) is a stunning and devastating portrayal of a crime that captured the attention of the national and international global media. Shanann Watts disappeared with her two daughters from her Frederick, Colorado home on August 13, 2018. Days later, a gruesome discovery followed at the Anadarko Petroleum facility where Chris Watts worked. British American journalist John Glatt explored this horrific crime and its impact on others. Over two decades, this NYT bestselling author has written over 30 books mainly of the True Crime genre. As upstanding members of their elite community Chris and Shanann Watts resembled a perfect all-American family. The postings on Shanann’s social media accounts described only extreme happiness and stability in her marriage and family life. She was employed as a top sales associate for “Thrive” a multi-marketing company that sold weight-loss and dietary supplements. While the seemingly endless positive “glowing” posts may have been a marketing strategy to sell these products, (some of her family members had blocked Shanann’s posts) there was nothing to indicate the serious problems that the Watts family experienced. While Shanann likely had a dominating and controlling personality, Chris didn’t seem to mind, and always deferred to his wife’s judgment, even after Shanann announced their daughters Bella (2013) and Celeste (2015) wouldn’t be permitted further to visits with his parents. Despite a bankruptcy filing (2015) the couple continued to live beyond their means: in a custom 5 bedroom home, drove luxury cars and insisted on the very “best” of everything which led to increased and excessive credit card debt. It was when Chris began a secret romance with a co-worker at Anadarko, the façade of his storybook marriage began to crumble as he began to imagine another life without his family. Although he claimed to love his pregnant wife and daughters what happened to them is totally beyond all comprehension. As Watts was interviewed by law enforcement officials, Agent Graham Coders carefully explained to him that "his story didn’t add up, and he would need to explain what actually happened…” This highly skilled investigator coaxed Watts into revealing the terrible and shocking truth of what he had done. It was also interesting to note that no psychological assessment/profile pertaining to Chris Watts was not requested or provided to the court. Glatt included little known facts of law enforcement personnel suffering from PTSD symptoms related to the case. Chris Watts is serving multiple life sentences without the possibility of parole at the Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun, Wisconsin. **With thanks to St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley for the DDC for the purpose of review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    This seems to be a well researched and written book about family tragedy that took us all by surprise and shock at the time it happened. It seemed like we watched Shannan’s Facebook videos over and over on an endless loop for days on end with all of the news and news shows. I’m not sure what was so fascinating about the horrific situation, but it was impossible to turn away when it was on, for me anyway. Hoping at first that Shannan and the girls would be found alive, of course. And then the com This seems to be a well researched and written book about family tragedy that took us all by surprise and shock at the time it happened. It seemed like we watched Shannan’s Facebook videos over and over on an endless loop for days on end with all of the news and news shows. I’m not sure what was so fascinating about the horrific situation, but it was impossible to turn away when it was on, for me anyway. Hoping at first that Shannan and the girls would be found alive, of course. And then the complete horror when they were found. I’ve read many of Glatt’s works which have gotten markedly better over the years, as seen in this book, where he lets the story do the talking. Worth a read even though we know how it comes out. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author John Glatt, and the publisher.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elle's Book Blog

    Release Date: July 21, 2020 Actual Rating: 3.5 stars True Crime FIRST THOUGHTS: A devastating and haunting true crime novel that I won’t forget. This book had me rolling in emotions. MY REVIEW: John Glatt is a seasoned true crime writer and when I saw he was writing a book about the Chris Watts case (it made headlines around the world) I knew I needed to read it. For one thing, the story is absolutely devastating. How can a seemingly perfect man kill his pregnant wife and two daughters? It Release Date: July 21, 2020 Actual Rating: 3.5 stars True Crime FIRST THOUGHTS: A devastating and haunting true crime novel that I won’t forget. This book had me rolling in emotions. MY REVIEW: John Glatt is a seasoned true crime writer and when I saw he was writing a book about the Chris Watts case (it made headlines around the world) I knew I needed to read it. For one thing, the story is absolutely devastating. How can a seemingly perfect man kill his pregnant wife and two daughters? It’s unthinkable. Secondly, I remember reading about this case and seeing it all over the news. I live in Massachusetts and this happened in Colorado and seeing as it made it way over to my little hamlet shows how sensational the case is (was). Finally, I am a true crime junkie. I have a master’s degree in psychology and reading stories about the abnormal side of the human brain (and the abnormal side of human nature) is interesting to me. All this put together, this is a book for me. For the most part, this is a good book. John Glatt writes the story in three parts (before, during, and the aftermath of the crime) so we gain an understanding of everything that led up to the crime; how their relationship may have played a part etc. and what happened in the courts. The chapters are small so reading it quickly is fairly easy (unless your queasy then it may be harder to read it in one sitting). HOWEVER, the beginning of the book (when looking at this couple relationship) it seemed like the author was siding with the murderer. There were things in the book that bothered me because it looked like he was throwing more of the blame at the victim (she’s to controlling etc.) rather than her husband who killed her. That put a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t care how controlling she was or what she did, she never deserved what happened to her or her babies. This is the main reason I am giving this one 3.5 stars. FINAL THOUGHTS If you’re a true crime reader, I would recommend this one to you. The case is still “new” as the events occurred within the last 2 years and many will know the story anyways because it was plastered all over the news. Be warned though, this book is devastating. I cried a few times because I can’t imagine what happened. Ugh, it makes me sick to my stomach. I am however glad to know more about the victims who deserve peace and justice.

  4. 4 out of 5

    M. [storme reads a lot]

    As soon as I saw this on Netgalley, I knew I needed to read it. I devoured it immediately because true crime interests me and has pretty much for long as I can recall. This was a case I didn’t have a lot of knowledge of so I was intrigued to learn more. I’m not going to talk about details because it’s a very sensitive case, and I know the murder of pregnant women and children is hard for many to handle. I had no idea how horrific this case was, and I learned more than I had before. This book show As soon as I saw this on Netgalley, I knew I needed to read it. I devoured it immediately because true crime interests me and has pretty much for long as I can recall. This was a case I didn’t have a lot of knowledge of so I was intrigued to learn more. I’m not going to talk about details because it’s a very sensitive case, and I know the murder of pregnant women and children is hard for many to handle. I had no idea how horrific this case was, and I learned more than I had before. This book shows how Chris Watts was just an unfeeling terrible person who did the most unspeakable thing to his family. I was a little disappointed by the narrative as there’s more details I found online, so I think it’s good to do research online too for full details if that’s of interest. It’s a really gripping story and very tragic. Thank you netgalley and st Martins press for the advanced review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura Peden

    Well that was a brutal listen...This is what I knew about the Chris Watts case before reading: An American man, husband & father killed his pregnant wife & two daughters because he fell in love with another woman. That’s about it. I’m sure I’ve even confused this case with Scott Peterson’s crimes at some point. This book is a comprehensive account of what led to this horrendous act, a walkthrough of the crimes, and then trial & follow-up. When I say comprehensive, I’m talking complete transcript Well that was a brutal listen...This is what I knew about the Chris Watts case before reading: An American man, husband & father killed his pregnant wife & two daughters because he fell in love with another woman. That’s about it. I’m sure I’ve even confused this case with Scott Peterson’s crimes at some point. This book is a comprehensive account of what led to this horrendous act, a walkthrough of the crimes, and then trial & follow-up. When I say comprehensive, I’m talking complete transcripts from interviews, etc. To all the men out there: I get that some of us women can be controlling bitches at times but that does not give you the right to annihilate us. There’s a word called DIVORCE you sick f**** 🤬 If you don’t think you can handle the cold blooded murder of children I’d take a hard pass if I were you...I was nauseous while listening to the majority of this but it is a really well-written piece of true crime. For 🎧 readers: I don’t know why but the author chose to use a British narrator for the audiobook. It’s completely lovely & I understood every word with no probs but it did confuse me a bit at first because I wasn’t expecting that since it’s an American crime.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Esther King

    This book is about the horrific murder of a family at the hands of the person they should have been able to trust the most, and it is a well-hashed-out picture of the case, as well as the aftermath and the life before the crime. I found a lot of new information out, and the narrative approach makes this book horrible to read but also incredibly compelling, and I thought it gave a lot of insight into the families and people that the murders affected. With that being said, there was a fundamental This book is about the horrific murder of a family at the hands of the person they should have been able to trust the most, and it is a well-hashed-out picture of the case, as well as the aftermath and the life before the crime. I found a lot of new information out, and the narrative approach makes this book horrible to read but also incredibly compelling, and I thought it gave a lot of insight into the families and people that the murders affected. With that being said, there was a fundamental issue that resulted in my lower rating. Presenting both sides of the story is absolutely vital in true crime, but there's absolutely zero reason to present the story as though the murder was somehow justified regarding how 'controlling' Shannan was in respect to Chris. Regardless of how 'controlling' a partner is, there is the option for divorce over murder unless the relationship is beyond abusive, and to kill your children as well is something beyond justification. When a divorce is still an option, that option should be taken over suffocating your pregnant partner and your children, then stuffing their bodies into shrubbery and oil tanks. To try and justify the reprehensible act of killing someone over taking REASONABLE action isn't something I can support, and so I really need to point out that the author could have changed the way that this was presented- there's no reason to excuse someone killing their family, especially as it happens so often. While it may not have been the intention, a disclaimer at the least needs to be presented.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Madara

    How do you even review a true crime book? Watts family seems to have it all. Shanann is running her own business and loved by her followers/Thrive family. Chris is a perfect husband and father - loving, hard working and supportive. Their daughters Bella and Celeste are their pride and joy. But one day Shanann, Bella and Celeste goes missing... I remember hearing about this case and thinking "wow, getting some "Gone Girl" vibes!". Obviously - this is real life, Watts family case is tragic and the w How do you even review a true crime book? Watts family seems to have it all. Shanann is running her own business and loved by her followers/Thrive family. Chris is a perfect husband and father - loving, hard working and supportive. Their daughters Bella and Celeste are their pride and joy. But one day Shanann, Bella and Celeste goes missing... I remember hearing about this case and thinking "wow, getting some "Gone Girl" vibes!". Obviously - this is real life, Watts family case is tragic and the world has lost a mother, an unborn baby boy and two beautiful girls. The Perfect Father is a well researched and written look at the Watts family case. Easy to read and it seems like you really get to know Shanann, Chris, Bella and Celeste. Some of the chapters were harder to read because of the subject matter tho. Review copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    In depth review to come. Thank you to Netgalley, John Glatt & St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The publish date is July 21, 2020. In depth review to come. Thank you to Netgalley, John Glatt & St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The publish date is July 21, 2020.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    Holy shit.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Noorilhuda

    It is all Shannon Watts fault. She was too controlling, always nagging and belittling her husband. She didn’t let him do what he wanted. She separated him from his hometown and family. She had a toxic relationship with them and constantly fought him. She was obsessed with social media and manufactured appearances. Her need for finer things in life put the family in debt again and again and put pressure on her doormat husband. She insisted on having kids when her body had deficiencies and all her It is all Shannon Watts fault. She was too controlling, always nagging and belittling her husband. She didn’t let him do what he wanted. She separated him from his hometown and family. She had a toxic relationship with them and constantly fought him. She was obsessed with social media and manufactured appearances. Her need for finer things in life put the family in debt again and again and put pressure on her doormat husband. She insisted on having kids when her body had deficiencies and all her kids developed huge health problems, but she kept on getting pregnant. She was highly insecure and craved 24/7 attention from her husband, friends, family, even strangers. She was too focussed on her career. She had OCD. She was too organized. Hell, give me that neck and I’ll strangle her myself! 
This is what Glatt believes or wants you to believe in this incredibly surface-level, substance-less, unobjective, straight-from-the-headlines book, where Shannon Watts plays Meghan Markle to Chris Watts’s Prince Harry. The basic problem with it is that Glatt hasn’t really interviewed anyone or done any footwork to gain any insight into Watses, and has simply re-compiled (copy pasted) all info readily available through public records and online data in a serialized chapter format to complete this book. That is fine if you just want to preserve a basic timeline in book format, but not so much if you want answers. The major ‘source’ available to Glatt is Shannon Watt’s OTT facebook page where she obsessively promoted the ‘Thrive’ supplement benefits by showcasing her affluent lifestyle and health challenges - something all celebs, instagrammers, social media star-wannabes do to make money - procuring a high-end status both she and that supposedly docile yes-man husband enjoyed - posts Glatt quotes and reproduces here infinitum. His other sources are all second-hand and biased and stuck in their relational prisms: media interviews of her parents and brother, his parents and sister, her friends, his friends, her co-workers, his co-workers. Her side supports her, Chris Watts’ side supports him. Everyone is baffled by the sudden, gruesome turn of events. The police records are after-the-fact. No one knows what their vicious quarrels were about, money, sex, behavior, relatives or being sick of each other. Glatt doesn’t try to peel away any mirage, ask any questions about their passive-aggressive actions, beliefs, lives. Actually, it doesn’t look like he spoke to anyone (and even if he did, the result is all what people already know from the news reels, which still boggles readers and viewers). He hasn’t talked to the subject of the title. That is frustrating because there’s so much to forensically investigate in the murderer and his dysfunctional marriage, not the least, the removal of any notion of dignity of human life, let alone that of one’s own children. Because let’s be clear; at the end of the day, everyone wants to make sense of a senseless criminal act in a white picket fence lane by an entitled rich white quiet hunky dude who throws it all away one Monday morning for a bit of p——-y. Maybe all those ‘Thrive’ patches, protein shakes, and obsessive workouts went to his head and changed his brain chemistry?! Maybe he didn’t want to be a single father to two sick kids?! Maybe an argument spiraled into a ‘Fargo’? Why did he come up with a half-baked confession after 10 hours of questioning?! Why did he not ask for a lawyer?! Was Shannon’s blood alcohol level due to drinking or decomposition? Would investigators have figured out the oily burial ground for daughters on their own?! Why didn’t he at least try to plan the murder well? Why didn’t he just walk away?! What really happened?! Who knows?! The only clear thing is that Chris Watts is a very stupid man, and you don’t need to read this run-of-the-mill book to know that. I felt sorry for the two sets of parents, Wattses and Rzuceks, forever marked with every wart of their family and children laid bare for public consumption, analysis and ridicule, in books, TV/film, internet, and around water-coolers. And that is Chris Watts’s fault, not Shannon Watts’s. Observations of An Armchair Detective: 1) On a personal level, I did not understand why Rzuceks needed to file a multi-million dollar civil law suit against Chris Watts. They’d already got hold of the estate and a fund for proper burial. I thought placing a monetary value on their pain and loss was beneath them. Surely, their trust in people and humanity cannot be less than the Wattses, and those unfortunate people cannot even sue anyone. 2) I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought Chris Watts’ letter to their youngest daughter on what would have been her 4th birthday in July 2019 was in bad taste, like this guy had zero self-reflection even after ‘finding god:’ for someone who smothered the girls in blanket and threw them in an oil tank noting how shallow the sound was, to make references to “you wanted to be splashing around,” “you were always flying around,” “you loved all your blankies, you couldn’t go to sleep without two books” - and to keep up a sense of entitlement “I have,” “I love,” “I know,” “I would,” “I miss” - and never once write that he’s sorry or ask for forgiveness. He keeps telling the dead daughter what value she brought to his life, which is sneaky because of the cold hateful ‘I own you’ manner in which he killed, and humiliating way he disposed all off. 3) Nikki Kessinger was smart, got good advice, played her cards well, immediately deleting all evidence of an affair, cutting off contact, calling the police, safeguarding and negotiating her role and future, memorably googling the right things at the right time. My personal favorite: ‘Kessinger googled to see how much money (Amber) Frey had received for her bestselling book Witness: for the Prosecution of Scott Peterson and whether people hated her afterward.’ - remember, this was on the Saturday after murders on The Monday, and exactly 6 days since she googled ‘anal sex, double penetration and threesomes’ for her evening romp with Chris Watts, and 2 weeks since she googled ‘wedding dresses.’ Girl knew how to prepare for all eventualities and chapters (and weeks) of her life, and make the most of them. Besides, it’s got to be some ego boost to know that a guy snuffed out his entire family (and himself) just so that he could be with you. Footnote that cast a long shadow. 4) What happened to Dieter, the family dog? A few typos: pg 71: all (of) Shannan’s postings. pg 101: all (of) Shannan’s old friends pg107: had (seen) his family pg 147: He(’s) acting so suspicious pg 206: put on lockdown to protect him pg 239: writing from his cell her appeared detached from reality [should not be in italics] He finished by writing [should not be in italics] pg 239: he wrote that (he) had already

  11. 5 out of 5

    Erin (from Long Island, NY)

    I always feel so wrong "rating" true crime books. & this story is especially heart breaking. As far as the writing though.. It was well researched & if you're not familiar with the case, it's to the point & informative. Turns out I already knew most of this though, i guess from articles and/or tv shows.. So for me it was really just kind of a recap. I'd definitely read another by this author though, i appreciate that he doesn't repeat himself or drag things out for shock value. I always feel so wrong "rating" true crime books. & this story is especially heart breaking. As far as the writing though.. It was well researched & if you're not familiar with the case, it's to the point & informative. Turns out I already knew most of this though, i guess from articles and/or tv shows.. So for me it was really just kind of a recap. I'd definitely read another by this author though, i appreciate that he doesn't repeat himself or drag things out for shock value.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ruthy lavin

    A Chilling, gripping, and very harrowing account of the events leading up to and after, the murders of Shannan Watts and her children. True crime fans will enjoy the intelligent narrative of this book, as the story is told in a neat chronological and factual way. It is NOT a pleasant read, but you will find it difficult to put down. 4 stars 🌟

  13. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    I recently watched a series of videos on the Facebook page, Law & Crime -- the "Watts Family Murders." This book provides much of the detail not included in the docudrama but it's still true that no one will ever know what really happened that night and why this man did what he did. I do think it's apt, however, to describe Chris Watts as a monster. Family annihilation is the ultimate betrayal. True crime fascinates me, and I've recently rediscovered my love for this genre. It was heartbreaking t I recently watched a series of videos on the Facebook page, Law & Crime -- the "Watts Family Murders." This book provides much of the detail not included in the docudrama but it's still true that no one will ever know what really happened that night and why this man did what he did. I do think it's apt, however, to describe Chris Watts as a monster. Family annihilation is the ultimate betrayal. True crime fascinates me, and I've recently rediscovered my love for this genre. It was heartbreaking to read the story of how all of this unfolded while also noting that the Facebook page for Shan'ann Watts is still active and can be viewed. The background information included made me feel as if I actually knew the couple and their families and could sense that trouble was brewing. The main catalyst, however, was definitely the illicit romance between Chris and Nikki Kessinger and I don't believe that she was completely innocent of culpability -- she knew he was still married and living with his wife and daughters when they started dating. She had even searched both Chris and Shan'ann on Google long before their own relationship began. I hope she doesn't profit or gain any positive notoriety because of this. She's a liar and manipulated the situation to try to make herself look better with her actions after the fact. The book was well-written and I read it in a single sitting as I was unable to tear myself away. It's just a tragedy all around and no one who knew them personally will ever recover -- all those lives destroyed because of the actions of two selfish people (Chris and Nikki). Yes, Chris is the one who killed Shan'ann, Bella and Celeste (and Nico), but it was because he wanted a new life with Nikki. What made him snap at that precise period in time? Maybe one day, Chris will be more forthcoming and be able to tell the whole truth after reflecting during these very long years as he lives out his life in prison. I'm glad he spared everyone the circus that would have been the trial. I hope he remembers and suffers. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, St. Martin's Press, for this e-book ARC to read, review and recommend. If you enjoy true crime, don't miss this one. PS It bothers me greatly that the author does not use the apostrophe in writing Shan'ann's name throughout the book. It is not Shanann according to everything else I've seen and read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    It is kind of weird to want to give a book about a murder story five stars. Yet, I felt like the author really did a good job of recapping this horrible and sad story of how Shanann, Bella and Celeste lost their lives. I still remember hearing and reading about this case as I live in Colorado. It was interesting to see how Chris went from being submissive husband and father to a cold, blooded killer. Yet, in a way; I think that years of Chris taking more of a silent role caused him to exploded. It is kind of weird to want to give a book about a murder story five stars. Yet, I felt like the author really did a good job of recapping this horrible and sad story of how Shanann, Bella and Celeste lost their lives. I still remember hearing and reading about this case as I live in Colorado. It was interesting to see how Chris went from being submissive husband and father to a cold, blooded killer. Yet, in a way; I think that years of Chris taking more of a silent role caused him to exploded. Only when his fuse went off, he killed his family. The worse part was how distant he was during the whole event from killing Shanann...loading her body into the back of the truck and his daughters riding in the back seat with their dead mother on the floor. To killing each of his daughters and dumping their bodies into toxic oil drums. What blows my mind besides the murders was that his parents can go on believing that their son is innocent; despite the various different stories he has told them about the murders. The other aspect that I and others I am sure don't really think about is how a murder affects the detectives and police involved in the case. There were many that suffered PTSD and had to quit afterwards.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

    I read this book in a day because once I began reading I didn't want to stop. Chris and Shanann both seemed utterly normal, although he was quiet and she was the opposite. The author meticulously documents their life before meeting and during their marriage and also the crime itself and the trial afterwards. The crime is of course horrific but the story of how this couple got to that point is fascinating in itself and well laid out. What also intrigued me about this book was how much of Chris an I read this book in a day because once I began reading I didn't want to stop. Chris and Shanann both seemed utterly normal, although he was quiet and she was the opposite. The author meticulously documents their life before meeting and during their marriage and also the crime itself and the trial afterwards. The crime is of course horrific but the story of how this couple got to that point is fascinating in itself and well laid out. What also intrigued me about this book was how much of Chris and Shanann's lives and the murder itself played out on social media and how the case against Chris was largely built by reclaiming data from email, internet and webcam. Thank you #netgalley and #stmartins for the e-review copy of this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Caidyn (he/him/his)

    I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review! CW: cheating/an affair, graphic description of the murders in a couple of chapters 4.5/5 Damn. I haven't read a true crime novel this fast. 75% one day and the other 25% in another day. I wasn't expecting to be so taken in by this book. When the news broke about Watt's family being missing and then his confession, I didn't pay too much attention. I was saddened by it, of course, but it's not my huge true crime interest. Serial ki I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review! CW: cheating/an affair, graphic description of the murders in a couple of chapters 4.5/5 Damn. I haven't read a true crime novel this fast. 75% one day and the other 25% in another day. I wasn't expecting to be so taken in by this book. When the news broke about Watt's family being missing and then his confession, I didn't pay too much attention. I was saddened by it, of course, but it's not my huge true crime interest. Serial killers tend to interest me more. But I requested this book because I wanted to read an actual book on the topic rather than a bunch of inflammatory news articles. If you want a true crime novel that really examines the case, this is one to go to. The murders are just a small portion of it. It's mostly about leading up to the murders and watching as the relationship changed over time. The chapter on the murders was absolutely horrifying. It's based off of his confession, but it was really chilling to read his words and see it in my mind. Like, one of those crimes that is absolutely crazy. All in all, definitely a book I'd recommend for true crime fans!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anna (The Bursting Bookshelf)

    Thank you to St Martin's Press for the review copy Back in 2018, the story of the Watts family murders was making national news – a father had murdered his wife and children, and then went on the news to plea for their safety. The nation had a gruesome fascination with the brutal murders of Shan’ann and her children – for a few weeks it was impossible to see a tabloid without an article about the tragedy. Needless to say, everyone wanted to get to the bottom of why Chris Watts did it, and what Thank you to St Martin's Press for the review copy Back in 2018, the story of the Watts family murders was making national news – a father had murdered his wife and children, and then went on the news to plea for their safety. The nation had a gruesome fascination with the brutal murders of Shan’ann and her children – for a few weeks it was impossible to see a tabloid without an article about the tragedy. Needless to say, everyone wanted to get to the bottom of why Chris Watts did it, and what exactly happened that night. In The Perfect Father, John Glatt expertly chronicles Chris and Shan’ann’s family dynamic, who Chris was, and what exactly happened to the Watts family. Obviously, the murders of the Watts family were horrific – seemingly out of the blue, Chris Watts murdered his wife and children. Even more twisted, the next day, Chris went on the news and begged for his family’s safe return. The author does an excellent job documenting the unravelling of Chris’ lies and how detectives involved in the case slowly discovered the truth and eventually convicted him. The really fascinating part of this case was that because Shan’ann was involved in a multi-level marketing scheme, her online presence was immense. She spent hours a day going live on Facebook and posting on Instagram. This abundance of content really gave a lot of insight into Shan’ann’s psychology and life that you don’t often see in these kinds of cases. The author expertly curated her online presence to provide a clear profile of who Shan’ann was, and how her online presence impacted her family. The attention to detail that John Glatt paid to this story was incredible – he began the book by exploring how Chris and Shan’ann met, the early years of their marriage, and Shan’ann’s obsession with social media. The story was succinctly told – Glatt didn’t linger longer than necessary on the couple’s history, he provided enough backstory to give context to the murders and then dug into the case. This was definitely the best account of the Watts murders that I’ve come across – Glatt presents the facts without his own speculation or bias – he even highlighted the fact that Chris Watts is a notorious liar and that the events of the murder are partially based on his biased and objective testimony. This is an incredibly well documented and well curated description of the horrific murders of the Watts family. It’s clear in every paragraph how thoroughly John Glatt researched the story and the attention to detail he had. Be sure to have a box of tissues on hand, this is an incredibly emotional read with truly heartbreaking and grisly moments. If you’re a fan of the podcast My Favorite Murder or Sadie by Courtney Summers, you’ll definitely be fascinated by this gruesome story. 5/5

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I had a lot of issues with how they portrayed Shannan. Being clean and organized, even having OCD is not a reason for you to be murdered. Chris was a grown adult who could have left whenever he wanted, he chose to be with her and start a family. I don’t feel like enough was put on him refusing accountability and more was about his family blaming the woman he murdered. He gets to “find god” in jail and live his life, after murdering his wife and killing his daughters TWICE. He truly is a monster. I had a lot of issues with how they portrayed Shannan. Being clean and organized, even having OCD is not a reason for you to be murdered. Chris was a grown adult who could have left whenever he wanted, he chose to be with her and start a family. I don’t feel like enough was put on him refusing accountability and more was about his family blaming the woman he murdered. He gets to “find god” in jail and live his life, after murdering his wife and killing his daughters TWICE. He truly is a monster. This book gets very detailed, it’s hard to read at points, but it’s true crime.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is my first John Glatt and I have a feeling it won't be my last. Glatt writes without an agenda and gives a blow by blow, almost minute by minute retelling of the case. The amount of research and detail included in this book was almost overwhelming. Glatt put his own voice aside to allow the voices of the family, the victims, and the assailant ring true. This case is particularly harrowing and close to ho I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is my first John Glatt and I have a feeling it won't be my last. Glatt writes without an agenda and gives a blow by blow, almost minute by minute retelling of the case. The amount of research and detail included in this book was almost overwhelming. Glatt put his own voice aside to allow the voices of the family, the victims, and the assailant ring true. This case is particularly harrowing and close to home.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kady Burns

    Ever since I first of this case, I have been drawn to the story. This book covers the whole story in depth and read like a thriller (even though I knew the ending). I finished it up in less than a day, couldn't put it down. Would recommend for fans of true crime.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bookworm

    This was a chilling account of the Chris Watts murders. Although much of the story has been publicized over the past couple of years, this factual rendition was a gripping, detailed read that horrified me. Watts is infamous for murdering his pregnant wife Shanann and their two small children Bella and Celeste in cold blood. What makes this story so horrific was his ability to lie to authorities and the public, and accept sympathy and concern from others, including close family and friends, witho This was a chilling account of the Chris Watts murders. Although much of the story has been publicized over the past couple of years, this factual rendition was a gripping, detailed read that horrified me. Watts is infamous for murdering his pregnant wife Shanann and their two small children Bella and Celeste in cold blood. What makes this story so horrific was his ability to lie to authorities and the public, and accept sympathy and concern from others, including close family and friends, without remorse or so much as a tear. Very cold indeed. This book detailed both Chris and Shanann’s lives before they met, during their relationship, the lead up to the murders and aftermath. It also revealed motives shared by Watts and deduced by law enforcement. However, given Watts’ propensity to lie, I’m not convinced the truth will ever be known. This was also a heartbreaking yet fascinating look at how a seemingly perfect family can end in the worst kind of tragedy. The chronological details and insightful themes made this true crime a very difficult book to put down. I would definitely recommend to others who enjoy reading true crime. A huge thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cassie Martin

    Gave me nightmares :-)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mae Tyler

    average 🤷🏻‍♀️ 3/5

  24. 4 out of 5

    LeeAnne

    This was a local murder(s) for me. It was all over the local news but in three and four minute segments. Very interesting look at the couple and the dynamics that may have led to this horrific event. Fast read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    I've read and seen a lot about this case over the past six months or so. This book lays out the story well but there isn't a whole lot of new information in it. Chris Watts has told so many various versions of what happened that we'll never really know what the real truth of what happened the morning of August 13th, 2018. For those who don't know the story this will be a nice review of the case for them.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Reads It All

    If you follow true crime, then you’re definitely familiar with the story of Shanann Watts and her daughters, Bella and Celeste. In August 2018, Shanann’s husband Chris murdered her, their daughters, and their unborn son, Nico. After initially feigning innocence, Chris later confessed to the murders. The crime came as a shock to the country and perhaps the world–this picture-perfect, Instagram-ready family seemed to have it all. In The Perfect Father by John Glatt, we’re given a history of the Wat If you follow true crime, then you’re definitely familiar with the story of Shanann Watts and her daughters, Bella and Celeste. In August 2018, Shanann’s husband Chris murdered her, their daughters, and their unborn son, Nico. After initially feigning innocence, Chris later confessed to the murders. The crime came as a shock to the country and perhaps the world–this picture-perfect, Instagram-ready family seemed to have it all. In The Perfect Father by John Glatt, we’re given a history of the Watts family. From Shanann and Chris’ early relationship, to marriage, to the addition of their two daughters, to the sad revelation that Shanann was pregnant with their first son at the time that Chris murdered her. Chris’ many demons are on display, such as his suppressed anger and rage toward his wife, as well as his infidelity in the weeks leading up to the murders. I have mixed feelings about this book because there are moments when I felt that the narrative was focusing too much on Shanann’s personality flaws. Was she Type A? Yes, and that showed in the way she related to her husband as well as his parents. Was she controlling? Yes, but the fact of the matter is that she and Chris probably should have ended the marriage in divorce–not murder. In fact, there’s evidence that Shanann was willing to go to couples counseling in order to save the marriage. I didn’t like the constant reminder that Shanann was obsessive and suspicious of her husband. Even if that’s true–which all evidence points to–it still shouldn’t matter in the end. She and her daughters deserved to live. I recommend this book for people who don’t follow true crime and have little or no information about the case. If you’re into true crime, there’s nothing new here. Much of the information is taken directly from interviews or transcripts that have already aired in the form of news pieces, true crime shows, or podcasts. I flew through this book but in the end I felt disappointed. I didn’t agree with the way that Shanann was portrayed and I could not care less about how Chris claims to have found religion in prison. There was just too much focus on the murderer here. This is a tragic story all around and I don’t think this book did the victims justice. Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for my free advance copy of this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Johnna Whetstone

    I think John Glatt is one of those who truly knows how to write a true crime book, in a way that is factual but also in a way that lets the reader be able to be intrigued. While this case is a very sad case, it’s one that raises so many questions, because the signs and even criminology profiling just doesn’t show Chris Watts as your typical family annihilator, because of this I wasn’t new to the case; but did find value in reading Glatt’s book. I think he did a good job of bringing up important I think John Glatt is one of those who truly knows how to write a true crime book, in a way that is factual but also in a way that lets the reader be able to be intrigued. While this case is a very sad case, it’s one that raises so many questions, because the signs and even criminology profiling just doesn’t show Chris Watts as your typical family annihilator, because of this I wasn’t new to the case; but did find value in reading Glatt’s book. I think he did a good job of bringing up important information to try and portray a clear picture of one the most heinous tragedies we’ve faced. Well researched, written, and while sad very engrossing read. Highly recommend to those who enjoy a well written, disturbing true crime book, which will break your heart especially when you think of Bella and CeCe (as for me children are always the hardest to hear about being murdered). I think Glatt knows that fine line of providing enjoyment but remaining respectful and people who are okay with victims being children, will enjoy learning more about this terrible crime. It does try to show what helped Chris Watts snap and do something beyond norm, it will always be one of the most fascinating and terrible crimes. It was written in a manner that didn’t bore with too many of the legalize segments, but instead painted a photo of a family and possible motivations for these heinous crime. Enjoyed learning more about the victims and perpetrator. This is not for those people who cannot handle hearing about children being murdered, as there were two toddlers and unborn baby that lost their lives with their mother Shannan. Think only those who can handle the reading about the children and wife suffering should read this. Will make sure to buzz up on all the different platforms.

  28. 5 out of 5

    CrabbyPatty

    I was familiar with the Chris and Shanann Watts' murder case prior to reading John Glatt's book "The Perfect Father," and had read another book on the subject. I give Glatt top marks for pulling together all the information into a very readable, cohesive book that does an excellent job of presenting the case without a lot of editorializing. Some people may have the impression of Shanann as a great mother with a boatload of less-than-desirable traits and qualities, but Glatt gives us a full range I was familiar with the Chris and Shanann Watts' murder case prior to reading John Glatt's book "The Perfect Father," and had read another book on the subject. I give Glatt top marks for pulling together all the information into a very readable, cohesive book that does an excellent job of presenting the case without a lot of editorializing. Some people may have the impression of Shanann as a great mother with a boatload of less-than-desirable traits and qualities, but Glatt gives us a full range of perceptions from family, friends, coworkers and lets us draw our own conclusions. And he gives Chris the same treatment. He also offers up Nichol Kessinger's actions in a similar manner without making any judgment. Glatt also does a great job of showing the toll this murder case took on various law enforcement officers, some of whom were diagnosed with PTSD. The way they went about solving this case, and coaxing a confession of sorts out of Chris Watts was very detailed. Glatt notes that law enforcement thinks we will never truly get the truth about what happened that awful day, and that Watts can't even be honest with himself. I really appreciated this even-handed, balanced look at the Watts case. 5 stars. I received an ARC from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Vist my new blog - I Love True Crime Books!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kayo

    Excellent account of the murders of a while family by a seemingly good dad and father. Very good information. Nicely done book. Thanks to author,publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free,it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Thank you, St. Martin Press and NetGalley for this arc. I will give this book a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Synopsis: In the early morning hours of August 13th, 2018, Shanann Watts was dropped off at home by a colleague after returning from a business trip. It was the last time anyone would see her alive. By the next day, Shanann and her two young daughters, Bella and Celeste, had been reported missing, and her husband, Chris Watts, was appearing on the local news, pleading for his family’s safe return. In this firs Thank you, St. Martin Press and NetGalley for this arc. I will give this book a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Synopsis: In the early morning hours of August 13th, 2018, Shanann Watts was dropped off at home by a colleague after returning from a business trip. It was the last time anyone would see her alive. By the next day, Shanann and her two young daughters, Bella and Celeste, had been reported missing, and her husband, Chris Watts, was appearing on the local news, pleading for his family’s safe return. In this first major account of the case, bestselling author and journalist John Glatt reveals the truth behind the tragedy and constructs a chilling portrait of one of the most shocking family annihilator cases of the 21st century. I heard about this story before, the videos and articles were heartbreaking. This book allowed me to see what was not tackled and shown by media, and it broke my heart further. I got so anxious and curious as I started reading this book. I feel so sad about every detail and revelation. They seemed to be happy and perfect, but it is all a front, and it is sad. I am not trying to sympathize with Chris; what he did is awful, wrong, and incredibly evil. But this book elaborates Chris life, the before and during, and even after, and I also felt terrible for him. The author did an excellent job of describing the experiences of the Watts Family up to the littlest thing. Very informative, and the analysis is spot on. The story is frightening and painful, but a very interesting read.

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