Monday 29 October 2012

Book Review- Psycho by Robert Bloch

Title: Psycho
 Author: Robert Bloch
Series:  Psycho #1
Published:  1959
Length: 208 pages
Source: Won from Midnyte Reader
Other info: Alfred Hitchcock made this a film.  Sequels are Psycho II and Psycho House. Bloch wrote other things.
Summary : Norman Bates loves his Mother. She has been dead for the past twenty years, or so people think. Norman knows better though. He has lived with Mother ever since leaving the hospital in the old house up on the hill above the Bates motel. One night Norman spies on a beautiful woman that checks into the hotel as she undresses. Norman can't help but spy on her. Mother is there though. She is there to protect Norman from his filthy thoughts. She is there to protect him with her butcher knife.
Review: First thoughts- This is really short for something that got turned into probably the biggest slasher film ever.  I've not seen the film, so I can't comment on similarities/improvements. But the book has its own merits.
Mary Crane is getting away from it all. Leaving her work and her old life, she's trying to get to her fiancé Sam with some stolen cash and traded cars. But it's raining horribly, so she stops at a motel off the motorway. Run by Norman Bates.
What happens next. I'm sure everyone knows the shower scene (my dad introduced me to the fact that a girl got stabbed in the shower while we were making cake. My age-seven.) After not hearing from Mary, her sister and her fiance, Lila
Like the name suggests, it's psychological based horror with tension and suspense. It's a lot less bloody than i expected it to be, but that doesn't make it any less gripping.
Mary, while being dead for the majority of the novel, is a really interesting character. She's quick thinking, covering her tracks and making up loads of different stories to keep herself hidden. there's lots of revelations about her, what she did, why she did it and so on. By default, Sam's quite interesting too-it's him (well, his inherited debts) that indirectly sets off this chain of events.
Norman is the most intriguing character, possibly with the exception of his mother. He is heavily dependant on his mother, who has drummed into him lots of things that suppress his development and makes him how he is. He may hate her for this, but being old and with no one else, he must look after her. His mother views the world in a different way. She sees the world as being full of sinful women, and has made her son think the same. Both together make for a study in psychology and what drives people. 

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a must read for horror fans.
 Links: Amazon | Goodreads

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