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Psycho by Robert Bloch (BOOK REVIEW) 3/5

Psycho is a well regarded, well written staple of the horror genre. Most everyone knows the name “Norman Bates”- even those who have not read the book, seen the movie, or seen the tv show. The name is known by pure legend, an old whisper of a twisted fictional individual. I will admit that my knowledge of the infamous twist from this novel made this read, for me, less enjoyable. I knew the “Oh my Gosh” moment before I even got to say “Oh My Gosh” and perhaps that is why this read hits only an average for me.

But while the thrill and suspense didn’t hit as hard, that doesn’t change the skill of the writing, or the enjoyment of the story. I love Mr. Bloch’s writing style, the way he switched perspectives and his unnerving descriptions. I liked his handle on dialogue, and on character voice and personality. If I had one complaint, it might be that the ending felt abrupt. I felt like this novel could have been written out to be more, that it was kept short and sweet- which is a personal preference, and in no way affects my review of it. It’s a sign of his good writing that I wanted more of Norman Bates and the Bates Motel.

My favorite part of this novel has to be the characters. Not only Norman and his mother, but I loved the dynamic between Mary and Sam- and I loved Mary’s sister Lila. I thought Mr. Bloch did an excellent portrayal of their character and motivations, and reading moments that were character-driven were the most enjoyable.

My biggest complaint is that I think this novel wasn’t too terribly scary. Maybe it’s because of my modern expectation of horror, or because I knew the twist- so I still fully encourage people to read this novel. It gives a good level of uneasiness, and it’s memorable, with a strong storyline that is enjoyable to read. For this reason, I give it a solid 3/5 stars. Not stellar, but not bad.

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