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Psycho: A Novel Paperback – May 25, 2010

222 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Psycho Series

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Editorial Reviews


"Psycho all came from Robert Bloch's book." -Alfred Hitchcock

"Icily terrifying!" -The New York Times

"Robert Bloch is one of the all-time masters." -Peter Straub

About the Author

Robert Bloch (1917-1994) was a horror, suspense, and science fiction writer and screenwriter, best known for the novel Psycho. Altogether, Bloch wrote over 220 stories collected in over 2 dozen collections, 2 dozen novels, screenplays for a dozen movies and three Star Trek episodes. His many awards included one Nebula Award, two Hugos, three World Fantasy Awards (including Lifetime Achievement), and five Bram Stoker Awards. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: The Overlook Press; 1 edition (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590203356
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590203354
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (222 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Costantino on June 15, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Psycho is a great read, made even greater by the fact that the book is 40 years old! Extremely groundbreaking in the use of a pathology for the killer, it seems that Norman Bates is as much a household name in American culture as Ronald McDonald. The Alfred Hitchcock film version seems to have used the book for the script, with only minor deviations. A short read, it's impossible not to finish this in one sitting. While reading I took down four pages of quotations from this book, it's that good and inspiring. I do think this book could have been longer and bloodier provided it had been written 10-15 years later. The ending was great and overall the book was awesome. Reading it was like watching the Hitchcock version of the movie, and vice versa. A must read Horror novel. On a scale from 1-10 I'd rate this novel a 10, for its historical significance, the intensity of the story, the quote factor, and characterization.
Come on, everyone knows Norman Bates!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Awilson on October 7, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Psycho far exceeded my expectations. For some reason, I hardly ever hear the book mentioned. Everyone talks about the film version so I didn't think the book was that popular. Still, Bloch's name pops up now and then in horror discussions so I thought I'd give it a try and discovered one of those rare horror gems. This is what I call horror. It builds suspense and tries to scare us psychologically (obviously) rather than throwing blood and sex around like it's candy. It reminded me that books out there can still give me chills when reading them. Authors like Richard Laymon made me forget that. I love Laymon's work, but none of it is even remotely scary with the small exception of one scene in Night In the Lonesome October. Psycho is an all-around creepy little book and fans of horror must read it. I have absolutely nothing negative to say about this one and that is amazing to me.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By R. McOuat on June 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
Written in 1959, psycho holds up so well. Several reviewers have deliberated over the merit of the book versus the movie or vice versa. I do not think seeing the movie and reading the book are mutually exclusive. The movie is inarguably an all-time classic. In the movie version, Hitchcock builds suspense by using voyeuristic camera angles, frantic repetition and dramatic silences. However, the book is predominately comprised of internal dialogue. The narrative perspective shifts frequently and seamlessly from one characters internal psychology to the next. Each character is revealed to have a cross to bear. Bloch writes, "I think perhaps all of us go a little crazy at times" and each character reveals their own vulnerabilities. In fact, as I read it, I thought to myself, if I had been Alfred Hitchcock, why would I choose to make a movie out of this book? It's all internal dialogue! Reading the book enhanced my appreciation for Robert Bloch as a writer and for Alfred Hitchcock as a movie maker.

The book helped clarify the complex psychological issues within Norman and Mary. Their respective ambivalences are made crystal clear. The reader hears their internal voices talk them into a diabolical decision, and then the reader is privy to the conscious rationalizing the subsequent cover up. Mary had lived a typical life but talks herself into a scheme that, in the heat of the moment, seems to be the solution to all of her problems. The reader is permitted to witness her hatch her plan, develop dissonance in her conscious, then lose confidence in the plan. Obviously, Norman's life was never normal, but he was able to conduct himself in socially acceptable manner as a pariah at the superfluous motel. For decades, he functions without incidence on the margins of society.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sara Howard on September 2, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Some people say the movie was better, some people say the book was better. I'd say in terms of quality, they're about equal. The book is a bit different (for example Norman being a fat sweaty nervous guy and not a tall, thin, nervous guy). There is a little less about Mary in the novel, but I think there is more about Sam and Mary's sister. Unfortunately, as I was born long after Psycho become engrained in our culture, the end didn't surprise me, or really even disturb me, though I liked the way it was presented in the book more than the movie. It's a good, quick read if that's what your looking for, but I admit that watching the movie gives you the same disturbed feeling.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tahoe Miele on January 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
Norman Bates. What does this name evoke for you? Perhaps a shower scene, blood, or a motel? Maybe Mother?

Norman lives in the house on the hill above his motel off the old highway. Travelers take the new highway that is a far distance away from the motel, so Norman rarely gets a guest to stop by and stay.

Except for Mary. Mary's escaping from her job, the boredom of her life, and with forty thousand in cash that she stole from her sexist boss. She's taking this money to see Sam, her fiance, and she's trading in one used car after another to throw the police and others off her tracks. It's not like her to do something like this -- after all, she's given up her own future to make sure that her sister, Lila, gets to go to college, and succeeds with more opportunities than Mary ever had.

Less than twenty miles from her fiance's town, Mary decides she'll stop to rest at a small motel. She'll get much needed sleep and freshen up. Tomorrow, she'll surprise her fiance with a made-up inheritance story and help to get him out of debt so they can marry. Unfortunately, she's picked Norman's motel to stay the night.

You may know the rest. There is the famous shower scene and screams of the beautiful young woman as she is literally hacked to pieces. The story then continues with Lila visiting Sam to see if he's heard from Mary as it's been over a week since her disappearance, and together they try to track her down.

It's a short story at around 175 pages, and in this short telling, it is without a doubt, utterly terrifying. Particularly when the story is told from Norman's perspective. He's quite an innocent, and his blackouts are written so genuinely that you truly do believe that Mother is really the problem.
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