Customer Review

75 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly great horror story, March 10, 2001
This review is from: The Other (Hardcover)
Once upon a time there was a somewhat forgettable actor named Thomas Tryon who starred in a series of very forgettable movies ("The Cardinal" and a few others). Mr. Tryon wisely decided to forget about the forgettable and sat down and wrote a spooky novel called "The Other". The result is an absolutely superb, un-put-downable, unforgettable horror story.

"The Other" tells us the story of the Perry twins, Niles and Holland, 13 years old, identical twins born on either side of midnight and thus have not only different birthdays, but, in a true stroke of fictional genius, different astrological signs. They are thus as different as day from night, one friendly and sunny and outgoing, and the other deep, dark and diabolically evil. Their father is dead, their mother imprisoned inside her own creeping madness, and their grandmother, blessed or cursed with the Sight, is unable to stop the horror that is about to engulf the whole family.

The story takes place mostly during a long, lazy Connecticut summer in the 1930's, and as the temperature cools down, the plot heats up. Two-thirds of the way through the book, Tryon divulges the twins' secret that will literally rock the reader in his tracks. You would think the rest of the book would be an anti-climax after this; fasten your seatbelts, because now you're in for a real ride. And hang on tight: Tryon piles one horror on top of another until you wonder if he has anything left in his bag of tricks, and then he pulls it out: a climax that will knock you over. And as if all this wasn't enough, the last page of the book will leave the reader wondering if Tryon was pulling the wool over everyone's eyes and have you guessing for days.

Tryon may have been a mediocre actor, but he proved to be an excellent writer as well as a great storyteller. Plot, characters, and writing are just about perfect in this book. Like Stephen King in his earliest and best books, Tryon has the gift of understatement, and he knows how to let the horror build up ever so slowly and insidiously until the reader is totally wrapped up and can't escape. He also has a delightful touch with small but telling period descriptions that set the novel firmly in its time frame (do any older readers recall Mr. Coffee Nerves and Belle Sharmeers?). "The Other" has been out of print for some time now, but it's finally being re-printed and it's about time. I've treasured mine since the year it was published. It is, quite simply, one of the best suspense/horror stories ever written.

Judy Lind
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 21, 2013 7:56:21 AM PDT
Great review for one of the most enthralling books I've ever read. I read it in the 1970's when I was twenty-something and could not sleep unless my closet door was completely shut!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2013 2:32:40 PM PDT
JLind555 says:
Thanks for the kind words.

Posted on Jul 20, 2013 6:23:41 PM PDT
Tryon did "star" in one eerie little sf/horror gem--"I Married a Monster from Outer Space." Yes, yes, I know the title makes it sound like the movie is a joke, maybe a comedy pastiche of the sf & horror genres. It's anything but. It's actually a thoughtful, atmospheric tale with some gripping psychological suspense--and Tryon as the titular character. But it seems fortuitous that Tryon abandoned acting (after Preminger browbeat him into a nervous breakdown while filming The Cardinal) for writing, as The Other and Harvest Home are psychological horror novels of extraordinary literary merit.
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