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Psycho: A Novel Paperback – May 25, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 263 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Psycho Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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, he wrote over 220 stories collected in over two dozen collections, two dozen novels, screenplays for a dozen movies, and three "Star Trek" episodes. His many awards include the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards (including Lifetime Achievement), and five Bram Stoker Awards. His autobiography, Once around the Bloch, was his last major work.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: The Overlook Press; 1 edition (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590203356
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590203354
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 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 (263 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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This book is timeless and is better than the movie at giving a more in depth look at the characters although Alfred Hitchcock did a fantastic job in putting the novel into a film. This was an exciting and entertaining read. It was short so it is easy to read in one day for those who do not have a lot of time.
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I have always admired Hitchcock's work, especially his classic, Psycho, but somehow I had never read the book. Now I have and I understand why 'the Master of Suspense' was so taken with this novel. It's tightly crafted and flows seamlessly...from one strange thought in Norman's head to the final psychotic one in Mother's. The reader gets to know Norman's internal world by seeing the external world through his eyes. And then, of course, there's Mother...
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It was a great book and a short read. Recently a friend got me into watching "Bates Motel" on A&E, and I was mesmerized by the life of Norman Bates. I came to learn that this show was the prequel of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" and realized that I was very interested in understanding how "Norman Bates" was gonna turn out. So, I read the movies, and picked up this book, which I was able to read in a day. What was awesom eabout this book, is that it gave considerable detail about Mr. Bates psyche and also the thoughts of the other characters - his mother, the victims, etc. It made the movie more understandable. Watching the movie alone didn't provide enough context. In short, this is a classic and must read if you are into understanding the mind of a psychopath -- this one is classic.
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