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Punish the Sinners: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1978
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- ASIN : 0440170842
- Publisher : Dell Book; 1st edition (June 1, 1978)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780440170846
- ISBN-13 : 978-0440170846
- Item Weight : 7.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.3 x 1 x 6.8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,052,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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My mom ate this stuff up with two spoonfuls, and our house was littered with piles of paperbacks with titles like THE UNWANTED and THE DAMNED and THE UNFORGIVEN and the like. So John Saul books were easy to come across when I was a preteen cultural sponge. Rereading Saul now, more than forty years later, I'm struck by how perfectly he was suited to take advantage of this moment because stories like PUNISH THE SINNERS were so deadly earnest in their belief in ridiculous darkness.
The idea that one deranged man could master "relaxation therapy" hypnosis to the extent of being put in absolute authority over a Catholic church and bend it to his Inquisition-minded will is silly enough, but to set it in an isolated community in Eastern Washington (where apparently no Latinos exist)? That the madmen's target is teenage girls who are so silly and addled with the apparently untenable burden of being teenage girls in the 1970s that they buy into it? Laughable ... only it isn't, because Saul believes it, and he makes the reader want to believe it, and that dark sincerity gives this popcorn thriller its extra irresistible drizzle of salted butter.
Even at age fifty-six, I was mesmerized to the final page. So it cannot be said that PUNISH THE SINNERS, silly as it is, does not succeed at what it sets out to do, though I do have to say that with my more critically developed faculties between the me of 1979 and the me of today, a lot of character arcs are left unsatisfyingly unresolved. But all its pleasures are frontloaded, and so I kind of hope that should the urge to read this novel again in another forty-two years comes along, I won't be around to indulge it.
This is probably one of the most unique books I have ever read. I can't think of a single book I can compare it to. It's uniqueness is one of the reasons why I gave it 4 stars.
The other reasons is the ending. I really did not expect the ending at all. It took me by surprise and that's a good thing.
I don't have a lot of complaints about this novel. I thought some of the characterization and the dialog was a little bit flat. There's also a character or two that I think kind of felt like they just dropped out of the novel.
All in all I thought this was a fun read.
When he had been a child, such impudence had not been tolerated. The nuns had demanded respect all the time, and the boys in the convent had given it , unquestioningly".
Punish the Sinners by John Saul
One of John’s Saul's best. It had a lot more depth then some of his other books and I don’t mean that in a bad way because I think John Saul is a great writer. But he’s a horror writer. One does not always get the depth one wants in horror.
I really liked Punish the sinner.s I found the topic fascinating and I got attached to Peter Balsam who made a great main character. Now however is the time I must put in a spoiler alert because I plan on speaking about the ending.
SPOILERS TO FOLLOW:
Like other John Saul books things do not end well here and that’s an understatement.
I am putting that as a spoiler but likely everybody who reads John Saul already knows this. The man just does not seem to be capable of happily ever after endings. I am really wanting to read a John Saul book where the good guys and girls all survive in the end. I want happy happy joy joy joy! However I don’t think I’m going to get that and one sure will not with this book.
I was emotionally invested in this book. I really was not down with the fact that just about every good human being dies at the end and it really kind of brought me down. But then again it is John Saul! I should have known what I was getting into.
I wish he could rewrite it with a different ending. Punish the Sinners is still a great book though. 4.5 stars and it is one of his best.