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Robert Bloch's Psycho: Sanitarium Hardcover – April 12, 2016
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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“Horror author Williamson ably succeeds in the tough task of creating a sequel to Robert Bloch’s masterpiece, Psycho; a prequel to the less effective Psycho II; and a solid story in its own right…Williamson takes advantage of the 1960s setting to throw in plot lines generally underused in horror (including a subplot around a Holocaust survivor), and there are enough twists to keep things moving at a breakneck pace. The novel shines when he focuses on Norman and both his internal struggles with his “Mother” personality and his awkwardness around his newfound sibling. Whenever Norman gets the spotlight, the novel feels like a lost Bloch work.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Taking his lead from Bloch’s original Psycho, Williamson devises an amazing horror story that goes a few steps beyond the first. Unique in its conception, Sanitarium details gruesome life within the walls and deals with the varied personalities therein. Several unforeseen twists lead to the surprise ending.” ―RT Book Reviews
“This brilliant projection of a horror classic is also a surgical deconstruction, a look not only inside the mind of a maniac, but into the milieu of “treatment” of the criminally insane. There’s a million reasons to read this one, but the most compelling is the lesson it teaches: Real horror is real. And never that far from home.” ―Andrew Vachss, bestselling author of Mask Market
“Robert Bloch would be delighted with Psycho: Sanitarium. Chet Williamson has captured the Bloch ambiance in a twisty-turny terror tale that will keep you turning pages into the wee hours.” ―F. Paul Wilson, creator of Repairman Jack and author of the forthcoming Panacea
“A fresh, creepy and surprising addition to the Psycho canon, as cunningly contrived as Bloch’s originals.” ―Kim Newman, Stoker award-winning author author of Anno Dracula
"A creeping thriller of the sort you see so little of these days. A marvelous continuation of Bloch's character and attitudes that somehow manages to stand tall on its own two feet due to Williamson's total grasp of the original material." ―Joe R. Lansdale, award-winning author of The Thicket
“Chet Williamson has brought Psycho back to frightening life, with disturbing psycho-logical intensity and knife-blade glittering.” ―John Shirley, author of In Extremis
“Fans of Robert Bloch rejoice! Chet Williamson's Psycho: Sanitarium brings a 21st Century sensibility and edge while remaining true to the classic pulp spirit; a fun, smart, nasty, throwback. You'll want to read in a single sitting with the lights on. But as always, beware of Mother.” ―Paul Tremblay author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil’s Rock
“Psycho: Sanitarium invites you to get inside the head of Norman Bates once again ...but you won't be alone. Chet Williamson has written a brilliantly compelling novel filled with mystery, humanity and dread.” ―Tim Lebbon, author of The Silence
About the Author
CHET WILLIAMSON's parents took him to see the film of Robert Bloch's Psycho when he was twelve, and he has been a reader and disciple of Bloch ever since. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Playboy, and many other magazines and anthologies. A collection of his stories received the International Horror Guild Award. He has twice been a final nominee for the World Fantasy Award, the MWA's Edgar Award, and six times for the HWA's Stoker Award. He has narrated over thirty audiobooks. Among his other novels are Defenders of the Faith, Ash Wednesday, Second Chance, Dreamthorp, Lowland Rider, Reign, and Soulstorm, as well as The Searchers trilogy, and two collections of stories, The Night Listener and Others and Figures in Rain.
Top customer reviews
Author Williamson does an admirable job of making demented Norman Bates a sympathetic protagonist. As one-by-one all the antagonists who torture Norman disappear, readers want to cheer and shout “good riddance.”
Instead of the Bates Motel, this sequel is set in the former Ollinger Sanitarium, now a state correctional facility for the criminally insane. Rampant rumors abound that the sanitarium is haunted. Dr. Adolph Ollinger, the original owner of the sanitarium, allegedly tortured and killed patients in a secret room in the sanitarium’s basement. Does the ghost of Dr. Ollinger, or one of his patients, haunt the psycho sanitarium?
Doctor Felix Reed is Norman’s psychiatrist, and Norman feels lucky to have such a protective and understanding therapist. Doctor Reed allows Norman and new-found brother Robert to meet secretly inside Norman’s padded cell. Reed escorts Robert into and out of the facility without the knowledge of Dr. Goldberg, the sanitarium’s draconian director, or the knowledge of other staff, including Nurse Marie Radcliffe.
Doctors have long suspected that schizophrenia, along with all its attendant co-morbid conditions, might be inherited from maternal bloodlines. If Norman Bates inherited his insanity from his mother, doesn’t it stand to reason that Norman’s brother Robert may also be insane? When inmates and staff who treat Norman badly begin to disappear, Norman suspects Robert may somehow be involved.
Norman’s mother knows the truth, but Dr. Reed has helped Norman banish Mother from Norman’s consciousness. After all, it was Mother who murdered all those people at the motel. Wasn’t it?
It seems everyone who lives or works at the sanitarium has skeletons hiding in their closets, and Norman may be the most normal person in the entire place. Not only does Williamson remake Norman into a sympathetic character, Norman seems at times almost heroic.
Psycho: Sanitarium is a worthy successor to Robert Bloch’s original storyline. Highly recommended.
If you've never read Robert Bloch's 1959 novel Psycho, not to worry, Chet Williamson provides an excellent synopsis to get the reader up to speed on the events which precede Psycho: Sanitarium. Personally, I went back and read the original work so it was fresh in my mind as I read this new volume. I'm glad I did as this gave me a feel for the writing in both books. If I didn't know better, I could easily see how the two could have been written by the same author.
Psycho Sanitarium takes place at a time when Fuller Brush men still fooled around with other men's wives. It tells the chilling tale of Norman Bates' struggle to keep his mother from taking over his mind and just when it looks like she's gone, a shocker, a game changer. From here, the tale goes in delightfully new directions. To say anything more would reveal too much and I certainly don't want to spoil any of the multiple surprises.
Psycho: Sanitarium succeeds on many levels. The depiction of life in the asylum rings true with patients running the gamut from calm to violent and a professional staff of both caring individuals and a few that should be committed themselves. The tone and pacing of the story matches up well with Robert Bloch's original work. All of the characters are well developed, and the story features a number of delicious twists, all within the realm of possibility.
Published by St. Martin's press, Robert Bloch's Psycho: Sanitarium is available in hardcover, e-book, and audible formats.
I give this new book my highest recommendation.
Chet Williamson has been writing horror, science fiction, and suspense since 1981. His novels include Second Chance, Hunters, Defenders of the Faith, Ash Wednesday, Reign, Dreamthorp, and now Robert Bloch's Psycho Sanitarium. He is the recipient of the International Horror Guild Award and has been nominated six times for the HWA's Stoker Award. Chet is also a stage and film actor who has recorded over 40 unabridged audiobooks.
Forget what you know about the Hitchcock movie. PSYCHO: SANITARIUM is a direct sequel to Robert Bloch's book...and it's fantastic!
Norman Bates is committed into a sanitarium. Soon after he becomes a resident of the asylum, several people mysteriously 'disappear'. Is Norman responsible?
I consider myself a veteran when it comes to reading Mysteries and I thought I knew where this story was going, but I was truly surprised when I read the last page.
Chet Williamson continues to amaze me with his storytelling.