Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Book Review: Black House by Stephen King & Peter Straub

Twenty years ago, a young boy named Jack Sawyer travelled to a parallel universe called The Territories to save his mother’s life. Now a retired homicide detective, Jack has no memory of these adventures. There is a sick serial killer on the loose, murdering and eating children, and the local chief of police begs Jack to help his force catch him.

“What you love, you must love all the harder because someday it will be gone.”

I love Stephen King. I love serial killers. Combine the two and you have a book that is right up jobis89’s street. The Talisman is an epic fantasy tale, spanning across our world and The Territories, as Jack Sawyer embarks on a mission to travel across the country to try and save his mother (and her Twinner) from death. Black House, however, is darker, much more of a horror novel, I feel, and it focuses on one small town – Coulee Country. The Talisman is a great, great book, but Black House is just more to my slightly darker, slightly more murderous, cannibalistic tastes… sorrynotsorry *evil laugh*

There’s so much to love about Black House. Other reviews I had looked at had pointed out the narrative style as something they did not like about Black House – well, I LOVED the narrative style. It’s a bit slow and hard to get into at the beginning, but once I did I really enjoyed it. The narrative style is as if you’re flying over Coulee Country and you’re allowed little snapshots into the lives of the residents through a bird’s-eye perspective.

Yet more awesome characters… we had Wolf in The Talisman, and now we have Henry Leyden in Black House – a blind guy who has a keen ear for voices and sounds. I loved Henry so much!! And the bikers were cool additions too. I generally really liked a lot of the characters in this one. The villain in particular – The Fisherman – was fucking terrifying. King’s villains can sometimes be pretty “grey”, they aren’t always definitively evil. However, in this case, he is evil incarnate, which is no surprise given his similarities to the vile Albert Fish (I could say more but don’t want to give away potential spoilers).

I had complaints while reading The Talisman that it felt like the Dark Tower without actually being the Dark Tower – almost like a cheap imitation I guess. And finally in Black House my suspicions are answered as connections to the Dark Tower are made. Meanwhile I’m fangirling and getting all emotional over mentions of Roland Deschain and the rest of our beloved ka-tet. Link a book to the Dark Tower series and I. WILL. LOVE. IT. (Well, apart from Insomnia… I did love the connections, it just didn’t save the rest of the book!)

As most Constant Readers will know, choosing your top 10 King books is pretty much possible, but I do believe this has now earned a spot in my top 10. It might not be for everyone, but it was really to my taste. It’s difficult to review books you really loved, so I guess I’ll wrap up here… 5 stars!!!


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