Psycho

Psycho

Psycho (Psycho #1) by Robert Bloch

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I am a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock and one of my favorite films is Psycho (1960).

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I could go on and on about it, but my sister blog, janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com, already reviewed it.

 So as I had become obsessed with Psycho, when I spotted the book Psycho II at a book sale I bought it.

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I had never read Psycho, but if the movie was that fantastic, then I thought the book must be and the sequel.

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I did not like the sequel. To me it was not a good book at all. And ten years later I decided it was time to try and actually read the first novel that the film is based on. Now this won’t be a comparison, as that is a job for my sister blog fromprinttoscreen.wordpress.com

So here we are with Psycho.

The book was written in 1959 and is based on the Ed Gein serial killer (although Bloch claims to have written it without knowing anything about the case). The point of the novel was that an insane serial killer could live next door, and be overlooked even in a small-town.

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Plot Synopsis:

So the book starts off with Norman Bates, a 40-year old man who lives with his mother.

Yeah something’s not right with this situation.

Their property is massive and includes a huge farmhouse for the two of them, and then a motel lower down the hill.

Norman has an unhappy life with his mother, being the one to take care of her, while she is sick, abusive, and not fun to be around. The only bright spot for Norman is his books, through them he is able to escape his everyday existence.

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So Norman is having a regular day, when he hears a sound that means someone is there to check in.

We then switch to Mary Crane (Marion in the film). Mary Crane has not lived the life she wished for. She was planning to go to college but canceled that when her father died in a car accident and she decided to help at home. Her boyfriend left her when he was sent by the army to Hawaii, where he met another girl. Then her mom became sick and Mary paid for Lila’s, her sister, education. She works at Lowery’s real estate office as a secretary but that is not what she wants. She wants to be married with children.

After her mother’s death and the sale of the house, they had some extra money and Lilia convinced Mary to go on a cruise. There she met Sam Loomis, a divorced hardware store owner who inherited his father’s business and his debt. The two fell in love, but Sam doesn’t want to be married now. He wants to wait a few years until the fiances are better. Mary doesn’t like it, but decides to wait.

How she feels inside.

When a buyer walked in and bought his daughter her dream house for $40,000 in cash; Mary just snapped and stole it instead of depositing it like she was supposed to.

She travels to Sam, but decides to stop for the night instead of coming right over. Her stop? The Bates Motel.

Norman seems sweet and tells Mary that he will make them a snack. They do and talk about their issues.

Now here is what I thought was slightly weird. Norman in the film was adorable, kind-hearted looking, and like a cute little boy. I could see talking to him as he seemed safe, and in need of a friend. In this he is a bit creepy. 40-year old man with his mom, I don’t think so.

Mary decides that her plan is a horrible one and is planning to return to Fort Worth, TX. Before she leaves, she decides to take a shower, to wash off her sins.

While in the shower she is attacked and killed.

Norman has been drinking, and is depressed at their conversation as he knows that Mary is right. His life is hard and unpleasant and he should do something about it. He also has a thing for Marion and wants to be with her.

I hate my life!

Norman discovers Mary’s dead body and figures that his mother is the one behind the attack. He then cleans up the mess, tossing everything in Mary’s car; and all that into the swamp.

Sam is writing a letter to Mary, when Lila shows up on his doorstep! She comes to him looking for Mary, relating what happened and how Mary is missing. She is followed by Lowery’s private investigator Arbogast.

Hearing this news about Mary, Sam starts having second thoughts about the marriage wondering how he fell for such a woman. And does he know her as well as he thought he did?

Arbogast traces the steps of where Mary could have gone and discovers the forgotten drive that leads to the Bates Motel.

He questions Norman and asks to talk to his mother. He lets Sam and Lila know, asking them to wait for his next call. Norman reluctantly agrees to Arbogast meeting the mother,but when Norman’s mother meets Arbogast she slices his throat. Another body for the swamp.

Norman knows more will be coming, and against his nother’s wishes, he hides her in the fruit cellar.

Sam and Lila have been waiting for Arbogast but no call comes. Lila becomes worried and impatient and the two go to the Sheriff to ask for his help. There they find out that Norman’s mother is dead and buried.

If she is dead then who is in the house?

What?

The Sheriff complies with their request and heads out to question Norman. When he returns he lets the two know that Arbogast isn’t there, the mother isn’t there, and Mary isn’t there. he believes that Arbogast took off for Chicago and just forgot to call.

Lilia doesn’t believe in that and tells Sam she is heading out to the motel.

Lila and Sam pretend to be a couple traveling, but Norman knows something is up; especially with Lila looking so much like Mary.

The Sam and Lila split up and start investigating. Mary heads to the house while Sam decides to distract Norman. It works for a while but Norman knocks Sam out and heads to the house after Lila.

Sam wakes up when the Sheriff finds him. He received a call about Arbogast that made him suspicious and he came out here to look for Sam and Lila. They both hear Lila screaming and head up to the house.

Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like it.

Well first of all, I didn’t like Sam. He was much better in the film. Book Sam doesn’t defend her or think about helping her; but wonder if he was just taken in by a cold stone criminal. To me, I don’t think he really loves her as he continues to talk himself out of the relationship.

Marion isn’t as endearing as all she wants is to find a handsome, rich man to marry and improver her life. She meets Sam, who later she is upset to discover is not wealthy but won this cruise, and just as on hold as she. She wants to marry anyhow, but Sam refuses and asks her to wait.Mary seemed fueled by money rather than her love in trying to catch a husband and escape out of her life.

Ugh

Norman wasn’t as good as in the film. Book Norman is a 40 year old man who lives with his mother. He has been controlled by her (and abused in every way). He is overweight, impotent, intellectual on his own (but falls apart in front of mother or others), passive, and dreams of a better life (living the lives of the books he reads.) Even though he is an adult he still acts like a child, being controlled and dictated by his Mother.

To me I thought Norman in the book was good, but to be honest if I stayed at a hotel with this guy I wouldn’t spend time having sandwiches with him. I don’t know of I would even want to rent a room from him as he just sets off my creepo meter. The way he acts and talks I would keep my distance.

While the book was good it can not compare to the visuals of the film. I mean the way it was shot, the actor’s performances, they just brought the text to life in an astounding way. It was just amazing, all the right actors and director at just the right time. There is a reason why this movie became so iconic and why directors, writers, and actors are constantly trying to copy it.

For more on Psycho, go to The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower

For more serial killers, go to Dying for a Date

For more private investigators, go to The Red Headed League

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Decked

decked

Decked (Regan Reilly Mystery #1) by Carol Higgins Clark

Thoughts Before Reading:

So the first book I read in this series, Laced, I had picked up for free and thought I would try it out. I loved the characters and the buildup, but was a bit disappointed with the ending wrap up. It was just too neat for me.

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As I enjoyed Laced, I picked up another free book from the series, Iced. As I read this I felt the same way. The character and build up were good, but the end was just too neatly tied up. And the end conclusion…wait I’ll stop there. After all I am saving it for my countdown to Christmas.

to be continued

So when I checked out the book Decked from the library, I have to admit I was blown away.

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First I loved the cover with it’s Art Deco style, just beautiful; loved the characters, the build up, conclusion…I could go on, but let’s get back on track.

Read it today!

Read it today!

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Plot Synopsis:

Regan Reilly is the only daughter of Luke Reilly, wealthy mortician, and Nora Reilly, famous mystery novelist. Regan decided to embark on a career path unlike her parents, private investigating, and choosing to live on the west coast in California, rather than her home state of New Jersey.

Private Investigating!

Private Investigating!

As Carol Higgins Clark’s mother, Mary Higgins Clark, is also a writer, I have always wondered how much of the characteristics of the characters are autobiographical and how much is fiction?

suspicious Hmm

Anyways, Regan is returning to Oxford for the 10th reunion of her Junior year abroad. As she goes back to the campus it reminds her of her old roommate Athena, from Greece. Before the year ended, she came into her trust fund and ran off without saying good-bye or even writing them a note.

How rude

At the reunion Regan asks after her, but it is not just Regan who has lost contact; apparently Athena had run away from home and never contacted anyone else again.

Very suspicious

Very suspicious

Other shocking news is that Professor Phillip Whitcomb is to be married.

What?

Often sought after by the female students; Professor Whitcomb always seemed more interested in his flora and fauna, rather than females. However, to celebrate, Lady Veronica Exner, Phillip’s wealthy aunt, has invited the whole reunion over to her home, like she used to, to celebrate.

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Regan and her best friend Kit agree, as the two have always liked the eccentric woman. Now she is even more so, as she has ditched her bun for permed locks, and neutral colors for bright ones; and taking all kinds of trips. It appears she had a heart attack not long ago and has a whole new lease on life.

While the party is in full swing, they are interrupted with the news that a body was found. Athena’s.

Murder

As Regan and Kit head to bed they discover a note by Phillip Whitcomb for Regan. It urgently requests her to call.

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When she does she discovers that Lady Veronica’s traveling companion has had food poisoning. They tried to dissuade Lady Veronica from going on her cruise to New York from England, but she won’t listen saying she will be perfectly safe. Phillip’s fiancé came up with a solution of asking Regan to join her and take care of her.

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At first Regan is not willing, but then Phillip offers to pay her double. Double pay and five nights on a luxury cruise ship?

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Unfortunately, it just so happens that this cruise ship is the same one that her parents are taking a trip on. And they are trying their hardest to avoid Lady Veronica as she insists Nora is the perfect person to write her autobiography.

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As the two set off on their journey they sail right in the middle of a murder plot. The person who killed Athena wants Lady Veronica dead as well, and doesn’t care if Regan gets caught in the wake.

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As Regan is busy with Lady Veronica and all her activities she wants to try out, she always keeps a fraction of her mind on Athena’s case. Who killed her and why? Regan won’t stop until she discovers the truth.

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Thoughts After Reading:

As always, the Clark books are filled to the brim with a multitude of characters, changing narration throughout. While with some books this can be messy or too extravagant; I enjoyed every single one in this novel.

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I thought the book was very well written, and the mystery, while not a brain numbing mind bender, had quite a few well done twists.

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I enjoyed the character of Regan a lot and eagerly await to read the next book in the series.

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In fact, this is one book I wouldn’t mind adding to my collection.

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For more mysteries with a female private investigator, go to A is for Alibi

For more mysteries with private investigators, go to Grave Peril

For more mysteries involving a person who has gone missing, go to Where Are You Now?

For more reviews, go to The Book of Madness and Cures