Psycho II

Psycho II (Psycho #2) by Robert Bloch

I bought this years ago at a used bookstore and as I love Psycho the movie. I couldn’t wait to read it but then…

Plot Summary:

So nuns are going to visit the asylum, because I guess they do that. It seems really odd to me, but whatever.

Norman of course is still crazy and murders a nun-commenting all the while about how he wonders of nuns shave down there and legs, etc. Uh…why?

That is mostly how I feel about this book, why? Why, what does this have to do with plot?

He steals a van, which is later found burned with a burned body in it-believed to be Norman. His doctor, Dr. Adam Claiborne, doesn’t think he is dead and goes to Hollywood. They plan to make a movie about Norman, and Dr. Claiborne thinks he is headed that way and goes that way too.

The actor playing Norman, Paul Morgan, thinks that if Norman has been dressing like his mom, he must be gay. He dresses up and goes undercover at a Hollywood gay brothel. Strange

There are two actresses Jan and Connie. Connie isn’t pretty enough to be a star, but does become a star in  porn film.

And then Norman goes killing and stabbing.

Thoughts After Reading:

This was awful! So dumb!  The movie is waaaay better, I would rather watch that than read this anytime.

For more Psycho, go to Psycho

For more books that take place in Hollywood, go to The Woman in the Movie Star Dress

For more psychopaths, go to The Itsy Bitsy Spider

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

The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower

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The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower by Robert Graysmith

Thoughts before Reading:

Today is a very special day.

Today, in 1960, Psycho was originally released in theaters.

I LOVE THE FILM AND ANYTHING Alfred Hitchcock.

I saw this book in the dollar tree and bought it because it had “Alfred Hitchcock” on the cover. This book involves his film Psycho which is one of my favorites!

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Plot Synopsis:

Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho had a lot of issues and complications in the filming. One issue was filming the shower scene.

Having a bathroom was enough of a hassle with the MPAA, but filming in the shower caused even more difficulties. Not to mention how to make it look real and scary.

Hmm…

Eventually all that was worked out and all that was needed was a body double for Janet Leigh, another difficult task as she has a body that wasn’t easily duplicated.

Hmm…

Ex-playboy bunny and redhead, Marli Renfro, was finally chosen and participated in the shoot.

Twenty-Eight years after Psycho came out, Leigh’s body double was murdered by her next-door neighbor, Kenneth Dean Hunt, in the same fashion as the film.

Over twenty years later, Robert Graysmith asked the question: What if Renfro was really alive? After all Leigh had two body doubles: one for the shower and one for lighting. What if the other double died and everyone got it wrong? He decided to search out for the truth.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like the book as I didn’t enjoy the writer’s style. I thought that it was repetitive, boring, and he just went on and on about Renfro’s body.

I really didn’t want to hear about him constantly describing her nude form. I mean he was really obsessed with it.

For more Non-Fiction, go to Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries

For more mystery reviews, go to Everbody Loved Roger Harlan

A Most Peculiar Circumstance

Ready for the last Christmas mystery of this holiday season?

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Here we go!

A Most Peculiar Circumstance

A Most Peculiar Circumstance (Ladies of Distinction #2) by Jen Turano

In the last book we followed Lady Eliza Sumner as she disguised herself and tried to track down the people who stole her fortune. She ended up getting help where she least expected it from Agatha Watson, Zayne Beckett and his brother Hamilton.

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In this book we focus on Miss Arabella Beckett, Hamilton and Zayne’s sister. Arabella is a suffragette and travels all over America speaking and attending rallies, trying to bring awareness and change.

 She was on her way to such a rally when she splits ways from her traveling companion and heads off on her own. She comes upon a woman who is distraught over her daughter, Alice James, who ran away to be a mail order bride and Arabella promises to track her down.

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Unwittingly, Arabella stumbles into a sex slavery ring as Miss James’ letter was just a ploy. Arabella saves Miss James, but also finds herself causing the two to be jailed in a serious misunderstanding.

Crap

A strange, but tall, dark, and handsome man comes for her.

It turns out to be private investigator, Theodore Wilder.

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Theodore was sent by Hamilton as he wanted his sister at the wedding and their mother, Gloria, was extremely worried about her.

After conferring with the police, Theodore manages to release the ladies, returning Alice to her home in Chicago and taking Arabella to New York.gotthis

The travel and bicker the whole way: Arabella trying to convince Theodore women’s suffrage is the way to go and Theodore trying to get Arabella to talk about anything else.

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When they returns home, Mrs. Beckett sets her sights on setting the two up, but then Theodore opens his mouth about his views on what women should do and they realize that this will not be a perfect match.

Theodore goes back to do some investigating into the situation and discovers that not only have all the suspects fled, but the law as well.

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Convinced  that the slavery people are after Arabella, and that it goes deeper into law enforcement Theodore sends people to watch and help, even though she doesn’t like it. He too, starts spending a lot of time with her to try and keep her safe, and in the process starts falling for her, and she him. But will their way of thinking keep them apart? Or can they compromise?

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Arabella is not one to stand on the sidelines and just let life happen, so she decides to do some research on her own and she desires to help women, especially prostitutes as she just had a glimpse into that world.

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Agatha hears about something going down on the docks, with ten prostitutes disappearing in a week. She decides this is perfect for a story, as she now works for the newspaper, although under an assumed name.

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She goes to her friend in the theater for costumes as she, Arabella, and Katherine Gibson (Theodore’s sister); as they prepare to out to the docks to pretend to be “women of the night” and get the scoop. Unfortunately, this ends with them jailed again, well for Katherine it is a first time.

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Meanwhile, it grows closer to Christmas and Theodore is more and more worried about the slavery ring and Arabella. He takes her to his grandfather’s place in the country to keep her and the other girls, the prostitutes, safe.

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But even there they aren’t safe. It turns out that not only are the slavery people after Arabella, there is even a more worse psychopath who wants her for his truly terrible Christmas Eve plans. Will they be able to save her in time? Or will this be a very unmerry Christmas?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was pretty good. There were definite romantic fiction clichés, but the story was fun and so were the characters.

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It had some great twists and turns,

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But the end did copy Psycho a bit to much.

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I thought it wasn’t as good as the first book in the series. but is still a great companion piece and something I don’t mind reading again and again.

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For more on Ladies of Distinction novels, go to A Change of Fortune

For more Christmas mysteries, go to Murder Well Done

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to The Witch Hunter’s Tale

For more undercover reporters, go to The Alchemy of Murder

For more reviews, go to Plum Pudding Murder