Twenty years ago, a boy named Jack Sawyer traveled to a parallel universe called the Territories to save his mother and her “Twinner” from an agonizing death that would have brought cataclysm to the other world. Now Jack is a retired Los Angeles homicide detective living in the nearly nonexistent hamlet of Tamarack, Wisconsin. He has no recollection of his adventures in the Territories, and he was compelled to leave the police force when a happenstance event threatened to awaken those long suppressed and dangerous memories.
When a series of gruesome murders occur in western Wisconsin that are reminiscent of those committed several decades earlier, Jack’s buddy, the local chief of police, begs Jack to help find the killer. But are these new killings merely the work of a disturbed individual, or has a mysterious and malignant force been unleashed in this quiet town? What causes Jack’s inexplicable waking dreams - if that is what they are - of robins’ eggs and red feathers? As these cryptic messages becomes impossible to ignore, Jack is drawn back to the Territories and to his own hidden past.
©2001 Stephen King and Peter Straub. All rights reserved. (P)2012 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.
“Intelligent…Suspenseful” (Wall Street Journal)
“Overflows with dark wit…” (New York Times Book Review)
“Two master craftsmen, each at the top of his game” (Washington Post)
Long haul commuter. Audiobooks keep me from causing serious physical harm to my fellow commuters. Bless you, Audible!
Maybe it was during the time that I fell out of love with Stephen King. Maybe there were things in my own life that kept me from this book. Maybe it was Ka. Who knows? I've waited 10 years to enjoy this book.
I read and loved The Talisman when it came out but when this came out, I shunned it for some unknown reason. I bought it and it sat on my shelf, mocking me for years until I gave it away in a frenzy of hardback reduction that I have come to regret for many reasons. Maybe it was The Black House itself hiding itself from me.
Anyway. This is a great continuation of the Talisman and I'm really glad that I finished the Dark Tower series in the intervening years (Nudge, wink).
I am an audio listener by trade.
Jack of course, he is the main man, super talented and powerful in ways that surprise the reader.
Frank Muller was spectacular in the Talisman and he brings the same energy here. His performance of the new characters such as the "Fisherman" and "Mr. Munshun" in a sort of a Red Skelton mumbling jumble made me laugh out loud.
There are several funny parts that made me laugh especially when the Biker gang (Thunder Five) dudes made sharp cracks. Yes I did get misty there was a tremendous friendship between Jack Sawyer and Henry Leyden and some real sadness surrounding the murders of the children.
There was a very large character set here, but as most "constant readers" know it is handled with extreme expertise. The thing about this book that grabbed me the most was that it quickly became a fascinating murder-mystery novel. There was a the reluctant Jack Sawyer that had purportedly been a "superstar detective" but retired from the LAPD at the young age of 31. So for about 1/4 of the book the reader has no idea just how good he really is at it. Now throw in the element of the supernatural where King and Straub really get cranked up. And of course we know from the Talisman that Jack Sawyer has a little bit of experience in this area. This one will make you want to listen till the end!
I loved the fact that we follow up on our hero Jack Sawyer. He is grown into an adult, but he is still the sensitive boy/man that you came to love in the Talisman. Also, if you are a true King fan, it does not hurt that we see a bit of the Dark Tower story as well.
I already did - The Talisman and Dark Tower Books
I listened to The Talisman and I thought Black House was a little better, but not by much. Only because with the main character being an adult rather than a child, I think King/Straub could utilize mature themes.
Probably the hedge clipper scene at the retirement home.
“Black House” seemed to be a very different kind of story than “The Talisman”. In some ways I probably preferred BH over Talisman, but overall I was pretty underwhelmed by both stories. Obviously the only common denominator between the two was the main character – Jack Sawyer, only in BH Jack is an adult rather than a child which I think enabled the writers to bring mature elements into the story.
The supporting cast was better in BH, only because they didn’t seem like cartoon characters or even characterchures like in Talisman. I also like the fact that King & Straub steered clear of the animal-characters, which was something I didn’t care for in Talisman.
The plot of the book was enjoyable, taking more of a mystery approach rather than sci-fi; however once the sci-fi elements were introduced, the mystery vibe began to lose it’s appeal – almost surrendering the credibility of the overall story. I liked that BH had more gore and the subject matter was adult orientated.
My main complaint of BH was probably the narrative and delivery approach for how the story was told. I did not like to "float over here" and "let us drift away from there". I also found it hard to believe that a group of "hard core bikers" (one of which is a former surgeon, because there's so many surgeons that leave the medical field to pursue a life of biker-ing, right?) would immediately befriend an out-of-town cop to help solve a series of murders. The romance between Jack and Sophie seemed a little out-of-place as well, if not forced. Maybe it was an after thought that randomly made it's way into the story...who knows?
Altogether BH was worth reading if you’ve already read the Talisman; however I doubt I’d revisit either book again. I was not impressed or greatly entertained by BH; however it’s worth a read if you’re a fan of King’s Dark Tower books. There are a few bread crumbs in BH that DT fans will enjoy, but I’m not sure that it added a whole lot to the DT universe.
Pros: Dark Tower elements and a decent mystery story (less the sci-fi elements).
Cons: Clear motives for the killer would’ve been nice and the friendship between Henry & Jack should’ve been better organized and developed, as well as the romance between Jack & Sophie.
Bottom line: So-so story, not too bad but not too great.
I've listened to Black House several times. It's a great sequel to The Talisman but stands alone as well. Frank Muller (RIP) is an engaging and overall entertaining narrator. The characters have not only come alive but have become old acquaintances.
Jack Sawyer remembering his past.
The description at the beginning of Wisconsin and the mention of places that are almost, but not quite, real. The "giant six-pack" for instance (it was never Kingsland Ale!).
Henry Laden. He's just oozes cool.
First off I LOVE Steven King. However, I could only stand listening to Frank Muller for 15 minutes before I felt sick at my stomach. The best way I can describe his reading is as a ghostly 1940's private detective who's reading a news story. I couldn't keep up with what he was saying. Five minutes in a promised myself I would stick it out 30 minutes but then at 15 mintues I could listen no longer. I gave the story 3 stars because I truly don't know if its good or not.
the detailed laying out of the characters and the whole ground work for the story which was actually longer than the the story. However I kind of missed Stephen Kings clear and pinpoint karate chaps (in words)
Jack Sawyer because he seemed together, of good character,
detail description so one can almost picture it.
Black House of Horrors
I am not so sure about the children. That makes me think of dirty old Men.
Some Talisman, some Gunslinger and lots of other characters combine to create a really creepy, interesting tale about a town, a child killer, a hero, and "other worlds than these". I started this before I read the Talisman, so I stopped it and listened to The Talisman first, then started Black House over. I loved it...
Also, I swear that I could listen to Frank Muller read anything -so fun!
That would have to be a yes, for this story is moving and deep and full of hidden treasures.
The Talisman, Read to find out :)
Jack Sawyer getting shot.
We all serve the beam in one way or another.
Peter Straub always delivers a delicious ending, but only after he has nearly bored you to death with minutia travel-log like details. Stephen King has reined in that tendancy to a degree but still in the first chapter you are give an exacting detail of the businesses on the main street of the city, and none of them are ever entered into during the remainder of the story. Black House flows well, the characters are well built and you will love some, and hate some. there are moments of high tension, and sorrow, and the ending will make you beg for more.
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