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Black House | [Stephen King, Peter Straub]

Black House

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....
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (627 )
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4.4 (565 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Brian Apple Valley, CA, United States 12-28-12
    Brian Apple Valley, CA, United States 12-28-12 Member Since 2010

    Long haul commuter. Audiobooks keep me from causing serious physical harm to my fellow commuters. Bless you, Audible!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Jack Sawyer delivers"

    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).

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. A. Frank cali 11-28-12
    R. A. Frank cali 11-28-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Delightful detective story with a magical twist!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Black House to be better than the print version?

    I am an audio listener by trade.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jack of course, he is the main man, super talented and powerful in ways that surprise the reader.


    Have you listened to any of Frank Muller’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    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.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra NH, United States 11-27-12
    Sandra NH, United States 11-27-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A great sequel"
    What did you love best about Black House?

    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.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin SPRING, TX, United States 08-23-13
    Kevin SPRING, TX, United States 08-23-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Better than Talisman, but not by much"
    Would you try another book from Stephen King and Peter Straub and/or Frank Muller?

    I already did - The Talisman and Dark Tower Books


    If you’ve listened to books by Stephen King and Peter Straub before, how does this one compare?

    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.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Probably the hedge clipper scene at the retirement home.


    Was Black House worth the listening time?

    Barely.


    Any additional comments?

    “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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd United States 06-19-13
    Todd United States 06-19-13 Member Since 2010
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    "One of my favorites"
    Would you listen to Black House again? Why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Black House?

    Jack Sawyer remembering his past.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    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!).


    Who was the most memorable character of Black House and why?

    Henry Laden. He's just oozes cool.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Travis Eck 05-12-14
    Travis Eck 05-12-14 Member Since 2013
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    "A Must-Read for Dark Tower Fans!"
    Would you listen to Black House again? Why?

    This is an engaging story, with a reader whose voice perfectly fits the story. I would definitely read this again.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Black House?

    My favorite part was when I realized how this story fits into The Dark Tower story and how Jack Sawyer's quest was going to aid Roland in his.


    Which character – as performed by Frank Muller – was your favorite?

    It's a toss-up. I loved his voice for the biker, Beezer, but his voice for the killer was spot on as well. The former was very creepy, as it should have been.


    Any additional comments?

    As a big fan of the Dark Tower, I was shocked to see how many Dark Tower references and tie-in plot points there were between the two stories. Why have I not heard of this book before?!? I would have read it a long time ago if I had known about all the tie-ins. Besides the Dark Tower points though, this was a great book all by itself. Excellent characters, extremely creepy villains, and an ending that leaves you wanting more. This just made it to the top of my non-Dark Tower Stephen King books. An excellent read!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Whitehall, PA, United States 04-13-14
    Scott Whitehall, PA, United States 04-13-14 Member Since 2012

    Short and sweet reviews, Allentown pa

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Jack sawyer"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Great adventure, never gets dull and the fantasy is great
    Muller again does a great job


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Black House?

    Thunder 5 approaching blackhouse


    What does Frank Muller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He's just better, and does character voices well


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No way
    These books are 28hrs or so long
    If they did an abridged version I would hate them for it


    Any additional comments?

    Must buy the talisman 1st
    Not having read the DT books might confuse some people, or make them want to read them also

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kenneth United States 12-27-13
    kenneth United States 12-27-13 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too Loooooong"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It was way too long and much of the time was wasted for example the descriptions of the houses, people, and unnecessary side stories made me say a few times, "get on with it already!" But I am King fan so I braved it out and the last 1/4 of the book redeemed the first slow part. better have a lot of time if your going to listen to this one.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Henry is very cool


    Have you listened to any of Frank Muller’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    He has a distinct style that takes getting used to


    Could you see Black House being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Ryan Gosling as Jack, George Clooney as Henry,


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brian SAINT ANN, MO, United States 07-25-13
    brian SAINT ANN, MO, United States 07-25-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastically Intrancing"
    Would you listen to Black House again? Why?

    That would have to be a yes, for this story is moving and deep and full of hidden treasures.


    What other book might you compare Black House to and why?

    The Talisman, Read to find out :)


    Which character – as performed by Frank Muller – was your favorite?

    Jack Sawyer


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Jack Sawyer getting shot.


    Any additional comments?

    We all serve the beam in one way or another.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather Seattle, WA, United States 07-18-13
    Heather Seattle, WA, United States 07-18-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved it but.........."

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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