This classic horror novel, which inspired the famous film by Alfred Hitchcock, has been thrilling people for 50 years. It introduced one of the most unexpectedly-twisted villains of all time in Norman Bates, the reserved motel manager with a mother complex, and has been called the "first psychoanalytic thriller."
©1959 Robert Bloch; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Icily terrifying!" (New York Times)
"A terribly chilling tale." (Bestsellers)
What a book! This is a great example of a classic horror/thriller novel. "Psycho" will pull you in from the start even if you have already seen the movie and know what to expect. The story is detailed, holds your attention and is easy to follow. The narrator did a great job and really added to the suspense. I admit, I got chills during certain parts. Things just get crazier and crazier as you move along. This is definitely a fun and exciting listen.
It's pretty hard to accept the Bates Motel as a great holiday destination after the impact of the film of Psycho. But even if you come to this after seeing the film this is a great listen. It's pulp horror but is surprisingly psychologically minded with well drawn characters, especially when you remember it was written in 1959. I always felt the main difference between the book and the film was in the casting of Anthony Perkins. Norman in the book is a lot less savoury. The narration is excellent and I really enjoyed this. It's also fun to listen to again when you know what's really going on. Highly recommended
Hitchcock was pretty loyal to the book, other than casting -- Norman is a different age and body type than Anthony Perkins, and Martin Balsam plays Arborgast considerably different than the book's character. It's so difficult to not "see" the film while listening to the book, but, fortunately, they pretty much follow the same path.
The performance is very good. The reader makes subtle changes in voice, just enough to let you know it's a different character.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
EVERY NAIL SERVES A PURPOSE
Scary wise this is not as good as most horror books of today. That does not change the fact that it is a well written book. It was entertaining and kept my attention all the way through. There are some interesting well developed characters in this book.
YOU HAVEN'T THE GUMPTION
I think all of us have times in our lives when we want to crawl in a nice warm hole and just hibernate. Norman Bates is scared of people and all he wants in life is to be warm, cozy and safe. I have a friend who is extremely active in society, an extrovert. He admitted to me once that occasionally, he draws the curtains, stays in his pajamas and does not leave the house for maybe a week. I think all of us, can see a little of ourselves in Norman Bates.
IT WAS NICE TO BE 7FT TALL
This book also hits one of my pet peeves. Some people always talk about the past like it was so much better then today. This book shows a little bit about what life was like in the 50's and early 60's. A male dominated society, where the best most women could do was marry a successful man. It was harder to get divorced in those days, and I believe there were a lot of unhappy marriages. I believe there were a lot of unhappy people in those days and that is not counting the blacks, Jews and other minorities. There also seemed a fascination in the early 60's with psychology. We went from, it was a secret if you saw a psychiatrist, to it was the In thing to do. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were the main stars and all there movies showed the sadness of society of the time.
One other thing, this is another one of those books where the main character has a weight problem, but in the movie is portrayed by a skinny actor.
I liked the narrator, the private eye spoke so slow you could hear the moss grow on his vocal chords, but all other characters were great.
Reading the book satisfied my curiosity about the film adaptation process, but here's the short version. Bloch came up with a very interesting sequence of plot points, which Hitchcock copied. All but a few of the key moments of the film are here. However, and this is really not a contradiction, Bloch had no idea how to tell a story. His pacing could not be worse. He breezes past large swaths of the plot, then labors forever on the characters' most tedious qualities (Lila's whining, Sam's stoicism, Norman's simpering about his mother.) I ended up disliking everyone by the end of it. A short five hour audiobook went by in slow motion. The gender stereotypes have dated badly, and the increased gore made the story ickier without being more interesting.
I am a little curious what other plots the writer of Psycho came up with, but not curious enough to sit through more of his writing. I'll read the Wikipedia synopsis.
He did give every character a distinctive voice, but that only confirmed how grating a lot of the personalities were. It's always hard for men to voice romantic female leads, but oh boy, he made Lila a pill.
Did you seriously just ask me, "Could you see Psycho being made into a movie or a TV series?" Yes. Both.
Read the print copy. That way you can skim the monologues and avoid having to actually listen to the dialogue.
I like a book that mixes horror and comedy - it's an awkward blend of suspense and release.
Reading a book based on a movie that's already in my top-ten thrillers of all time; it just seemed like a great idea at the time.
But here's the problems. The book didn't just inspire the movie, it was the movie. The only parts missing were probably left out to keep the movie under 2 hours; in that, they weren't that vital to the story, and they only added little bits of insight to the already fantastic story.
So, if you've seen the movie? If you've seen the movie a lot of times, and watched the sequels, and the Vince Vaughan remake? The book will probably shine very little light onto what you already know about the tale.
The narrator did a good job, good enough. Lila, (Lily?) sounded like the biggest whiner in the world, which I initially thought was just the way this narrator thought women talked, but, after reading a few reviews on Goodreads as well, nope, it's not him, it's totally that the character is a whiny lady.
Also - if you're in search of as many cliches as possible, specifically in characters, dialog, and tropes, this is the book for you. (Of course, it's entirely possible that the book, written in 1960, quite possibly set the standard for a lot of those things.)
So - long story short, if you loved the movie so much that you became almost obsessive over it, this book will shed very little light on anything... and actually drags in some areas, even though it's a relatively short novel.
Last thing - the ending, or last chapter, or epilogue - wow it just goes on and on forever, like Bloch got tired of writing the story and just put together some bullet points to wrap the story up. I didn't make it all the way to the end.
I'm open to any book as long as it is true to itself.
This book was disappointing in all areas apart from any parts with Norman Bates. Bloch did a great job of portraying the character of Bates and any parts with him present completely held my attention. Unfortunately the other characters were very lack lustre. The famous shower scene was much more effective and chilling in the film.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
I can't believe it took so long for me to read this "classic" book. It's better than I expected, and perhaps a bit less dramatic than the movie (hard to be gory in this era I suppose).
It does not have any "surprises" but, that's probably due to the storyline being part of our modern culture... there's not much odd about transvestites or murderers or schitzos in our current day and age but, for its time, these concepts were probably extra-shocking.
I disliked the "epilogue" - way too lecturey, like the author needed to explain all the threads from the story rather than let us figure it out on our own - like we didn't realize Bates wasn't *really* his mother. Well, until the final moments anyway... hehehe
The narrator was very good.
The final scene where mother completely takes over.
Definitely the mother character!
No one? The characters are fascinating and enjoyable to read but I don't think I'd like any of them in person!
I like horror fiction , crime, mystery some chic lit. I like audiobooks but the narrator has to be right. great you get to sample first
probably about the best audiobook I,ve bought. I listened to it constantly till it was finished.
easy to listen to and narrator had exciting and professional voice
haven,t heard any of his other books but will buy books narrated by him again
"Was shaking in my boots !!! Well, a tremble !"
Every bit as good as the Movie, suspense and excellently narrated, nearly listened to the full story in one go, a must 😄
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.