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Robert Bloch's Psycho: Sanitarium

Narrated by: Chet Williamson
Series: Psycho Trilogy, Book 1.5
Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
Categories: Fiction, Horror
4 out of 5 stars (44 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The original Psycho novel by Robert Bloch was published in 1959 and became an instant hit, leading to the smash movie only a year later, which brought Norman Bates' terrifying story into the public consciousness, where it still remains (proven by the success of the TV series Bates Motel). It took Bloch 23 years to write another Psycho novel, revealing that Norman had been in a mental institution the entire time. In that sequel, Norman quickly escapes the sanitarium and goes on a killing spree in Hollywood.

But what happened in that asylum during those two decades? Until now, no one has known.

It's 1960. Norman Bates is in the State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, and it's up to Dr. Felix Reed to bring him out of his catatonic state.

But Norman and Dr. Reed have obstacles in twisted fellow patients and staff members who think of the institution as a prison rather than a place of healing. And the greatest obstacle is the building itself, once a private sanitarium, rumored to be haunted. A wild card appears in the persona of Robert Newman, Norman's twin brother, taken away at birth after the attending doctor pronounced him brain damaged. As Robert and Norman grow to know each other, Norman senses a darkness in Robert, even deeper than that which has lurked in Norman himself.

Soon murders begin to occur, and a shocking chain of events plunges us even deeper into the deranged madness inside the walls of Psycho: Sanitarium.

©2016 Sally A. Francy (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Horror author Chet Williamson ably succeeds in the tough task of creating a sequel to Robert Bloch's masterpiece, Psycho; a prequel to the less effective Psycho II; and a solid story in its own right.... The novel shines. Whenever Norman gets the spotlight, the novel feels like a lost Bloch work." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not impressed

I had my doubts when I read a previous review saying the narrator (who is the author) sounded like a TV announcer through most of the book, but apart from the dialogue (which is actually surprisingly well voiced) he really does.

Honestly the story wasn't a lot better.

Now, I freely admit I have not read the second or third books in the original series, but this just feels like it's trying too hard to fit together as many facts from the originals as possible without nothing to have a compelling story of its own.

I hate saying this, but it feels like a poorly thought out fan fic.

The majority of the characters feel either contrived and unrealistic or two-dimensional.

The biggest saving grace here is the interactions between Norman and "Mother" are interesting and well done.

Unfortunately, the overall quality of the writing is not what I would expect of a book published in 2016. The bouncing POV is distracting, the grammar leaves something to be desired, and the style (while perhaps a decent imitation of Bloch's) feels almost archaic.

In the end, I would recommend this book to die-hard fans of the series who are chomping at the bit for more Norman Bates, but for anyone else if probably suggest skipping it.

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Had to force myself to endure till the end.

The narrator had the voice of an announcer during the entire book! there were so many side plots that it didnt really feel like a Bates book. I had to force myself to finish it.

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In my mind I saw this ad part of the Bates Motel TV series

I like the storyline development in this audiobook. Some of the characters were a bit contrived. I think the narrator did a relatively good job although I think it could've been better. Overall the storyline was interesting. This is not what I would consider an excellent book I would consider this a good read. In spite of that I would still recommend it if you'd like the Norman Bates genre.

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A Psycho among Monsters

Awesome whodunit mystery mixed in with an asylum and the notorious killer Norman Bates, and you get an excellent connection to the other books.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Ever wonder what happened to Norman Bates?

I absolutely loved Psycho, I have both read the book and, of course , seen the movie. Although this is titled " Robert Bloch' s Psycho : Sanitarium , of course he didn't write. Now that would be creepy ! This book is so true to Mr Bloch's Norman, you can believe he did pen it. It is a book made for Audible though. The voices were spot on, and that music. Great lines too! Norman to me is just a sweet boy with an over protective mother.

She may even try to follow him in his quest for sanity. Wonderful characters. I've never had the pleasure to listen to Chet Williamson narrate previously, but will be on the lookout. If you love the real, original Anthony Perkins , or if you like to have chills for a few days I highly recommend this book!

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Awesome read!

Never failed to surprise me the whole way. Very interesting! The twist at the end was great.

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Loved it!

Where does Robert Bloch's Psycho: Sanitarium rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Great performance, great story! I usually only listen to audio books at my desk at work and with this one I was listening at home too because I couldn't wait until the next work day to hear what happens next.