It’s always lovely to play host to fellow writers, bloggers and bookworms here at I swoon over fictional men HQ and today I’m delighted to welcome Chauncey Rogers, who has written a review for Psycho.
I recently reviewed Chauncey’s incredible book, Home To Roost (you can check out my review here) so it’s an honour to be able to share his thoughts on my blog today.
Norman Bates loves his Mother. She has been dead for the past twenty years, or so people think. Norman knows better though. He has lived with Mother ever since leaving the hospital in the old house up on the hill above the Bates motel. One night Norman spies on a beautiful woman that checks into the hotel as she undresses. Norman can’t help but spy on her. Mother is there though. She is there to protect Norman from his filthy thoughts. She is there to protect him with her butcher knife.
First off, thanks Jazz for letting me post my review here. You’ve been great, your reviews have been great, and it’s nice to get to add something to I Swoon Over Fictional Men.
Second, I’ve never seen the film adaptation of Psycho. Sorry Alfred Hitchcock! I’m sure it’s amazing, though. On that same note, I haven’t seen any of the Bates Motel series, either.
Third, if the grammatical ambiguities in the book’s blurb bothered you, then know that I’m right there with you. However, take comfort from the fact that there are no such issues in the novel itself.
And now, on to the review!
Psycho was perfectly enjoyable. Robert Bloch’s writing is very smooth and fast. That, taken with the fact that this is a short novel at just over 50,000 words, makes it read very much like watching a movie–or, rather, watching the movie. Hitchcock even said, “Psycho all came from Robert Bloch’s book.”
And really, I feel like that might be review enough. Alfred Hitchcock, the man known as “The Master of Suspense,” liked the book so much that his film adaptation is almost a scene-for-scene remake of the book. (And how would I know this, seeing as I haven’t seen the movie? I don’t. But that’s what other reviewers have said, and, given the feel and pacing of the novel itself, I believe them.)
For those who are big on the film, know that there are some differences: Norman Bates’s appearance, one of the character’s names, and the specific manner of one character’s death–and I do mean specific.
Now, I really did enjoy this book. However, I could imagine somebody who is a much harsher critic saying some of the following things:
1. The plot was predictable. (Probably not really true. More likely, this book just made such a splash when it first came out in 1959 that we’ve all encountered spoilers for the plot before.)
2. Characters were stereotypes. (This sentiment may be valid–the Private Investigator, for example, wears a fedora and smokes a bunch.)
3. There isn’t enough gore. (Anyone who whines about this last one really misunderstands the mentality and motivation of the story’s killer. They’re just wrong. Also, they’re forgetting that this book debuted in 1959.)
It’s a quick, smooth read, with a film (two, actually) and television series to its credit. It also starts off with a textbook McGuffin, for anyone excited by that term, and was inspired by the true story of the murderer Ed Gein, though I wouldn’t recommend reading up on him until after you’ve read Psycho.
If you like the movie Psycho and are wanting a bit more depth to appreciate, you should read the novel. If you’re watching Bates Motel, the same applies. If you like thrillers and haven’t read Psycho, you should. If you’re wondering whether or not you like thrillers, give Psycho a try and find out. You might like it.
Rating: 4 out of 5. (I would give it 5/5, but I factor in cost on Amazon, and they just bumped up the kindle price from around $5, which is what I bought it at, to closer to $10. Still good, but the price seems steep for being a shorter book.)
Song: The Avalanches’s “Frontier Psychiatrist“
This book is available on Amazon in both paperback and ebook format.
Chauncey Rogers has been reading and writing since before he knew how to do either–he carried around a copy of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park until he could read it, a labor that lasted from the first grade through the third grade; and was known to write and illustrate lengthy, illegible stories about dragons and dinosaurs. After a two-year ministry service in Los Angeles, he attended and graduated from Brigham Young University with degrees in linguistics, history education, TESOL, and editing. While there, he met, fell in love with, and married his dream girl. After realizing that now was as good a time as any to chase a dream, Chauncey and his wife decided to pursue writing professionally.
His debut novel, Home To Roost, was released in March 2017. His second novel, Cleaving Souls, will be released this summer.
He has two children and a pet sheep. The sheep annoys him very much. The children, less.
What do you look for in a book?
Writing is predominant. I don’t care how good your plot, if the story is poorly told, I will not read it. After that, I want a story to move me, or give me something to think about. Genre does not matter as much to me, but the book must be reasonably family friendly.
Why do you read?
For entertainment, and to develop my own sense of good writing and writing style. I’ve often found what I read reflected in what I write.
If you could visit any fictional world, which would you visit and why?
If my resources were limited, Middle Earth. I’d love to see the Shire, Rivendell, and the Woodland Realm. Unfortunately, as a human I would belong better in Bree, Rohan, Gondor, or Laketown.
If I had more resources, I’d love to travel the Star Wars galaxy in my own ship, with the obligatory alien and droid sidekicks.