Review: Psycho (Psycho, #1) by Robert Bloch


Print Length: 227 pages
Publisher: The Overlook Press (April 10, 1959)

From It was a dark and stormy night when Mary Crane glimpsed the unlit neon sign announcing the vacancy at the Bates motel. Exhausted, lost, and at the end of her rope, she was eager for a hot shower and a bed for the night. Her room was musty but clean and the plumbing worked. Norman Bates, the manager, seemed nice, if a little odd.

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.

My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I've watched the movie (the original mind you not that remake bullshit). I've watched the sequels. I've even watched the show. And I enjoyed them all. However, I did not realize that the book was available (at all much less on Kindle) until recently, and when I did, I knew I had to have it.

And honestly? Even knowing what was going to happen, I still found myself glued to the pages. The Norman you see in the book is SO different from the one portrayed in the movie. For example, book Norman is not only overweight, but also drinks (notably while on the job). He definitely doesn't come across as the shy, but helpful young man from the movie. To be honest, I wouldn't have trusted book Norman at all if I were Mary. I would have maybe stopped long enough to stretch my legs and find directions to the nearest town. 

I also found it interesting that on some level Norman IS self-aware. He knows that he has something wrong with him (and even tries at times to give it a name). Heck even the part of him that is "mother" alludes that she is "living" inside of him when he tells her she would be locked up from her crimes and she says that she wouldn't be alone if she were. 

Is this book "tame" compared to things written nowadays? Yes. So I feel as though people who aren't big horror fans will enjoy this (yes people die, but for me at least, it's not written in the gruesome detail that I have seen other books employ). 

I am also urging anyone who reads this novel NOW (meaning 2024 or above) to please remember that this book was written in 1959, so there will be words and phrases used that you may be "offended" by, but these were actually the words and phrases used back then. 

All in all, I'm glad to have read it. And I see exactly why Hitchcock thought it would make for an intriguing movie. Now if they could just release the rest of the series on kindle so I could read that as well, I would appreciate it. 

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