Book Review: The Blackstone Chronicles by John Saul

Published in 1997 by Random House Publishing Group. this is the complete six part series based on the fictional city of Blackstone as imagine by John Saul. This is a horror series so be warned.

While Stephen King is my favorite horror writer, I like John Saul as well. He slowly builds up the horror using things like dolls and handkerchiefs to scare the pants off the reader. This use of the mundane is very like King and thus, helps to sell the scare.

While I like the plots, and the stories in general, his writing style is awkward reading for me. He mixes action in with his dialogue, often burying dialogue in a short action scene. I find this makes the flow jerk a bit, but that’s just me.

So, here are the short stories in this series, all in one convenient book:

Part 1 An Eye For an Eye: The Doll

This is pretty self explanatory – it’s about a cursed doll. It’s a lot like Annabell, and it’s a girl doll. While not quite original, the way the characters react to the doll as well as the actions of the doll itself make this story unique and quite creepy.

Part 2 Twist of Fate: The Locket

This is a heart shaped locket like one used to give to daughters and girl friends. It opens, and you could put something inside like a picture or a lock of hair. The one in the story has a lock of hair in it. I won’t spoil the story for you, but it made me rethink wearing any type of jewelry for a while.

Part 3 Ashes to Ashes: The Dragon’s Flame

This one is about a lighter that was shaped like a dragon’s head. The story is a bit gruesome so fair warning!

Part 4 In the Shadow of Evil: The Handkerchief

This is another one that’s self explanatory. I can’t say much more without spoiling the story.

Part 5 Day of Reckoning: The Stereoscope

A stereoscope is like a ViewMaster but much, much older. It uses two pictures of the same scene only slightly different which, when you look at them together through the scope, makes the picture look 3D. It came to being about 1830-40,and it was made to be a toy, to amuse people – like the ViewMaster. In the story however, it’s not that amusing.

Part 6 Asylum

This is where all the things in the other stories had come from, where their evil had been born. This asylum was back in the 1940s or therebouts, and it wasn’t the nicest place in the world to be committed to. I can’t say much else, but I’m sure you’ve seen enough horror movies about asylums to know how this series is going to culminate and end.

I recommend you read this book. I enjoyed it myself, but not everyone likes the same things I do. If you do read the book, let me know. I’d like to talk to someone about it.

See you on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!

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