Black House

Black House are Books I hate that the first thing you see of a review is the number of stars it s given Someone s feeling about a book is not easily reduced to a five point scale And e

Black House are Books I hate that the first thing you see of a review is the number of stars it's given. Someone's feeling about a book is not easily reduced to a five-point scale. And even once that is done, how do I know what five stars means to you? How do you know what five stars means to me? For me, a five star book is a book that I believe is worth the time and energy you're going to spend reading it. If, (and this is key) you're into that sort of book. (Horror, Mystery, Fantasy, Hardcore Gothic Gypsy Steampunk.) A six-star book, is a book that I believe is worth your time and energy even if it's *not* the sort of thing you're into. (Generally speaking, this is the sort of book I'll give a promotional blurb for.) Unfortunately, there isn't a six star option here on goodreads. Generally speaking, a four star book is one that irritates me or disappoints me in one or two moderate ways. A three star book has several moderate irritations, or one big one, or or something that was irritating all the way through. Keep in mind that I can be extraordinarily critical of my books. Things that irritate me might not ever even show up on your mental radar. Further complicating things is the fact that sometimes I'm willing to give a book a bonus star due to extenuating circumstances. If the writer is doing something new and exciting, for example. If they're trying something really difficult or if it's their first book, I'll often give an extra star. So. To the point. Did I enjoy this book? Yes. I didn't know there was a sequel to the Talisman until I saw this in an airport a week ago. I enjoyed reading it. Held my attention. Pleased me with its craft. Is it for everyone? No. So here's the breakdown. ** What I personally liked about this book:It was told in present tense, and done well. Not a lot of folks can pull that off. The narrator was almost an active character, almost like a tour guide through the story. He/she speaks directly to the reader at points, saying things like, "Let's see what's going on over at the old mill..." Again, it worked well. Extra points for that. Also, it was set in Wisconsin. Which is kinda fun for me. **What you might like about this book:Everything that you normally like about Steven King's stuff. Interesting characters. Alternate worlds. Nice tie-in with the Talisman and the Dark Tower stuff. Nice description. Nice special effects. Nice tension and suspense. Nice characterization. **What you might dislike about this book:It's a large, rambly story. A lot of the book is spent in atmospherics, developing non-essential characters, and digressions, rather than action and moving the story forward. The Talisman was a cool adventure story. A young boy goes out, explores a strange world on a quest to save his mom. This book isn't that. There's no real adventure. They don't even get into the other world until the last 80 pages or so. Children in danger. (I'm sensitive to this, having a kid now myself. It can be a dealbreaker for some folks.) Extreme potentially even gratuitous violence and gore. (But again, we're in the horror genre, so....) So there you go. Isn't that better than some arbitrary number of stars? Now you can make your own choice about whether you want to read it. Or not. It's up to you. . Twenty years ago, a boy named Jack Sawyer travelled to a parallel universe called The Territories to save his mother and her Territories twinner from a premature and agonizing death that would have brought cataclysm to the other world Now Jack is a retired Los Angeles homicide detective living in the nearly nonexistent hamlet of Tamarack, WI He has no recollection of hTwenty years ago, a boy named Jack Sawyer travelled to a parallel universe called The Territories to save his mother and her Territories twinner from a premature and agonizing death that would have brought cataclysm to the other world Now Jack is a retired Los Angeles homicide detective living in the nearly nonexistent hamlet of Tamarack, WI He has no recollection of his adventures in the Territories and was compelled to leave the police force when an odd, happenstance event threatened to awaken those memories.When a series of gruesome murders occur in western Wisconsin that are reminiscent of those committed several decades earlier by a real life madman named Albert Fish, the killer is dubbed The Fisherman and Jack s buddy, the local chief of police, begs Jack to help his inexperienced force find him But is this merely the work of a disturbed individual, or has a mysterious and malignant force been unleashed in this quiet town What causes Jack s inexplicable waking dreams, if that is what they are, of robins eggs and red feathers It s almost as if someone is trying to tell him something As that message becomes increasingly impossible to ignore, Jack is drawn back to the Territories and to his own hidden past, where he may find the soul strength to enter a terrifying house at the end of a deserted track of forest, there to encounter the obscene and ferocious evils sheltered within it.. Bestseller Kindle Black House (This review was originally published in the Washington Post in 2001.)Black House is a novel of slippage. We learn about slippage (a secondary definition of which, we are told, helpfully, in the text, is the feeling that things in general have just gotten, or will shortly get, worse) at the beginning of the book as we travel, invisibly through the town of French Landing, Wisconsin, early in the morning, winding up in an abandoned shack where “limp flypaper ribbons hung invisible within the fur of a thousand fly corpses” and it is here that we encounter the mutilated body of ten-year-old Irma Freneau, and watch a dog attempt to eat her severed foot out from its running shoe.Irma is the latest victim of a serial killer whom the local paper has taken to calling the Fisherman, after Albert Fish, a real-life child-killer and cannibal. Not far from the shack, down a road, behind a no entry sign, is a house all painted black; and that house is a gateway to somewhere else.Slippage is what happens on the borders of things and places, and the town of French Landing is on many borders, one of which is the border between Stephen King country, and Peter Straub country.The plot itself will revolve around the struggle between two men: the murderous Fisherman, and our hero, Jack Sawyer, known locally as “Hollywood”, a retired homicide detective from LA. Jack Sawyer retired young and came out to Wisconsin in search of peace and quiet. It is a truism and a genre obligation that retired cops in novels, even novels with slippage, must come out of retirement for their last case, and Jack does, although, as we know from the off, this will not be a simple police procedural or even a whodunnit (the identity of the Fisherman is given to us early in the text -- the “hook of his nose” followed by the “wormy lips” are a dead giveaway, if we’ve missed the hints about his awful deeds and secret pleasures); and it will have its roots in a previous novel.Those who remember The Talisman, Straub and King’s first collaboration, have already met Jack Sawyer as a 12 year old boy who travelled a long way, across the US and across a distorted, magical version of America called the Territories, to find the Talisman that would save his dying mother’s life. The Talisman was a fantasy with dark elements: a fat book that could comfortably have been even fatter, with a winning young hero named after Tom Sawyer. Black House is a sequel of sorts to The Talisman, although it also draws upon the mythology that King has been building in his Gunslinger sequence, and which surfaced most recently in his Hearts in Atlantis. It is a book that exists on the borders of genre – it’s not a serial killer romance, although the Fisherman is unquestionably a superhuman serial killer possessed of (and by) strange powers. It is too dark to be a fantasy but too light, too deeply sunny, to be, at its heart, a horror novel. Here also we experience slippage.It can be a mistake to play hunt-the-author in any collaborative text. Collaborations work when two authors find a single voice for a story, and fail when they do not, and King and Straub create a mutual style that is clean and effective. It is knowing without being arch, and it does not read like either King or Straub. That there are dead giveaways in the text – the obscure jazz references that Straub delights in, for example, or some splattery scenes with a hedgeclipper that could only have been penned by King – is no help in the who-wrote-what game. (In fact I’d be willing to bet that most of the jazz references come from King, out to amuse his co-author and confuse reviewers, and that Straub took his turn at wielding the clipper.)Initially, I found Jack Sawyer uncomfortable in his role as the book’s hero as he is in his retirement: surrounded by a magnificent supporting cast of colourful characters, Jack comes off as almost too pure, too perfect; he might have wandered into this July Wisconsin-Hell-on Earth from a better place. But as I read on, I began to realise that in many ways Black House (only one vowel away from Bleak House, the foggy opening of which is quoted in the text) is a Victorian novel. The authors cited, quoted from, glossed, in the book are popular writers who once were read and are now both read and respected, particularly Dickens, Twain, and Poe. The characters, too, have a Dickensian quality to them. They are the forces of darkness – The Fisherman, Wendell Green the grasping newspaperman, Lord Malshun (Sauron as used-car salesman); forces of light – Jack Sawyer himself; Henry Leyden, the blind man with the many voices; the magnificently filthy brewer biker gang who call themselves the Hegelian Scum; brave Judy Marshall, who is being driven mad by her visions of the truth, and her son, Ty, who will become the Fisherman’s victim, and on whose rescue the fate of the universe, quite literally, depends. And the plot, which roller-coasters forward through the Wisconsin July, has the easy comfortable quality of something built by two authors who are perfectly well aware of how good they are, even to the point of referring to themselves as a couple of “scribbling fellows” in the text. (“Always scribble, scribble, eh Mr. King?”)Sometimes the collaborative process has its downside; on occasion the characters feel like counters being pushed back and forth across a board, and there is a final plot twist which smacks less of inevitability than it does of the authors checking off the last item on their to-do list. The use of the present tense, which could too easily get wearing over 600 pages, for the most part keeps the narrative voice supple, informal, and fresh, although it can, on occasion, make one feel as if one is reading a film script – and there is a sequence when Irma’s body is found, and the authors retread the same half hour from a number of points of view, in which it actively becomes a handicap. Such quibbles aside, in Black House one is watching two master-craftsmen, both at the top of their game, collaborating, with every evidence of enormous enjoyment, on a summery heartland gothic. The book is hugely pleasurable, and repays a reader in search of horror, adventure, or of any of the other joys, both light and dark, one can get from the best work of either of these two “scribbling fellows”.Whether King and Straub will reconvene for a final installment in another fifteen years, or whether Jack Sawyer’s tale has been subsumed into King’s Gunslinger series only time will tell. Either way, it is hard not to look forward to the eventual outcome.
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  1. Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father s family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support After Stephen s grandparents passed away, Mrs King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966 From his sopho year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate He came to support the anti war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional He graduated in 1970, with a B.A in English and qualified to teach on the high school level A draft board examination immediately post graduation found him 4 F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students they married in January of 1971 As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men s magazines.Stephen made his first professional short story sale The Glass Floor to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967 Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men s magazines Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

463 Reply to “Black House”

  1. I hate that the first thing you see of a review is the number of stars it s given Someone s feeling about a book is not easily reduced to a five point scale And even once that is done, how do I know what five stars means to you How do you know what five stars means to me For me, a five star book is a book that I believe is worth the time and energy you re going to spend reading it If, and this is key you re into that sort of book Horror, Mystery, Fantasy, Hardcore Gothic Gypsy Steampunk A six st [...]

  2. This review was originally published in the Washington Post in 2001 Black House is a novel of slippage We learn about slippage a secondary definition of which, we are told, helpfully, in the text, is the feeling that things in general have just gotten, or will shortly get, worse at the beginning of the book as we travel, invisibly through the town of French Landing, Wisconsin, early in the morning, winding up in an abandoned shack where limp flypaper ribbons hung invisible within the fur of a th [...]

  3. Each time I pick up a Stephen King book, I am struck by the different writing voice I find Truth is, I had expected it with Black House, sort of, being co written with Peter Straub, and yet I was struck all the same King Straub narrate much of this tale from a moving bird s eye perspective, floating in and out of each character s stance and location, with a twinge of humor on the side They don t even try to hide the fact that this account has been written in a book, by two writers even I thought [...]

  4. Tremenda secuela de El Talism n No esperaba demasiado de este libro y aun as logr sorprenderme, y de qu manera Desde ya puedo decir que es uno de mis libros favoritos de mi autor favorito Maduro, con personajes fuertes y entra ables, y una escritura mataficcional que logr envolverme en la historia como pocas veces me ha pasado Est de m s decir que lo recomiendo sin lugar a dudas De lo mejor que he le do.

  5. It s been a long time since I read this book I remember reading it when it first came out, when I was in my late teens, and really enjoying it, but it s clear that I forgot sooo much about this book I remember this one having to do with the Dark Tower but just how much, and in what detail surprised me I almost wish that I hadn t read it now, that I d waited until later on in my upcoming Dark Tower re read with my bookclub, so I could read it at a appropriate place within the Dark Tower timelin [...]

  6. Za po etak, citat quotes 1299 view spoiler Da li je iznena uju e to to je D ek Sojer revolvera u na em svetu Ni najmanje Da li iznena uje to to mu mo njegovog isijavanja dopu ta da se prebacuje kroz svetove ak i kao odrastao ovek Opet, ni najmanje Da li me raduje dodirivanje sa Mra nom kulom Apsolutno hide spoiler Ono to bih odmah volela da izdvojim je dinamika same radnje koja je toliko dobra da se ni u jednom trenutku ne oseti zamor i tenzija razvla enja pri e, to je bila moja glavna zamerka T [...]

  7. In the early eighties, Stephen King and Peter Straub embarked on the ultimate coming of age tale The Talisman easily solidified the collaboration s super status Then, nearly two decades later, they returned to their literary roots Black House portrays a different Jack Sawyer, now a semi retired Los Angeles detective He won t remain there much longer, though By requesting his expertise in a major case, a colleague turned friend leads him to Wisconsin, where his life will be irrevocably altered nu [...]

  8. Wow this book was, simply put, a mess and was very painful to read Considering I totally enjoyed the Talisman, I expected this book to be just as mind capturing as its predecessor I was very disappointed in just about the whole story So it turned out to be just ok for me.The first half was drawn out and very wordy The coming together of all the characters was quite confusing as well It seemed to take half of the book before the story even got remotely interesting It would get good and then would [...]

  9. I loved The Talisman I think I read it when I was 13 or 14 It was a great story about a boy who could cross worlds, and took on a quest to save his dying mom There were scary parts, but nothing too bad Also, the line between King s writing and Straub s writing was pretty blurred Either they shared the load, or one of them wrote while the other edited I dunno, I could only hear one voice.Years later, I listened to the audiobook and it was still great Black House is the sequel to The Talisman Now, [...]

  10. A worthy follow up to the Talisman you get to see another child protagonist of King Jack Sawyer, like Danny Torrance in Doctor Sleep fighting a fresh set of demons as a grown up.

  11. I absolutely loved this book It s funny, because I picked it up immediately after reading The Talisman, and at first I was put off by the shift in tone and feel of this one I wanted Talisman style fantasy adventure, with the lovable young Jack Sawyer What I got was a cold, detached, present tense narrative that watched everything from above and showed a landscape that was totally out of place with the book I had just finished This is supposed to be a sequel But am I ever glad I stuck with it Th [...]

  12. Jack used to be a coppice man and he is now settling into a new home in Wisconsin He has been having strange dreams, no Speedy or flipping over for many years now he is trying to deal with the present.Jack is eventually forced out of retirement as a Coppiceman on trail of the Fisherman, flipping over again but to where What does Speedy and black crow feathers have to do with the case This is an engrossing page turner written in a faster momentum than The Talisman I am loving the adult Jack Plot [...]

  13. Stephen King and Peter Straub apparently decided that, since their last collaboration was so great, they would try to follow it with an astounding book that broke every single writing rule in existence I believe the effort is a prime example of why those rules were made in the first place Amen.

  14. I ve read a number of Stephen King s books, enough to consider him one of my favorite authors and out of everything I ve read by him I enjoyed this, along with The Talisman, the most This has encouraged me to start looking at some of Peter Straub s work as well however I have yet to do so at this time What this book has done is inspire me to get into his Dark Tower series, which I had been avoiding doing for some time because I d heard that it was slow getting into If that series has ever intere [...]

  15. I actually enjoyed this a little than The Talisman However, I would say that if you did not like The Talisman, you may not enjoy this one either It does have a darker, horror like feel to it Overall, I enjoyed it Liked getting back to see Jack Sawyer I m Looking forward to the third book, if it is ever written, although I probably would want to read the Dark Tower series before I read it Overall, I would say 3.5 5 stars rounded up.

  16. Dude, over twelve hundred other people have posted their thoughts about this book here, people like Gaiman and Rothfuss, and I m sure I can t think of anything that hasn t already been stated multiple times, and far eloquently so I liked it, but I liked the first one better The end.

  17. 3.5 starsUnlike The Talisman, this collaboration between my beloved King and Peter Straub fell a little flat for me I m quite upset, this is my first less than 4 star King I am not going to list all the things I didn t like about this book because I don t particularly like putting negative reviews out there, as I don t want people to not read the book and form their own opinions I will just say, for the negative parts, I did not like the narrative style, I didn t connect with Jack as much as in [...]

  18. I don t even know what to say about this book, except for negative things Not only did I not finish this book, but I am left completely disappointed in it I was expecting the same fuel The Talisman had for me, which I really, really enjoyed Boy, was I disappointed Not only was the storyline disappointing, the writing for me, was a disaster in the slow as molasses department I was excited about reading this with the friends I read it with, but now, I am left with really nothing nice to say about [...]

  19. I wrote this review in late 2001 for shortly after reading Black House for the first time Hello, My Name Is TreeRider and I m a Stephen King aholic.If you re a casual Stephen King or Peter Straub reader, or just a fan, this book may disappoint you Likewise if you re expecting further adventures of Jack Sawyer in the Territories Jack spends very little time in the Territories in Black House, and most of that comes near the end of the book I prepped myself for Black House by rereading The Talisma [...]

  20. Man, what were these two thinking There were things I liked about this novel There were things that I didn t like Like the first person plural bird s eye point of view that nearly drove me mad The first several chapters were extremely confusing because so much information was dumped on the reader all at once and it was hard to sort everything out I liked getting to revisit Travelin Jack to see what he was up to, but I feel that I would have understood Black House better if I had been familiar w [...]

  21. I m not sure the book is really a five star novel, but sometimes a novel just resonates with you, and Black House did with me I was emotionally involved with this book from the very beginning.Read Talisman first I don t think this book would be have as effective if you haven t read Talisman.That said, I actually didn t like Talisman as much as Black House But it did help me appreciate the main character, Jack Sawyer, that I really cared about him again when his story picks up again in Black Hous [...]

  22. I d forgotten how I found out about this book but I never regretted having bought it because it s one the best thrillers ever written I love it so much even after reading it thrice in the last 3 or 4 years and I d happily recommend it to anyone who loves reading thrillers This book is the collaborative efforts of two thriller maestros i.e Stephen King and Peter Straub The Black House is actually the sequel to their first collaborative effort which is called The Talisman The first book chronicled [...]

  23. I ve read it pretty quick after it was published in the Netherlands, let me check2001.What I remember is that I was very exited when I learned this book was coming, cause I loved the other book the 2 authors wrote together The Talisman One of my favourites and it had a lot of connection to Stephen King s other world Waste Lands, Dark Tower World.Ah writing this down and checking all my SK books I am starting to feels homesick I should call it SKsick Back before I read English I felt like I had n [...]

  24. Another prime example of why some sequels taste like half cooked food The Talisman was an experience in itself, a novel where you could only speculate as to which author wrote which part It was also a wonderful concoction of genres horror, coming of age and fantasy The sole reason why I decided to read the sequel was because I loved Talisman Disappointment is the only emotion I have about this book.After the first hundred pages, it was a completely disinterested way in which I approached the boo [...]

  25. This was a hard book to read at first The issue at stake is a serial killer who goes after children, small ones As the mother of a small child, you can understand why it was a bit hard to read I found it easier to read toward the middle, and the ending practically flew.This story picks up about 20 years after The Talisman leaves off Jack Sawyer is now in his 30s and is a retired police detective He s forgotten all about the journey he took back when he was 12 years old It s an interesting premis [...]

  26. This book was written like Stephen King and Peter Straub decided that since everyone enjoyed The Talisman SO ever much, they decided to write a book that broke EVERY writing rule in history, just to see how much money they could make I know both of these authors and know they are better than that I jave sofar read 28 Stephen King books and Ghost Story and Koko by Peter Straub I have not read The Talisman yet, but am planning to soon, although judging by this one, I will not be looking forward to [...]

  27. Travelin Jack Sawyer is all grown up, but has forgotten the adventure of his youth Now, after a short but brilliant career as a police detective in Los Angeles, Jack has retired to a small town in Wisconsin to try to escape a shock he cannot understand But Jack has touched the Talisman, and the other side doesn t release those who know its secrets so easily As a serial killer drives the local police to seek his help, Jack comes to realize that the true darkness that threatens this small town cou [...]

  28. I m really enjoying this book so far Talisman, wasn t my favorite Stephen King book, so I was a bit leery about a sequel It s interesting how diverse the opinions are on this book People seem to either love it or almost hate it I find that very interesting I m such a huge King fan, I couldn t imagine having such strong feelings against one of his books Well, so far so good I loved this book And for someone that didn t love The Talisman as much, this book brought it all together for me and made m [...]

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