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Black Houseby Stephen King and Peter Straub
Synopses & Reviews
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 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.
"Black House allows us to see two master craftsmen, each at the top of his 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." Neil Gaiman, The Washington Post Book World
"[A]n immensely satisfying follow-up, a brilliant and challenging dark fantasy that fans of both authors are going to love....What is probably the most anticipated novel of the year turns out to be its most memorable to date, a high point in both the King and Straub canons." Publishers Weekly
"Black House cants more in the direction of horror (as opposed to fantasy) than The Talisman did, perhaps an indication that King and Straub realized that good fantasy calls on talents that they just don't have, at least not in abundance. While that shift ought to make the sequel the stronger of the two books, strangely it doesn't; instead it just emphasizes how incompatible the two genres can be....Because Black House isn't so firmly grounded in [the real] world, because it keeps having to refer back to a fantasyland that never feels as dense and as believed in as, say, Middle Earth, the novel has to strain for its chills." Laura Miller, Salon.com
"[King and Straub] have an almost Dickensian knack for writing about ordinary people...and making them vivid, complicated and frequently heroic....Jack's saga overflows with dark wit, sly literary references, suspense, and heartache. What elevates Black House beyond ordinary horror novels is the richness of its cast..." Mary Elizabeth Williams, The New York Times Book Review
"Extraordinary....Hard to put down." People
"An intelligent...suspenseful page-turner....It?s a relief to find popular fiction that is as unpretentious yet rich in literary allusion and human detail as Black House." The Wall Street Journal
"The auxiliaries are more colorful than Jack, and their eccentricities compensate for the hackneyed plot; verbose, wisenheimer wordplay; and annoyingly self-conscious, 'floating camera'-style narration. The King-Straub nightmare-team clearly strains to entertain this time." Ray Olson, Booklist
"Every word grips. I could not say when I have enjoyed reading a novel more. From page one, Stephen King and Peter Straub have promised to give us a joy of storying. I take their word." John Clute, SciFi.com
"It may be unsettling to the earlier novel's many acolytes, but I think that Black House is a better novel than The Talisman, one that is more wholly and comfortably what it is, and some kind of dark masterpiece. On the strength of what Straub and King have accomplished here, both in terms of narrative drive and genre manipulations...I'm ready for whatever the scribbling fellows are up to next." Locus
"[A] thrilling epic packed with horrific monsters...and a surprisingly potent emotional payoff....Writing fiction is generally a solo exercise, and collaborations often smack of gimmickry. Yet this partnership brings out both writer's strengths — King's down-and-dirty storytelling and Straub's more sweeping literary style." Entertainment Weekly
"Black House is a thriller, so let it thrill you. But notice the slippage, into chaos and bricolage. It's the usual Kingly mix of high, low, and middle-management cultures, a bouillabaisse of Moby Dick and Alice in Wonderland..." New York Review of Books
"There are weaknesses....In the end, however, we forgive these faults, because the community and the men, women and children who suffer to preserve it are so well drawn." Times Literary Supplement (U.K.)
"Those who haven't read The Talisman, the Dark Tower series, and Hearts In Atlantis will often be at sea here. Worse, they'll be lost amid purple prose that piles up rhetorical questions, ascribes emotions and interpretations to the reader, and chummily narrates in the first-person plural....The target audience of [King fans] will likely seek it out and soak it up, and complain later, if at all." Tasha Robinson, The Onion A.V. Club
"This long...atmospheric novel, filled with glimpses of King's seemingly effortless ability to grip a reader with sheer terror, also contains some unexpected touches..." BookPage.com
"[King and Straub] have produced a novel that is, on occasion, the literary equivalent of two divas singing their hearts out, stretching every last note in an attempt to continue to be heard and not to be outdone....They are skillful, deliciously silly showmen who teeter close to vaudeville and whose talents highlight both horror's inherent childishness and its boundless thrills." The Guardian (U.K.)
In the long-awaited sequel to The Talisman, retired homicide detective Jack Sawyer is drawn back to a parallel universe called the Territories, where he must 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.
The bestselling sequel to "The Talisman" is now in paperback. It's been 20 years since Jack Sawyer entered the Territories to save his mother, but he has no memory of those events. Now a retired homicide detective, Jack lives in rural Wisconsin, where a series of gruesome murders draws him back to the Territories. There he must enter a terrifying house and face the evils sheltered in it.
About the Author
Stephen King is the author of more than thirty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, the novelist Tabitha King.
Peter Straub is the author of fourteen novels, which have been translated into more than twenty foreign languages. He lives in New York City with his wife, Susan, director of the Project Read to Me.
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