April 4, 2011

The Unloved by John Saul

Title:  The Unloved
Author:  John Saul
Format:  PB
Pages:  358
Genre:  Horror
Publisher:  Bantam, 1988
ISBN-13:  978-0553272611
Series:  Stand Alone

Favorite Quote:  Ruby settled her weight into the chair opposite him, grunting slightly with the effort.  "You're back, and you'll stay back.  No Devereaux has ever left Sea Oaks yet."

Synopsis (Amazon):  Lush and deceptively tranquil, the secluded island  basks in splendid isolation off the South Carolina coast--as does the Devereaux mansion, a once-great  plantation house now crumbling amidst the ancient oaks. Now, for the first time in two decades, Kevin Devereaux has returned here with his wife and  children to visit Kevin's hated, and frightening  mother. She said she was ill--but is that really why the old woman has summoned the son she has not seen in so many years? Suddenly, horribly, one of the Devereauxs is going to die. And now, all the dark secrets of this once-proud family will emerge  to wrap their evil around the unsuspecting children. Until, in the shadowed corridors and dust-covered rooms of the decaying old house, they learn the true terror of The Unloved.

Review:  It was time for a change of pace and this book was just the ticket, suspense and horror bound together in a aging woman's insanity.  Finished in under 24 hours, this book is reminiscent of a good Koontz or even S. King novel, but this author has a style all his own.  He built up the story until I was on the edge of my seat, knowing something horrible was going to happen, but not what or to whom or when.

When the story reached its peak, it was frightening and full of shudders, the kind of scenes where I would probably want to close my eyes if it were a movie.  And, then, just when I thought it was safe, with the children now-grown and moving on with their lives, the ending came crashing in.  The madness has spread to the next generation.

The story was original enough and the book fast-paced.  The evil grandmother was known from the start, but the aunt suddenly continuing the insanity came in spurts, with just enough uncertainty to leave me barely hoping that I was wrong.  All in all, this book was a good example of horror fiction.

Rating:  6.5 / 10

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