Lori by Robert Bloch

(No Series)

After graduating from college, Lori returns home only to lose her parents in a fire. In the wake of this tragedy, unusual events begin to unfold, starting with the discovery of a girl named Priscilla Fairmount in an old high school yearbook who looks just like Lori. But the yearbook is from before Lori was born! Now, suspected by the police for being involved in the fire, Lori begins a descent into madness, convinced that her "twin," Priscilla, is attempting to take over her mind... unaware of the brutal role she herself may be playing in the events which now shape her fate. From Robert Bloch, the master of American horror, Lori is a cerebral and terrifying read.

I’m always eager to dig into a Bloch creation – the man has a natural talent with words that makes writing seem effortless. It’s no wonder that when modern horror greats are asked who their inspirations were, Bloch makes most of those lists. That said, Lori proves the point that writing talent isn’t the only thing a book needs to make it worth reading.

The plot takes turns on the merry-go-round deciding what it wants to be. I’m guessing this wasn’t a pre-plotted piece. It flip flops between a murder mystery, psychological teaser, and all-out supernatural war. Blending the three works superbly if it’s cohesive; instead it turns out some of the hints aren’t fully realized at the end. I read segments and wondered where the story was going, it was impossible to tell; that unpredictability is usually good, but I think now that it’s all said and done that Bloch was finding his way and paving the story’s road while writing it. This caused more harm than success.

It starts subtle, slowly unraveling with confusion, but enough interest to keep me intrigued. Unfortunately the middle keeps confusion up too long where interest starts disappearing. The ending churned out a lackluster revelation, which I had semi-guessed already.

Lori was an okay heroine. She’s always convincing, but more likeable at the start than later. I didn’t understand her attraction to the doctor much and found her starting to get too snippy. There’s not many players in the story, none memorable enough to remember or grow attached to.

Overall Lori is a disappointing read. The very end was decent and slightly creepy, I just wish the entire book had that kind of impact. Bloch will always be worth reading, but this is a weaker offering from his collection. I guess they all had to have them.

   Book Quotes:

"So much for modern science and its wonderful discoveries that just about everything can kill you. Life is only a bedtime story before a long, long sleep."

   Interesting Tidbits:

Lori, published in 1989, was Bloch's last published novel before his death. He was continuously known as the "author of Psycho," even though he published more than 50 other novels, 50 other screenplays, and more than 400 short stories.

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