Psycho by Robert Bloch

(Psycho, #1)

It was a dark and stormy night when Mary Crane glimpsed the unlit neon sign announcing the vacancy at the Bates motel. Exhausted, lost, and at the end of her rope, she was eager for a hot shower and a bed for the night. Her room was musty but clean and the plumbing worked. Norman Bates, the manager, seemed nice, if a little odd.

“Mothers sometimes are overly possessive, but not all children allow themselves to be possessed.”

Psycho – It seems like I’ve wanted to read this book forever. When I was a teenager, I had an old paperback copy of Psycho house, which I never got around to, but I was never lucky enough to nab a copy of this gem. When watching the movie, the story is impressive, especially the ending with Norman's inner monologue. I've always loved Robert Bloch as an author, his writing style does it for me, so this read being a love should have been a no-brainer.

Surprisingly the book wasn't perfect insta-love. I don't know if it was the publishing climate of the time or if Bloch meant for it to be a short dip in his career, but the story is restrictively small. The movie held more content and time for plot and character development, while the book was barely over a hundred pages. The pace was slow at times - such as the beginning with Norman's inner reflection - but sped up during other character scenes when it could have slowed down and held more for a wow impact.

I suppose I keep picturing Norman Bates as Anthony Perkins, but the original character was much different, being a balding, aging, overweight man. It was intriguing to see inside his mind, how it shied away from sexual intimacy, but it still felt awkward. Mary matched the movie a lot and I loved being in her head, for her thought process made sense and she’s intriguing - I only wish her scenes were further drawn out and more indepth as it seems she died too quickly.

The sister and boyfriend helping to 'solve' the crimes were the slower parts of the story; they just weren't that interesting. The detective was an excellent character, but unfortunately bleeds out of the pages as well. The ending lacked some of the oomph its cinematic offspring had, but I dug how Bloch handled it in book form too. Hitchcock was a master at cinema so he took this and made it even better as a movie, not a usual feat. However, Bloch was also a master of the word and, even if this story is brilliant, he seemed to hold back a little too much with this one and its length.

   Book Quotes:

“Magic--that's just a label, you know. Completely meaningless. It wasn't so very long ago that people were saying that electricity was magic.” 

“I think perhaps all of us go a little crazy at times.”

   Cover Gallery:


   Similar Reviews: