Psycho II by Robert Bloch

(Psycho, #2)

You remember Norman Bates-the shy motel manager with the fatal mother fixation. Now, years after his bout of butchery that horrified the world, Norman is at large again, breaking free from the psycho ward, cutting a shocking swath of blood all the way to Hollywood-where, so it happens, they are making a movie about Norman's life and crimes. A movie that suddenly and terrifyingly becomes a lot like real life....

Norman Bates is still insane, but he's treated well enough as a librarian overseer in the the mental ward of a psychiatric hospital. Years of therapeutic work unravels when a nun confronts his enemies for him. After his great escape, his psychiatrist hunts him down, tracking him to the places he's most likely to hit next.

A very quick read - mainly due to Bloch's easily absorbed writing style - Psycho II mainly offers general slasher quibbles but does toss in a small surprise or two. It's not a creatively done story, but it's an effort to continue a book that made the author so famous and well regarded. It's playful though, and I do like how he incorporated the psychology of religion and the strangeness of nuns and their association with birds.

The characters are likeable enough. Being in Norman's head again shows him as resentful, pouty, but holding himself as superior. I liked the doctor. Bloch puts in random character viewpoints, some not needed, but it does give a more realistic dimension of the selfish traits people have, as well as how widely scoped violent tendencies are.

The story is saved a star and impression because of a twist in the end I didn't see coming. It makes sense to follow a clever ending like that considering the source material, but I still wasn't expecting it. Looking back, the clues are obvious, but it still makes a fun ending for this sort of simple story.

   Book Quotes:

“Strange how everyone tried to disguise truth with nonsense. Like the slang for death: kicking the bucket, wiped out, snuffed, wasted, blown away. The light touch to dispel the heavy fear.”

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