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In The Dark Of The Night: A Novel

by John Saul
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • Publishing date: 18/07/2006
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780345487018
  • ISBN: 034548701X

Synopsis

Summer vacation becomes a season in hell for an ordinary family who unwittingly stir something invisible, insidious, and insatiable from its secret slumber–unleashing a wave of horror only the darkest evil could create, that only a master of spine-tingling terror like John Saul could orchestrate. For deep in the shadows in the dark of the night lurks something as big as life . . . and as real as death.

It has waited seven years for someone to come back to the rambling lakeside house called Pinecrest, which has stood empty since its last owner went missing. For upscale Chicago couple Dan and Merrill Brewster, the old midwestern manse is an ideal retreat, and for their kids, Eric and Marci, it’s the perfect place to spend a lazy summer exploring. Which is how Eric and his teenage friends discover the curious cache of discarded objects stowed in a hidden room of Pinecrest’s carriage house. The bladeless hacksaws, shadeless lamps, tables with missing legs, headless axe handle, and other unremarkable items add up to a pile of junk. Yet someone took the trouble to inventory each worthless relic in a cryptic ledger. It has all the makings of a great mystery–whispering, coaxing, demanding to be solved.

But the more the boys devote themselves to restoring the forgotten possessions and piecing together the puzzle behind them, the more their fascination deepens into obsession. Soon their days are consumed with tending the strange, secret collection–while their nights become plagued by ever more ghastly dreams, nightmares that soon seep into reality. And when a horrifying discovery surfaces, so does the chilling truth–about the terrifying events that rocked the town seven years before, the mysterious disappearance of Pinecrest’s last resident, and a twisted legacy with a malevolent life of its own . . . and a bottomless hunger for new victims.

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  • Not Saul's best, but entertaining regardless
    From Amazon

    I have long been a John Saul fan. The writer's knack for knowing the human psyche, especially in children, gives a sense of truth to his work and puts the reader squarely in the middle of average lives interrupted by supernatural influences. It's a sort of horror-genre "reluctant hero" situation, and nobody does it better than Saul. In the Dark of the Night, stacked against those expectations, is a bit of a disappointment. In the Dark of the Night is more gore than horror, and "reads" rather formulaically. True, Saul's already got a formula. But usually there are enough twists, or specific personal challenges, to make each story fresh. Not this time. In the Dark of the Night begins with the hesitation of middle-aged mom Merrill to vacation with her family a state away. The premise is good, and will capture the interest of likeminded souls (mothers, teenagers, people who have presumably unwarranted fears, and the like). Unfortunately, Merrill is not cleverly exampled as skittish; she's outright pegged as so, leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination. John, you know better than anyone: show, don't tell! Saul's overenthusiasm in this book for explanation takes this quick, snap-up beginning and drags it a bit too long for some reader's tastes; hang in there with it, the writing itself is good, and if it's shock factor you're looking for, don't worry, you will find it. The other leading players in this novel also have firm bases. But like Merrill, they tend to be one-dimensional, sometimes in a way that leads us to disbelief--not the "Oh wow!" kind, but the "Oh, please" variety. The father, for instance, is level-headed, calm and none too easily ruffled; so far, so good. Unfortunately this pigeonhole stretches the reader's credulity by extending even to the murder of a local citizen, to which the father reacts by telling his wife this is no reason to leave their summer place. The idea is that after all, it's only one unexplained death. And besides, how is 40-something Merrill ever to get over her unreasonable fears if she runs away from just one body, exactly her son's age, washing up half a mile from her summer home? Er...come again? The three teenage boys in the book are virtually interchangeable. I found myself glazing over the actual names and then trying to recall to which suburban cut-out parents the given boy belonged. It was extremely difficult to get into, and hence feel for, any of these boys, including the apparent ringleader, not through leadership but by more written exposure by Saul. In addition, none of the three seems to put the brakes on even when the murders begin to occur. These are presumably intelligent, well-off, educated boys. There is simply not enough motive, in my opinion, for them to continue with their "investigation", fully knowing that each time they enter the carriage house, something really, really, really gnarly is going to happen. As I said, you will find some good horror here. It's a bit of the stomach-turning variety, so watch out. I commend Saul here. He got down-'n-gory with this one, delving into the distasteful and culturally taboo in the name of his art, and that's a bold move. I won't give any more spoilers; you won't need them, as you'll have it all locked up by just over halfway through. The book, however, is worth checking out if only for Saul's catchy, readable style and for a chill or two. I do still await Saul's next literary creation and must cut him some slack on this latest book. He has, after all, been churning out bone-chilling creations for four decades. It's hard to stay fresh for that length of time, especially when leaning on one particular theme (horror; youngsters). I'd had a hint of this slowing down of creative juices out of Saul previously when reading Black Creek Crossing. Luckily, what Black Creek Crossing had--but The Dark of the Night didn't--was the additional element of telling the reader about something she may not have full knowledge of; in this case, witchcraft. But that's another review for another day. BOTTOM LINE: Don't shell out the clams for the hard cover, but do check this one out next time you're at the library.

  • In The Dark of the Night Novel by John Saul
    From Amazon

    I have not read the book yet, but it arrived in good condition and in a timely manner.

  • fluff
    From Amazon

    I kept this book in my car to read whenever I was waiting somewhere for an appointment. It's an easy read, and one that you can pick up after a week without forgetting what's happening in the story. It was an 'okay' book for this purpose...not great, and not a page-turner...just 'fluff'.

  • Subpar John Saul
    From Amazon

    When John Saul gets it right he hits a definite home run and writes very satisfying creepy, suspenseful thriller novels. He is gifted at using teens as main characters in novels meant for adults. This is pretty much a beginning formula for him and he adds a unique and satisfying plot for a great read. Sadly, when he misses he totally strikes out. Don't get me wrong - I love John Saul. I have read everything he has written. But IN THE DARK OF THE NIGHT is at the bottom of the list. The novel never picks up any steam after page one. The basic story is of Eric Brewster, a teen and two of his friends and the dangers they face at a summer home. The Brewster's have rented an age old house and Eric's mother has a bad feeling about the house all the way there and even after they arrive. The reader should take this as a sign and have the same fear about this book. Turn back and avoid it. Sadly, there are no redeeming factors here. The horrors the boys face are not suspenseful and the story lacks any momentum. It never picks up and the ending is less than satisfying. I highly recommend John Saul, just not this novel. If you are new to Mr. Saul start with his early works, DARKNESS in particular or his latest FACES OF FEAR. Both of these are quality psycvhological suspense thrillers. John Saul can definitely do it right. Just make sure it is the right book.

  • A John Saul Fan
    From Amazon

    I have read every book John Saul has written. I have never been bored and usually start and finish the same day because i cannot put it down, This book was no different. His books are riveting,suspenseful,entertaining amd fascinating. I hope he keeps them coming for a long time to come!

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