Psycho: Sanitarium

Chet Williamson. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-06105-8
Horror author Williamson (Murder in Cormyr) ably succeeds in the tough task of creating a sequel to Robert Bloch’s masterpiece, Psycho; a prequel to the less effective Psycho II; and a solid story in its own right. Norman Bates was committed to a California state asylum at the end of the original Psycho. He’s slowly keeping the “Mother” side of his personality down, thanks to the help of psychologist Felix Reed. But his treatment faces many obstacles, including the asylum’s electroshock-obsessed superintendent, Dr. Goldberg, the asylum’s own dark history, and the appearance of Norman’s long-lost brother. When someone starts murdering inmates and employees, it puts Norman’s recovery in danger. Williamson takes advantage of the 1960s setting to throw in plot lines generally underused in horror (including a subplot around a Holocaust survivor), and there are enough twists to keep things moving at a breakneck pace. The novel shines when he focuses on Norman and both his internal struggles with his “Mother” personality and his awkwardness around his newfound sibling. Whenever Norman gets the spotlight, the novel feels like a lost Bloch work. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/29/2016
Release date: 04/12/2016
Ebook - 978-1-4668-6677-5
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