I first read this novel (well, technically it’s a collection of short novels..novellas? written and published one at a time in a series. It’s called a serial novel and it seems to come and go in phases–Stephen King started the modern craze with his serial novel The Green Mile, and John Saul thanks King at the end of this book for King’s endless help and advice) several years ago. I’m a sucker for creepy horror stories…especially those that plumb the depths of human depravity.
This is the story of a lonely(ish) man who has moved back to his childhood town. He grew up the son of the mental hospital’s caretaker, and moved away as soon as his father died. Now he’s back, and has to face the demons he ran away from so many years before.
John Saul does a brilliant job of capturing the quaint subtleties of a small town, while impregnating each aspect with just enough creepiness to give you the shivers. I reread this book not to long ago, and liked it just as much as I did the first time. They’ve even made a cute little video game from the book–one of those “hover your mouse around until you find the hotspot” deals where you have to solve riddles and catch a killer. It was pretty well done, if a little trite. I enjoyed it.