Posts Tagged ‘John Saul’

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Suffer the Children holds a very special place in my dark little heart because not only is it the first John Saul novel I ever read, but it’s one of the books that initially turned me on to horror. 

And no one does horror like John Saul. His terrorific tales have the ability to make you forget that you’re safe in the natural world – and Suffer the Children is a great example of that. It centers on a tale about a family curse that was begun when, long ago, the Conger patriarch killed his own daughter. 

Now, generations later, Jack Conger has reason to believe the curse is real. When, in a drunken rage, he inexplicably assaults his youngest daughter, Sarah – who consequently stops speaking and slips into her own fantasy world – it seems history is beginning to repeat itself. 

Their older daughter, Elizabeth, takes on a kind of mother-role as Jack and his wife try putting the pieces back together but as the family attempts to heal itself, local children begin to disappear and the Congers’ precariously balanced world is about to come crashing down.   

Suffer the Children is old-school horror, which is to say that it pulls no punches; it doesn’t tiptoe around delicate subject matter and, in fact, seems to relish its ability to disturb the reader. I, for one, appreciate that and recommend this book to anyone who likes a little depravity in their fiction. If you have a taste for turmoil and penchant for peril, Suffer the Children just might be up your dark and shadowed alley. 

For more, visit Alistair on Bookbub

Today at 6 pm EST, it’s the return of legendary #horror author, John Saul, on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! Listen in at: https://tinyurl.com/y8qumy4g
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John Saul has been a New York Times bestselling author since 1977.  He has written 37 thrillers.  His books cover the genres of psychological, occult, scientific and paranormal thrillers.  John Saul’s Blackstone Chronicles was a best selling serialized novel and best selling adventure computer game.  Cry for the Strangers was made into a film.  He has also written a number of plays and published books under various pseudonyms.  He currently lives in both the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.

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When I discovered the books of John Saul in the late nineties, he quickly became my go-to for damned good horror. I devoured Suffer the Children, The Unloved, and Second Child in succession, and after a short break, went back for more. Currently, I’ve read nineteen of John Saul’s novels, and the latest, Hellfire, is right up there on my list of favorites.

In true John Saul fashion, Hellfire centers on a young protagonist, Beth, who wants more than anything to fit in. Hellfire is complete with a broken family, a spoiled, malevolent stepsister, Tracy, and the twisted, psychotic matriarch, Abigail, who just can’t seem to keep her nose where it belongs. When Beth’s mother, Carolyn, marries the rich Philip Sturgess, Carolyn and Beth move to Hilltop, the Sturgess home.

Beth isn’t happy at Hilltop, and finds herself fascinated with the old shoe mill on the property, which caught fire and has been shut down for many decades. Strange things happen in the mill – including the deaths of two boys under the same eerie circumstances several decades apart – but when Beth believes she’s made contact with the spirit of a young girl who died there a century earlier, things go from bad to disastrous.

One of my favorite things about John Saul’s books is that you never know how they’re going to end. Sometimes the good guys win, and sometimes the baddies conquer all. Hellfire is an example of Saul’s mastery of the surprise ending, and I’d recommend this book to horror-lovers of every stripe.

After many, many years, John Saul remains one of my favorite horror authors and if you haven’t checked him out, I urge you to do so. If you want a better feel for what he does, check out our interview with him at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! where we talked to him about horror, writing, and his long prolific career. He was as charming, fun, and fascinating as I could have ever hoped he’d be, and it was an honor to spend time with him. To listen to his show, click here.