REVIEW: Black House – Stephen King and Peter Straub – Harper Collins

UK cover — although my new edition is different still!

USA Cover

Title: Black House
Authors: Stephen King and Peter Straub
Pubisher: Harper Collins
Publish date: 2001. This edition 2009
ISBN: 9780007100446
Genre: Epic fantasy/horror
Length: 819 pages!
Audio book: 23 hours long! (I have that, too!)
Format: Paperback
Reviewer: Sassy Brit

An epic review of an epic tale

When young Ty Marshall mysteriously disappears from French Landing, Wisconsin, USA it is soon discovered that he has become a victim of the child killer The Fisherman aka Charles Burnside. Not only that, but Ty’s mother, Judy, has mentioned that someone whispers weird things to her about the Crimson King, serving the “abbalah” and the”opopanax”. Even though the loss of her son has sent her to an asylum, her husband, Fred, believes she is not completely crazy and that she does somehow have a connection to where their son is. It doesn’t mean he understands though.

Jack Sawyer, now a retired Los Angeles homicide detective chooses to face his fears and set out to save ten year old Ty with the help of some faithful friends. And some not so nice like reporter Wendell Green, who will stop at nothing to get his story. When the Sawyer gang come across a forboding black house, it’s clear that evil is attempting to hide something beyond their control, and in an effort to find Ty they are thrown into a parallel world, a dream country, called Faraway. Judy Marshall also knows that Jack has been there before. She knows, because she too has been there before.

This story is told in the present tense from the point of view of a rather witty and enthusiastic omniscient character who sees and knows all. Because of the entertaining way the story was told, this view didn’t sidetrack me, as I suspected at first it might. The narrator, I imagine to be a ghost/angel like figure, unravels an intricate tale of Black House – an epic fantasy adventure meant to be the follow up from The Talisman. Yes, the main protagonist was a grown up Jack Sawyer who starred in the previous book, and yes, the Territories, Twinners and the Crimson King were also mentioned, but it didn’t appear to be enough within all 819 pages to make this The Talisman Part II to me, so, this could easily be read as a stand alone book. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it. The story fits into both the fantasy and horror genre and with very specific grotesque details of blood and gore this is not a book to read while you are eating. I found that out the hard way. I enjoyed travelling with the characters as they made their way through the dream land, and it was nice to pick up on various literary references, which they dropped in. Sounded like these authors were having great fun writing this. The story finally came to a entertaining and quite sad end, in which the narrator warns us we may not like. I did. I also loved the way Stephen King and Peter Straub cleverly tied up all the loose ends, and characters we’d moved on from, reappeared with a vengeance.


Author: Sassy Brit, Author Assistant

Founder and Owner of author personal and virtual assistant. Editor and reviewer for #altread since 2005.

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