I thought that it was my duty to give a review of this book as there are none! Read on if you dare...
This book is good, and very interesting, but... I dunno... I sort of ended up with a feeling that it could have been even better, somehow; perhaps with a bit of additional and less biased focussing, and better chapter layouts? I'm not sure.
Anyway, you can't say it doesn't start at the beginning; the first chapter is about Ed Gein, the serial killer on which Robert Bloch based Norman Bates. It then progresses to Robert Bloch and his novel (including nice snippets of interviews with Bloch himself and later his bitter views of the film) before coming to rest on Hitchcock, whereupon the focus stays throughout the rest of the book.
The detail of the entire conception, production and release is very good, and interspersed with comments from many of the cast and crew. Lots of ambiguities exist also from varying memories, and the book does not try to say that one is right and one is wrong; instead it recites all the contrasting elements of the story (such as the highly argued: Did Hitchcock or Saul Bass direct the shower scene?) with the presumption that you make up your own mind about it. Anyone looking for factual answers to such discrepancies beware...
On the other hand, snippets of trivia which you thought were true are casually slaughtered by the author (eg, the myth that the working title of the film was "Wimpy") leaving a slight bad taste in the mouth and feeling of being conned.
All in all, though, the information is very good. My only real disappointment was that despite pages upon pages on detailed elements of the film such as lighting, etc, the saving grace and most memorable part of the film - Bernard Herrman's score - is given a measly stinking half a page. The author may not be musical himself, but when talking about the one movie famous for the power of film-music, I'd expected more in-depth analysis of it rather than a vague description of the score being "music that throbbed sonorously". (That's virtually it about the music, believe it or not).
The after-math final chapter could have used some better focus as well; the author seemed to take delight in rubbishing the "Friday the 13th" and "Nightmare on Elm Street" franchises, but only lists John Carpenter's "Halloween", which of course was a direct homage to "Psycho", and which sparked off all the multitudes of teen slashers. Depth wasn't needed on the subject, but by raising the subject of slasher films and not mentioning the link between "Psycho" and "Halloween" seems ignorant, in my opinion.
But enough of these silly gripes. It's a good book, it is, really. Perhaps the layout and chapters could have been better, I'm not sure. Perhaps it could have focussed on a couple of things which I was interested in (eg, the music). But it is the most in-depth book about "Psycho" out there.
(Okay, so I made that up. I haven't read any other book about "Psycho". Don't think I feel the need to, though.)