Suffer the Children Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jan 1999
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About the Author
John Saul's first novel, Suffer the Children, was an immediate million-copy bestseller. His other bestselling suspense novels include Perfect Nightmare, Black Creek Crossing, and The Presence. He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling serial thriller The Blackstone Chronicles, initially published in six installments but now available in one complete volume. Saul divides his time between Seattle and Hawaii.
Top customer reviews
This is a pretty scary novel, largely because the horror centers around the two young sisters Elizabeth and Sarah. The description of the gloomy woods around the home and the truly dangerous embankment nearby help produce a great dark atmosphere, but Saul's description of a series of horrible events is especially unsettling. The story gets pretty gruesome at one point, and I think some horror writers would not be bold enough to go as far as Saul did. Saul committed himself fully to this novel and dared to describe everything in great detail; combine that with his incredibly effective characterization of the two sisters and you get a true horror classic in every sense of the word. Saul hooks you securely in his clutches and drags you down with him into the pits of depravity. The ending did not provide me with a complete feeling of closure, but I certainly have no quarrel with it; in fact, the evil Saul so vividly describes almost defies comprehension and thus necessitates the type of ending Saul chose to give us. I would highly recommend this novel to any horror fan--Saul creates a psychological atmosphere of real terror that essentially oozes out of the pores of each page.
The tale starts off with an unnerving prologue that sets out the beginnings of a tense atmosphere that will encapsulate the entire novel. Saul plunges straight into the somewhat taboo and psychologically difficult premise for any reader to take on board, with harsh glimpses of child cruelty and violence towards these youngsters. Suggestions of incestuous rape are hinted upon, but this is never really taken on board fully.
With such a strong opening, Saul has set his readers on edge, and now lays down a well written tale of psychological suspense that builds its tension towards a slightly predictable conclusion.
The characterization within the tale is well developed and forms an intrinsic element to the storyline, with the plot focussed around the seemingly dysfunctional family of the Conger's.
The tale draws heavily upon the dark psychology of the mind, with strong elements of mental problems forming the main thrust behind the characters interaction.
Loose moments of paranormal explanations are dropped in with an increasing frequency, laying down what soon becomes a haunting tale of almost demonic possession.
The tale wraps up nicely at the end, with a predictable yet satisfying conclusion. The grand finale to the tales peaks earlier than expected, but certainly delivers in strength and sheer bloodthirsty horror.
With such a powerful and unnerving novel under his belt, it's no wonder that Saul went on to write many horror novels over the ensuing years. Yet it would certainly be difficult to top `Suffer The Children' for sheer mounting tension and such a no holds barred approach to such a tricky theme.
If you enjoyed James Herbert's novel `Shrine', Mendal Johnson's 'Let's Go Play At The Adams' or indeed David Seltzer's `The Omen' then you may well want to give this novel a read.
The novel lasts for 315 pages and does include some strong moments.
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