Robert Bloch
Psycho Cover

As a psychological thriller, Psycho still holds up


On one level it's a damn shame that we all already know the ending to this one, because it might make reading the book seem a pointless endeavour (and just in case you've been living under a rock on a remote Polynesian atoll up until this point, I will not repeat the ending here).

I would not call Psycho a literary masterpiece as such, but Bloch expertly builds the tension in the narrative, even giving us a few false leads and starts, and the Norman Bates of the novel comes across as insane at what you might call a "galactic" level while still allowing for a little empathy.

The only novel I can really compare it to is John D. MacDonald's The Executioners (later adapted as Cape Fear and often reprinted under that title) which I also read this year, but whereas MacDonald often gets his plot lost under his own character and world-building (too much background as well at some points), making the reading experience unfortunately too dull at points to continue without a break (a week at one point), Bloch balances character and plot, and keeps the pacing fast, but not too fast; I read the last half of the novel in one sitting.

In short, quick and very much worth your time.