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Suffer the Children

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  19,105 ratings  ·  191 reviews
One hundred years ago in Port Arbello a pretty little girl began to scream. And struggle. And die. No one heard. No one saw. Just one man whose guilty heart burst in pain as he dashed himself to death in the sea. Now something peculiar is happening in Port Arbello. The children are disappearing, one by one. An evil history is repeating itself. And one strange, terrified ch ...more
Paperback, 378 pages
Published July 1st 1989 by Dell (first published 1977)
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The Blackstone Chronicles by John SaulSuffer the Children by John SaulThe Manhattan Hunt Club by John SaulShadows by John SaulBlack Creek Crossing by John Saul
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tammy Walton Grant
“I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I'll go for the gross-out. I'm not proud.”
Stephen King, Danse Macabre


I read a couple of John Saul books when I was around 12. I don't remember much about them other than the undertone o
After hearing so much about this particular novel, I chanced upon it at the local used bookstore. I finished it in two days. This is the first Saul novel I've read, and I have to say that I enjoyed it. The writing was fast-paced, the characters were tolerable, even though Elizabeth annoyed me in whatever characterization she appeared. Normally I am able to read through most disturbing scenes in novels. I'm somehow built up a tolerance to them. But whether it was because of the inclusion of child ...more
Manish Meshram
The first book that I had picked up of John Saul was "The Right hand of Evil".It was very dark book and it impressed me.So I thought let's go back to from where Johhn Saul started it all.And thats how a picked up a copy of "Suffer the Children".
After reading the book it left me totally numbed. There are just no words to decribe the emotional roller coaster ride that this book took me on.
The best part of this book is the just shatters you completely and stays with you for a very long
May 13, 2008 Erik rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: folks who have run out of other horror novels to read.
I don't recall being blown away by any of John Saul's books, but this one stuck more than the others. Perhaps it's because it was my first horror novel. I don't know. There are scenes in this book that still haunt me (don't worry, no spoilers).
Jason P

Have you ever picked up a book after looking at the cover and letting your mind wonder how cool the book is going to be because the cover art was cool, or it led your mind to think that the book was going to be amazing? This is exactly what I did with Jon Saul's Suffer the Children. I read the back cover and it led me to think that it was going to be a mixture of the Poltergeist and the Amityville horror, and after reading it, I definitely got that impression.

Fact: Children do suffer in this nov
2 1/2 STARS
Back in the late 80's and early 90's I discovered John Saul's books. Unfortunately, I read all of the ones I could get my hands on one right after the other and now I don't remember which ones I read and which ones I didn't (I do know that I stopped reading his stuff after he and his publishers released "The Blackstone Chronicles" series which was published as 6 novelettes; an obvious attempt to copy the successful "Green Mile" series of Stephen King). Therefore, I have decided to sta
Mar 10, 2012 Dani rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Horror fans. Intense Uncomfortable Situation Fans.
Few books have struck me with such ferocious intensity as Suffer the Children by John Saul. A lot of horror books tempt you with their promises of monsters so horrible they could not possibly exist in the real world. What are truly horrifying are the monsters that do exist here in our everyday lives. They may even exist inside of us.

This is the tale of a haunting. While some may have taken this book as a ghost story, I instead saw a story about generational violence and the inherited shame of in
My very first John Saul novel, one of several that I picked up at the Barrie Flea Market last year. It was good as well as creepy.

The characters seemed like normal, everyday people - a family with problems, and strange happenings.

Several times, I was shocked, dismayed, angry, and freaked right out. What happens in the novel doesn't seem so far-fetched, and it's scary how real it seems. The end made me feel helpless and I shuddered at something else.

Want to read an older psycho thriller, this one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
P.S. Gifford
I now Saul isn't everyone's 'cup o' tea' and I appreciate this. However this book is very dear to my heart. I read it when I was twelve back in 1977 and it kindled my desire to want to write.

Having recently re-read it i still enjoyed it. It did not impact me as much as the first few times around- but that was 30 plus years ago....And I suspect I have matured (at least a little).

I would still urge any fans of horror to at least give this book a shot if you have not already done so.

Nox Veneno
A two star rating doesn't make a book bad, especially not if it got two strong stars like this one, it just means exactly what the two-star rating on GoodReads says it means; it was OK.

The story was a bit all over the place, the narrating did keep a nice and steady pace, but none of the characters were engaging enough to invest any real interest in. It's like we were presented with so many different characters with different issues that we weren't give the time to delve deeper into them and get
With this being his first novel, John Saul starts his writing career with what would become his trademark. Stories dealing with kids and young teenagers. This one dealing with a family legend that started a hundred years ago, and continues today. Some towns kids are missing, and they seem to be disappearing near the Conger house. 3.5 stars on his first effort.
I read this book when I was a teenager and can hardly remember a thing about it other than that it scared the crap out of me at the time. Small town, evil kid, and a horrible, dreadful scene involving a cat that I've completely blocked from my mind.
John Saul at his very best! Suffer the Children is a chilling horror classic. The descriptions of setting and character are truly unsettling. This is a great read.
Melissa ownsbey
i enjoyed the book very much
i am a big fan of john sauls books
i didnt win this from good reads
Cat lovers should not read this.

I know this is John Saul's first book and I've only read Comes the blind fury besides this, but I'm starting to notice a pattern here:
-100 years ago some heavy stuff happened to a little girl...
-A deadly cliff near the main character's house where bad things happen.
-Another little girl in the 'present' day starts acting weird under the shadow of that one from the past, shit goes down and people start to die.
-Adults are oblivious and unable to outsmart a kid.
-Dolls resembling th
Elizabeth Nesbit-comer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It looks like everyone here is also a rereader so I will start my review now even though I am not sure if I have ever read this particular book. My gut is saying no.

I read a lot of John Saul books in the 80s and 90s from approximately the ages of 12 and 25. I remember the first one being Nathaniel. I found it in a used bookstore in Hollywood and I was hooked. I read many of them out of order as either library books or thriftshop finds. The last one was about something creepy going down in Seatt
The story revolves around the Conger family and the legend/curse that has shadowed their clan for 100 years.

Jack is the editor of the local small time newspaper while his wife, Rose, is the local up-and-coming hotshot in the real estate world. They have two daughters. Elizabeth is their oldest and is a godsend. She is calm, intelligent and extremely helpful on the exterior, but there’s a simmering rage and unresolved issues not far below the surface. Sarah is their youngest.

A year ago, in a dru
First published back in 1977, `Suffer The Children' was John Saul's first published novel, introducing the world to this now reasonably well known author within the horror scene. The novel sold very well (with the cover stating that it is now a `million copy bestseller') and started off Saul's writing career with a good solid platform from which to branch out from.

The tale starts off with an unnerving prologue that sets out the beginnings of a tense atmosphere that will encapsulate the entire n
Jan 11, 2012 Lyla rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone that likes being creeped out by kids
Shelves: horror
There's nothing worse than a creepy kid...unless you're dealing with a possessed one.(view spoiler) ...more
Honderd jaar geleden dwaalde een vrolijk, 11-jarig meisje met goudblonde lokken en grote stralende ogen door het bos. Niets vermoedend joeg zij achter een konijntje aan. Plotseling kruist een donkere schaduw haar pad. Hij verbrijzelt de schedel van het konijn en grijpt het meisje. Enkel minuten later is ze dood. Hij verbergt het kinderlijkje en keert terug naar zijn woning met het lijkje van het konijn. Uren zat hij bewegingloos in zijn stoel voordat hij een besluit nam. Hij ging naar de rotsen ...more
This is a book that I first read when I was around 16/17. The second read much much later a realised that this book is unjust and inexplicable. A father admits that when wanted to rape his daughter but instead beat her up so badly she catatonic and this goes unchallenged by anyone in the book?@$*)@ Not the town sheriff or the daughter's psychiatrist, not her mother or any of the town members. So the central theme of the book is familial rape that goes not only unpunished but repeated through the ...more
I read this book as a teenager and re-read it several times over the years - probably my favorite horror book of that time of my life. I recently picked it up after not having read it for 25 years at least. Now it's so disturbing to me that I gabe away my original copy. Maybe it's because I'm a parent now but I couldn't stomach the story anymore. I couldn't get through it.
Obviously this was not one of the John Saul books I read as a teen, I would have remembered it. I don't know how anyone can say that this book was "scary." I've read a number of Stephen King novels that actually gave me chills and terrified me to turn the page. Sadly, I cannot say that about this novel. The story was fast paced and I was interested in the beginning and rather liked it...until the scenes in the cave. They were just way too disturbing for me and I quickly lost interest. Since I st ...more
Can't exactly say I 'liked' this book enough to give it any stars -- it's just too horrible and shocking for that. It kept me reading well into the night as I couldn't put it down, and I can't say that I enjoyed it as much as it just wouldn't let me go. I guess that's the mark of a good story -- no matter how horrible the subject matter.
* According to Wikipedia, this first novel was the result of Dell Publishing asking Saul if he was interested in writing a psychological thriller. Perhaps that framework accounts for the book's disturbing themes and its more gruesome scenes. Not that Saul does much more than scratch the surface, but when the surface is child molestation and serial murder, it's possible to get away with that (in a horror novel).

* Saul gets away with quite a bit, really: characters that flip-flop so often it's a w
HastyWords HastyWords
John Saul was one of those authors I read in High School 20 something...ummm...ugh... years ago. I remember this one and Punish the Sinners so clearly. His words had a way of sweeping you away to a horrifying world where not even closing the book would bring you completely back.
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Did anyone suspect the shocking ending? 2 37 Dec 30, 2012 03:18AM  
The Manhattan Hun...: Suffer The Children (Group Read - October 2011) 24 29 Sep 22, 2012 05:51PM  
Goodreads Librari...: ISBN#0-440-18293-X 5 26 Aug 22, 2011 07:06AM  
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John Saul was born in Pasadena, California on February 25, 1942, and grew up in Whittier where he graduated from Whittier High School in 1959. He attended several colleges—Antioch, in Ohio, Cerritos, in Norwalk, California, Montana State University and San Francisco State College, variously majoring in anthropology, liberal arts, and theater, but never obtaining a degree.
After leaving college, he
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