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Black House (The Talisman #2)

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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  33,047 ratings  ·  828 reviews
Twenty years ago, a boy named Jack Sawyer travelled to a parallel universe called The Territories to save his mother and her Territories "twinner" from a premature and agonizing death that would have brought cataclysm to the other world. Now Jack is a retired Los Angeles homicide detective living in the nearly nonexistent hamlet of Tamarack, WI. He has no recollection of h...more
Mass Market Paperback, 672 pages
Published August 27th 2002 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2001)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Patrick
I hate that the first thing you see of a review is the number of stars it's given.

Someone's feeling about a book is not easily reduced to a five-point scale. And even once that is done, how do I know what five stars means to you? How do you know what five stars means to me?

For me, a five star book is a book that I believe is worth the time and energy you're going to spend reading it.

If, (and this is key) you're into that sort of book. (Horror, Mystery, Fantasy, Hardcore Gothic Gypsy Steampunk...more
Neil
(This review was originally published in the Washington Post in 2001.)


Black House is a novel of slippage. We learn about slippage (a secondary definition of which, we are told, helpfully, in the text, is the feeling that things in general have just gotten, or will shortly get, worse) at the beginning of the book as we travel, invisibly through the town of French Landing, Wisconsin, early in the morning, winding up in an abandoned shack where “limp flypaper ribbons hung invisible within the fur o...more
Dustin

In the early eighties, Stephen King and Peter Straub embarked on the ultimate coming-of-age tale. The Talisman easily solidified the collaboration's super status. Then, nearly two decades later, they returned to their literary roots. Black House portrays a different Jack Sawyer, now a semi-retired Los Angeles detective. He won't remain there much longer, though. By requesting his expertise in a major case, a colleague-turned-friend leads him to Wisconsin, where his life will be irrevocably alte...more
Janie Johnson
Wow this book was, simply put, a mess and was very painful to read. Considering I totally enjoyed the Talisman, I expected this book to be just as mind capturing as its predecessor. I was very disappointed in just about the whole story. So it turned out to be 'just ok' for me.

The first half was drawn out and very wordy. The coming together of all the characters was quite confusing as well. It seemed to take half of the book before the story even got remotely interesting.

It would get good and th...more
Anthony

I loved The Talisman. I think I read it when I was 13 or 14. It was a great story about a boy who could cross worlds, and took on a quest to save his dying mom. There were scary parts, but nothing too bad. Also, the line between King's writing and Straub's writing was pretty blurred. Either they shared the load, or one of them wrote while the other edited. I dunno, I could only hear one voice.

Years later, I listened to the audiobook and it was still great.

Black House is the sequel to The Talism...more
Lou
Jack used to be a coppice-man and he is now settling into a new home in Wisconsin. He has been having strange dreams, no Speedy or flipping over for many years now he is trying to deal with the present.
Jack is eventually forced out of retirement as a Coppiceman on trail of the Fisherman, flipping over again but to where? What does Speedy and black crow feathers have to do with the case? This is an engrossing page-turner written in a more faster momentum than The Talisman I am loving the adult Ja...more
Danielle
Apr 04, 2007 Danielle rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one who loved The Talisman
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
Stephen King and Peter Straub apparently decided that, since their last collaboration was so great, they would try to follow it with an astounding book that broke every single writing rule in existence. I believe the effort is a prime example of why those rules were made in the first place. Amen.
Chris
I absolutely loved this book. It's funny, because I picked it up immediately after reading The Talisman, and at first I was put off by the shift in tone and feel of this one. I wanted more Talisman style fantasy adventure, with the lovable young Jack Sawyer. What I got was a cold, detached, present-tense narrative that watched everything from above and showed a landscape that was totally out of place with the book I had just finished. This is supposed to be a sequel!

But am I ever glad I stuck wi...more
Kathryn
I don't even know what to say about this book, except for negative things. Not only did I not finish this book, but I am left completely disappointed in it. I was expecting the same fuel The Talisman had for me, which I really, really enjoyed. Boy, was I disappointed. Not only was the storyline disappointing, the writing for me, was a disaster in the slow as molasses department.

I was excited about reading this with the friends I read it with, but now, I am left with really nothing nice to say a...more
Lauryn April
I've read a number of Stephen King's books, enough to consider him one of my favorite authors; and out of everything I've read by him I enjoyed this, along with The Talisman, the most. This has encouraged me to start looking at some of Peter Straub's work as well; however I have yet to do so at this time. What this book has done is inspire me to get into his Dark Tower series, which I had been avoiding doing for some time because I'd heard that it was slow getting into. If that series has ever i...more
Larry Chambers
[I wrote this review in late 2001 for amazon.com shortly after reading Black House for the first time.]

Hello, My Name Is TreeRider and I’m a Stephen King-aholic.

If you’re a casual Stephen King (or Peter Straub) reader, or just a fan, this book may disappoint you. Likewise if you’re expecting further adventures of Jack Sawyer in the Territories. Jack spends very little time in the Territories in Black House, and most of that comes near the end of the book. I prepped myself for Black House by rere...more
J.S. Bailey
Man, what were these two thinking?

There were things I liked about this novel. There were things that I didn't like. Like the first-person plural bird's eye point of view that nearly drove me mad. The first several chapters were extremely confusing because so much information was dumped on the reader all at once and it was hard to sort everything out.

I liked getting to revisit "Travelin' Jack" to see what he was up to, but I feel that I would have understood Black House better if I had been more...more
♥ Marlene♥
I've read it pretty quick after it was published in the Netherlands, let me check.....2001.
What I remember is that I was very exited when I learned this book was coming, cause I loved the other book the 2 authors wrote together: The Talisman. One of my favourites and it had a lot of connection to Stephen King's other world.(Waste Lands, Dark Tower World).

Ah writing this down and checking all my SK books I am starting to feels homesick. I should call it SKsick? Back before I read English I felt l...more
Brownie
Aug 19, 2007 Brownie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any avid reader
I'd forgotten how I found out about this book but I never regretted having bought it because it's one the best thrillers ever written. I love it so much even after reading it thrice in the last 3 or 4 years and I'd happily recommend it to anyone who loves reading thrillers. This book is the collaborative efforts of two thriller maestros i.e Stephen King and Peter Straub. The Black House is actually the sequel to their first collaborative effort which is called 'The Talisman'. The first book chro...more
Dxmaniac69
I'm not sure the book is really a five star novel, but sometimes a novel just resonates with you, and Black House did with me. I was emotionally involved with this book from the very beginning.

Read Talisman first. I don't think this book would be have as effective if you haven't read Talisman.

That said, I actually didn't like Talisman as much as Black House. But it did help me appreciate the main character, Jack Sawyer, that I really cared about him again when his story picks up again in Black H...more
Barbara Webb
Travelin' Jack Sawyer is all grown up, but has forgotten the adventure of his youth. Now, after a short but brilliant career as a police detective in Los Angeles, Jack has retired to a small town in Wisconsin to try to escape a shock he cannot understand. But Jack has touched the Talisman, and the other side doesn't release those who know its secrets so easily. As a serial killer drives the local police to seek his help, Jack comes to realize that the true darkness that threatens this small town...more
Emily Landry
Black House was okay. It really dragged in some places and I feel like the book was a little more bloated than it needed to be. But I loved the ending. I think I would have understood the book more if I had The Dark Tower series under my belt. But I dont yet! I loved the glimpses of the world I did get though. But I'm pretty sure I read some spoilers! My favorite part of this book was definitely the last 10%. I'm extremely happy with how everything turned out. And the description of the Black Ho...more
Arun Divakar
Another prime example of why some sequels taste like half cooked food. The Talisman was an experience in itself, a novel where you could only speculate as to which author wrote which part. It was also a wonderful concoction of genres : horror, coming-of-age and fantasy. The sole reason why I decided to read the sequel was because I loved Talisman. Disappointment is the only emotion I have about this book.

After the first hundred pages, it was a completely disinterested way in which I approached t...more
 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*
WOW! This book was so intense it was insane! It was definately filled with a lot of horror, gore and suspense!! Wisconsin has a child serial killer who is a cannibal loose....... The horror of what the "fisherman" does to these children is just brutal.

One of the things I found to be very interesting was the comparisons to real life serial killer/ cannibal Albert Fish in the 1920's. I loved the time the authors took in describing French Landing & the Town's people. Only King can entrap me in...more
Josiah
This book was written like Stephen King and Peter Straub decided that since everyone enjoyed The Talisman SO ever much, they decided to write a book that broke EVERY writing rule in history, just to see how much money they could make! I know both of these authors and know they are better than that. I jave sofar read 28 Stephen King books and Ghost Story and Koko by Peter Straub. I have not read The Talisman yet, but am planning to soon, although judging by this one, I will not be looking forward...more
George
Twenty years ago, a boy named Jack Sawyer traveled to a parallel universe called The Territories to save his mother and her Territories "twinner" from a premature and agonizing death that would have brought cataclysm to the other world.

Now Jack is a retired Los Angeles homicide detective living in the nearly nonexistent hamlet of Tamarack, WI. He has no recollection of his adventures in the Territories and was compelled to leave the police force when an odd, happenstance event threatened to awa...more
Christian Bauman
The Talisman by SK and PS was one of the A-list books of my childhood. Part was just the presence of those two authors, but that was always just the entry point. Talisman was a great tale, masterfully told. I recently re-read it (one of about ten books from childhood/teen years not read since that I'm re-reading this year to see how they worked and how they stood up), and bottom line is that it stood up. Yes, it had a few groaners in there, and some stilted dialogue (okay, A LOT of that...especi...more
Nicholas Kaufmann
This twenty-years-later sequel to THE TALISMAN is a more mature story than its predecessor, and thus, to me at least, a more interesting one. However, I found the floating, omniscient narrative style in which the authors chose to tell the story very distancing and off-putting. The pacing is off as well. As with THE TALISMAN, things pick up considerably in the second half, but until then the novel spins its wheels so often that, at times, it felt more of a chore to read than a joy. While it's fun...more
Michael Barnett
I loved this dark and edgy sequel to The Talisman. The first book, with young Jake was scary and foreboding in a physical way. Black House is still physical, but explores the dark inner workings and darkness of the human mind and soul. It also incorporates real fear of things not understood, like the dizziness and nausea experienced by the bikers as they neared the Black House. The character development of Bernie was masterful, like Mr's King and Straub spent months in a real nursing home, study...more
Kathy
I'm really enjoying this book so far. Talisman, wasn't my favorite Stephen King book, so I was a bit leery about a "sequel". It's interesting how diverse the opinions are on this book. People seem to either love it or almost hate it. I find that very interesting. I'm such a huge King fan, I couldn't imagine having such strong feelings against one of his books. Well, so far so good. :)

I loved this book. And for someone that didn't love The Talisman as much, this book brought it all together for m...more
Robyn
Ultimately, I was disappointed with this book. I was excited to return to the characters and the world from the first book, and then it just kinda went all to hell for me.

You see, I had already read the final Dark Tower book by the time I had picked this up, and I was quite displeased with DT7, more so than I had ever, ever been with Stephen King, possibly more displeased than I had ever been with any author, ever. I've come to terms with it since, been able to look at the series realistically...more
David Roberts
I am reviewing the novel Black House by Stephen King & Peter Straub which is a very good horror book which I bought from kindle. King & Straub also collaborated on The Talisman & wanted to learn each others craft. King of course is probably the greatest horror writer & Straub is a celebrated fantasy author. King did most of the Dark Tower series afterwards & Straub went on to do horror thrillers like Koko which I've read and are rather good. This is quite a long but rewarding...more
Kat
This was a hard book to read at first. The issue at stake is a serial killer who goes after children, small ones. As the mother of a small child, you can understand why it was a bit hard to read. I found it easier to read toward the middle, and the ending practically flew.

This story picks up about 20 years after The Talisman leaves off. Jack Sawyer is now in his 30s and is a retired police detective. He's forgotten all about the journey he took back when he was 12 years old. It's an interesting...more
Gossymotto
This story starts off a bit slow (seems over-descriptive at first), but then it jumps right in and you quickly understand why so much of the town and it's people were being laid out. Some characters in this story were not for me, the biker gang seemed somewhat cliche (5 long-haired, tattooed, leather-clad, beer brewing thugs, that just happened to be former doctors or came from other highly educated backgrounds, but preferred to present themselves as a gang called "The Thunder Five"), but the st...more
Jenny Nicholson
God I wanted to love this book. The Talisman is one of my favorite books of all time. When I stumbled across this sequel the other day, I literally got goosebumps. That's how much I loved the first book.

This one - not so much. It's just kind of lazy. Lots of words, not a ton of heart. It gets going sometime in the middle, but not enough. Not anything close to the beautifully wrought story that The Talisman is.

But I suppose that's the nature of sequels - never as good as the original. Though I...more
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Stephen King Fans: Black House *No Spoilers* 8 86 May 02, 2010 11:36AM  
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Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M...more
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“The mad King, the bad King, the sad King. Ring-a-ding-ding, all hail the King!” 4 likes
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