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(Psycho #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  59,300 ratings  ·  2,775 reviews
It was a dark and stormy night when Mary Crane glimpsed the unlit neon sign announcing the vacancy at the Bates motel. Exhausted, lost, and at the end of her rope, she was eager for a hot shower and a bed for the night. Her room was musty but clean and the plumbing worked. Norman Bates, the manager, seemed nice, if a little odd.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 31st 1999 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published April 10th 1959)
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 ·  59,300 ratings  ·  2,775 reviews

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Apr 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Nowadays, it seems like every horror movie is either a remake, a sequel or the kind of vile torture porn that makes you want to puke in your bag of popcorn. Filming one of these flicks requires tens of millions of dollars for a platoon of pretty actors, gallons of fake blood, special effects and a marketing campaign. Oddly, they don’t seem to spend any money on scripts for these things.

But Alfred Hitchcock only needed about nine grand to buy the rights to this book. Then it only took a blonde, a
Oct 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*3.5 stars *

Good old fashioned horror but preferred the movie!
Dan Schwent
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, 2017-books
When Mary Crane skips town with $40,000 of her boss's money, she drives and drives, bedding down at the Bates Motel. She meets Norman Bates, who harbors secrets even more interesting than stolen money...

Everyone knows the basic beats of Psycho due to the iconic Alfred Hitchcock film. Woman gets knifed in the shower, psychotic mama's boy, etc. When it popped up for ninety-nine cents, I figured, what the hell? Shooting Star / Spiderweb was pretty good. Psycho was definitely worth the buck.

Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

4.5 Stars

Houston commercial photography

That’s what I tell my boys all the time. I hope they turn out just as friendly and loyal to their momma as Norman did.

Is there anyone even on the planet who hasn’t at least heard of Psycho before? What can I say that you don’t already know? Well, I can confirm that this book is short at roughly 200 pages. Due to its brevity, I can also say not a paragraph is wasted on filler. Every scene that occurs does so for a reason. W
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
We all go a little crazy sometimes.

My generation and everyone since has grown up with the concept of Psycho, stemming from Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 thriller, but all this began with Robert Bloch’s 1959 novel.

Reading this after having seen the film and grown up with the story, I dealt with a fair amount of theatrical irony. While the film stayed mostly true to Bloch’s vision, there were some departures and these were enjoyable to experience.

Bloch’s prose is tight and the atmosphere developed
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So it is that Psycho really IS very much like The Exorcist. Both may vie for the Scariest Film title, but apart from that: the books are stupendous. & if you like the movies, you are making yourself a disservice by not reading the literary progenitors.

Psycho may be perfect. Strange how little Norman Bates gets the Oscar in the book--you actually miss him in the parts where he is not a figure. And his obsessions/psychosis/murderin' are the fault of the town, of his circumstances. And, although i
Jun 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, fiction
I’ve always shied away from books in the horror genre as I think they will be too gruesome for me. The violence, the blood, guts, and gore, and overall creepiness are not things I enjoy reading about or envisioning in any way. I decided to give Psycho a chance as it’s a classic horror read. I didn’t know much going in – just that the main character is Norman Bates, he lives at a hotel with his mother, and there is both a TV series and a movie based on the book. I figured if things got too appall ...more
First published in 1959, there is no doubt about it, PSYCHO is an absolutely great horror classic.

If by some freak of nature you happen to be in the dark regarding Robert Bloch's Psycho I will warn you not to go in the shower at the Bates Motel, and be green with envy that you can read the novel with no prior knowledge of the intriguing plot.

If you are familiar with Alfred Hitchcock's movie version (released in 1960) then you will notice two obvious differences when reading the book, the first o

R.K. Gold
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very creepy. I have never seen the movie but when I saw the book was available for free I had to read it. Bloch really included a lot of small hints to keep the reader engaged, and even though I knew what the big reveal at the end would be he still kept it suspenseful and kept me on my toes.
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 1950s buffs
Recommended to Jaidee by: wanted to read this for a long long time
2.5 "sensationalistic, dated, a tad ridiculous, entertaining" stars !!!

Ok...yes...I was mildly entertained while I mostly cringed

-characters....not well formed....1950s stereotypes
-writing....written at a grade four level but for adults
-knowledge of psychopathology....amateurish, outlandish, unbelievable
-plausibility......low no make that very low

despite this I was entertained, mildly entertained but it would have sufficed to have just seen the movie and I have seen it several times

I will not mo
Paul E. Morph
I have a confession to make. Here I sit, a 45-year-old man who has been a horror nut since I was in junior school, and I have never... seen... ‘Psycho’.

I know, I know... the shame.

I’ve always want to see it but just never got around to it. When I think of some of the dross I have found time for I can’t help but wonder if there’s something wrong with me.

You know... other than the obvious.

Anyway, I thought it was finally time I watched Hitchcock’s horror masterpiece but, just as I was about to
Edward Lorn
Apr 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: horror and thriller fans
Other than Norman being a Tubby Trooper in the book instead of the Starved Stanchion he is in the movie and television series, I found no glaring differences between the Hitchcock film and the book. I can't even say that the book is better than the movie. They are completely equal in my eyes. Now the sequels? I haven't a clue. I have not seen the later movies, nor have I read the follow-up novels Bloch published (Psycho 2 and Psycho House). Now that I've tackled the first book, I feel comfortabl ...more
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, favorites
The 1950's a simpler more innocent time when a man could dress up as his dead mother and kill people. Oh memories. Unless you live under a rock you know what Psycho is all about. The famous shower scene. I've seen the movie probably 40x I'm a Hitchcock fanatic but I had never read the book upon which the movie was based. I had watched a documentary about the man who inspired it Ed Gein, btw he was really psycho. I mean Mr. Gein inspired both Psycho and Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. Qui ...more
Nov 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“We're all not quite as sane as we pretend to be.”

I am a great fan of Alfred Hitchcock and his films, but this is the only film that I haven't watched more than once. Sure, that includes a string of other Oscar winners like Shawshank Redemption and Forest Gump; I'm just a weirdo. Psycho really scared me when I was young, though. There was no way to explain how the silhouette of mother's chair rocked on its own while Norman was at the hotel. I don't like unexplainable things.

The novel was actuall
Horror is my "go to" genre, my bread and butter. Although more than 50 years have passed since the movie was made, Psycho remains at the top of the tree on my list of best horror flicks. It's dated, certainly. Filmed in black and white, complete with melodramatic music and exaggerated close-ups, but it works beautifully by leaving something to the imagination.

The book, written in 1959, stands the proverbial test of time, as well. 'You do not want Mother using her keys.' Quite right. The poundin
Absolutely one of my favourite classic horror stories.
I loved Norman Bates in the tv show Bates Motel and I love him in this book!!

(I will not be posting a full review on my blog. I don't have a lot to say about it)
A gripping story!
If you've seen the movie this is better, you get that missing insight of being in Norman's mind. The story is a page-turner. Bloch is a good writer and has plotted the story well no sentence is wasted or boring. After reading Darkly Dreaming Dexter I thought I would try and get into rambling mind of a different kind of killer. Bates is obsessed with his mother wants to be like her And wants her to be part of him.

Some facts
The novel "Psycho", written by Robert Bloch, was actu
Wayne Barrett
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, 2017, horror

What a great classic to read leading up to Halloween. And what better costume could you come up with than that of, my man, Norman Bates. Just put on dead moms dress, smear on some make-up and let's get crazy.

I think the book is very close to the movie version. Obviously you get a greater visual of the shower scene in the movie, but the book really put me more in the head of Norman and I could see the psycho in him much deeper than is revealed in the movie.

Psycho is well written, short, and giv
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Psycho is one of my all time favourite movies, so I was curious too see how close the movie which was adapted only a year after the book was release is.

After impulsively stealing $40,000 from her work, Mary finds a motel to rest for the evening.
Owned by bachelor Norman Bates and he’s mother, the motel seemed pleasant enough...

It’s a little more graphic than the movie and Anthony Perkins is a nicer looking version of Norman, but everything else is reassuringly similar.

I’m more likely to rewatch t
Ashley Daviau
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge fan of the tv show based off this book. Such a huge fan that I was prepared to be disappointed because the book couldn’t possibly be better than the show. I was obviously delusional because this book is bloody fabulous and heaps better than the show! There’s just something about the written word that is unbeatable when it comes to horror stories. Our minds can conjure up much more terrifying images than the big screen can ever bring to life! Bloch has a stunning way of really making ...more
BAM Endlessly Booked
Book bum club read "horrorween"

I’m one of the few who has never seen the movie. I’m so glad that was the case. I loved this book! Straight out of the real serial killer zone, but I forget which one, Norman is a real creeper.
Oct 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 I really enjoy the read. Something about the writing is so very…well, psycho. I’m sure, even if you know the big plot twist –who doesn’t- the book is addictive and completely interesting. It has a great inside-killer POV and a perfect pace, the last chapter is pure psychological gold. Special for psycho-thrillers fans and I would suggest reading the novel if you like the movie; you´ll definitely pay more attention to certain details. At the end Psycho is a great thriller book, it might have ...more
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-shelf, horror
I've been meaning to get around to reading this defining work of horror for quite some time. In fact, SK recommended it to me within Danse Macabre, and I just knew that someday, somehow, I'd come back around to it.

Of course, this book was already old when I read that SK book back in '89 and now I feel kinda foolish for putting off this classic so damn long.

What's my excuse? I thought the story would be kinda... you know... old. Out of date. Without tension.

I really shouldn't listen to myself.

Simona B
First, it wasn't a scary as I thought it would be (which is a very good thing for me, if you're wondering) and secondly, I had foreseen everything that was going to happen at page 10 (which, to be honest, is not as good). This is, however, not the book's fault, as I see it: I believe this is the case of a classic that has become so classic we start to think of it as trite, which in origin it mustn't have been at all. It saddens me, obviously, but this phenomenon often occurs with works so great, ...more
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
What strikes me most about this book is: the things for which its movie is known are ABSENT from these pages.

The movie Psycho gave us that bedrock upon which all future slasher films were built - sex = death.
The 'bad girl' - bad because she had premarital sex - will die. The virgin will live. (If you don't know these rules, you need to watch Scream.)

Psycho the film actually opens in the bedroom, where our heroine is in her bra having just had sex with a man to whom she's not married.

Norman Bates
Jim Ef
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It was raining that night, the night Mary Craine took a wrong turn and find herself in the middle of nowhere. Lucky for her she saw this
image: description

How lucky she was indeed. Norman, the owner of the place, was about to close. He lived there alone with his sick mother. Since the town wasn't that close and the weather was that bad he invited her for dinner. After the weird conversation during the dinner, Mary returned to her room. It was there where she decide that this all was a big mistake, in
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Psycho felt like the perfect autumnal Halloween-month read. I'm a big fan of the Hitchcock film adaptation, and I always wanted to read this, so was excited to see it on display in my local library.

Bloch's original novel is a quick read, despite having a not so fast-paced plot, and really allows you to get into the head of not only Mary Crane, but of Norman Bates as well. Norman's chapters were absolutely fascinating, and I loved seeing the constant narrative through his mind twisting and turni
Mar 03, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think perhaps all of us go a little crazy at times

I personally like the quote by the movie better than this, which is delivered by the fantastic Anthony Perkins with his soft and eerie voice:

" We all go a little mad sometimes"

Overall I prefer the movie over the book which is rare for me but then again it's Alfred Hitchcock. I think I probably would've enjoyed it better if I hadn't seen the movie and known the "big twist" at the end which made the novel, as small as it is, drag for me. Although
Quentin Wallace
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you ask the average person who wrote Psycho, they will probably say Alfred Hitchcock. But we here at Goodreads know better. The book and movie were released very close together, and the subject matter was really strong for the time.

I think the book and movie are probably equally as good, but the movie really went on to greater acclaim due to the direction of Hitchcock. The story was loosely based on Ed Gein (as was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and a few more stories as well.) I think almost a
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-reading, o
Dear Alfred Hitchcock, I understand you now! I understand, why you shot a movie based on this thriller! I can understand, how impressive, breathtaking and shocking this book had to be in 1959, when it was first published. Even now, even today - in 2018 this story keeps you tensed, fascinated and scared.
What I liked about it? EVERYTHING - The characters, the plot and the twists.
The horror movie "Psycho" is rightfully to be ranked as one of the greatest films of all times!
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Horror Italia: * Febbraio 2019 - Psycho 25 37 Mar 03, 2019 11:23PM  
Bookwarts Club of...: Psycho - Spoilers 6 19 Jan 10, 2018 07:00PM  
The Perks Of Bein...: Psycho - October 2017 6 83 Oct 14, 2017 04:42PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Book Title 3 10 Apr 23, 2017 07:45PM  

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Robert Albert Bloch was a prolific American writer. He was the son of Raphael "Ray" Bloch (1884, Chicago-1952, Chicago), a bank cashier, and his wife Stella Loeb (1880, Attica, Indiana-1944, Milwaukee, WI), a social worker, both of German-Jewish descent.

Bloch wrote hundreds of short stories and over twenty novels, usually crime fiction, science fiction, and, perhaps most influentially, horror fict

Other books in the series

Psycho (3 books)
  • Psycho II (Psycho #2)
  • Psycho House (Psycho #3)

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