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Nightshade Nightshade

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,488 ratings  ·  129 reviews
There's no such thing as a happy family in John Saul's dark imagination. He made this chillingly clear in Suffer the Children and The Right Hand of Evil, and he deepens this impression in Nightshade, a perfectly macabre tale of a household ripped apart by malevolent forces.

Meet New Hampshire couple Bill and Joan Hapgood and their teenage son, Matt. They have a huge home,

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Paperback, 408 pages
Published May 29th 2001 by Ballantine Books 2001-05-01 (first published 2000)
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3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,488 ratings  ·  129 reviews


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Megan
May 15, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There was not a time in my life when I didn’t love to read and when I didn’t appreciate a good horror story. By the time I was 12 or 13 YA horror stories were far too predictable and tame for me and I moved on to authors such as Stephen King, Anne Rice and John Saul. Although I never came close to reading everything John Saul wrote, I read quite a few of his books and specifically remember loving Nathaniel so much that I read it multiple times. Granted, my reading at thirty *cough* something is ...more
Felicia
Apr 30, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Brain bleach...I need brain bleach.
Joey
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Barely 2 stars. Fairly good idea for a book but the writing didn't have a good flow. It was bland and often trite and gave me a headache. This was my first John Saul book and I'll have to be beyond bored with nothing else to read before I pick up another of his, even though I have 5 more of his in my library. This book could have been a lot better with a minimal rewrite. There just was no flow to the prose.
Erin
May 22, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not enjoy this book. so much secrecy about what was really going on, and it had a creepy feel to it. not creepy as in scary or "ooh, this is creeping me out in a good way" but more of a dirty creepy "I don't really even want to touch this book" sort of way. the ending was disappointing, and I felt cheated after suffering through the whole book.
Tina
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
😮

This book certainly messes with the mind. It pulls you in and just doesn't want to let go! So many twists and turn I just didn't know what was the truth and what was lies. Brilliant book with brilliant writing 🙌.
Amanda Varela
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
i really liked this book !!!! from start to finish i just wanted to keep reading
Chrissy
Nov 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Saul's haunting novel "Nightshade" had me staying up past my bedtime as I was quite engrossed in it. Horrors from a childhood better left forgotten reemerge when Matt's grandmother moves in. Plagued with dementia, the old lady is convinced her dead daughter Cynthia has come home - much to little sister Joan's dismay.
When a tragedy rocks the family, Matt's life is turned upside down and soon gets worse. People start to go missing and Aunt Cynthia starts visiting Matt leaving behind her scent
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Luella
Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pat Mccallum
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is good I'm finally getting a understanding of it. It is a little weird waiting on it get scarier. I would recommend it to anyone.
Pamela Morris
I read a few John Saul books back when I was in high school and was really impressed. That being said, I'm not sure why I only read those scant few. I found this copy of Nightshade at a local thrift store and figured I'd dive back in and see if I still liked his writing.

Nightshade is the story of rival sisters. One is Mother's little darling, the other can do nothing right. Unfortunately for dear old Mom, her favorite, Cynthia, dies suddenly and Mom takes all that hate and heartbreak out on the
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Geoff Battle
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When the very first chapter of a John Saul book features cruelty to a child, you know that he's playing to an old and successful formula. Nightshade is full of menace, with twists and turns, some more obvious that others. It's a story of paranoia, revenge, lust and betrayal, with a supernatural curve of course. Gripping from start to finish, and Nightshade is no short story, Saul has penned another decent horror tale. Recommended for any horror fan, especially if you're bored of the torrent of v ...more
Ruth E.
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a pretty good book in which the plot gradually gets more and more involved. The end was a little simple in that there was nothing said about the way Matt was treated by his classmates and the people in the town or his relationship with his mother/aunt who was, tragically, the victim in a lot of ways. It was sad, because the abuse she had received when she was little tragically ended in her going insane. But, it was also well written in that you really didn't see her being the person who d ...more
Patrick
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable and interesting plot that slowly unravels. In all I would say that the outcome is somewhat predictable as you progress through the story but actually this does not take away from a story that left me feeling satisfied whilst still asking some questions (or what ifs) that made me think about eh story in some more detail. My first John Saul book and I am planning to read some more after this.
Aziza
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This author has the ability to surprise me, which is hard to do given all the books I’ve read. I knew there was an element of haunting in the story, but the way it manifested was a total twist. The way disassociative identity disorder and possession reflect one another is masterfully done. And the anguish both Matt and Joan experience is tangible. My sympathies were certainly dragged in too many directions to keep track of.
Vi Watts
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good book but I was hesitant to finish it. It deals with sexual abuse with a child and that is something that is very upsetting for me. It was a little different from what I have read of John Saul. I love him as an author but this seemed a little different from his usual writing. Will still continue to read John Saul because his books are outstanding.
Denise
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story of a son seemingly gone wrong but with no recall for his actions, left me all mixed with ike and dislike with the story. In the end I disliked the sexual overtone the most, there was no need for it in the story. The 'scary' came from my own imagination and not so much the story telling, but in the end it was an ok story from an author I enjoy.
Sandy Almo
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
JB
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author does a fantastic job of creating of creating a plausible story that could happen to anyone that will give you mighty for weeks wondering what if after the end has been resolved. Having grown up in a haunted house and seeing my own ghosts, this particular book will give me some some sleepless nights. Enjoy!
Clare Roberts
My second John Saul book

I read Suffer the Children as a teenager and it stayed with me all my life. This one, however, did not have the same impact. It was well written and easy to read, but just didn't have the oomph I was hoping for.
Judith Kovacs
It was ok. A little too predictable, though.
Lynn Orser
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
A very good and scary book from John Saul. Difficult to put down because you wanted to find out the twisted plot. Great development of the caricatures thought out the novel. Enjoy.
Connie Hutchison
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read in a day - fun for a thriller
Michelle Dinkins
OMG!! This book could so be a movie!! John Saul has done it again, the suspense and twists are amazing!!
Carrie
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Freaky and Good

Best John Saul novel I ever read. Still classic Saul, but freakier and better than most, a fun ride from start to finish.
Karen Hilyard
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
It took me awhile to get into this book but my half through I was hooked
Donna Magoun
disappointing ending
Tanner Ashley
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whoa. Challenge for you is which multiple personal or possession?
Rebecca
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer
Jan 22, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoyed the first half of the book or so, as I continued reading, certain issues got under my skin, issues that magnified my dislike of the conclusion. The writing style is very heavy-handed, and after a while that began to irk me. The highly-detailed, long-winded descriptions I could live with, but the long, rambling, emotional inner monologues got to be tiresome, especially when they were from minor characters. There was gratuitous violence, gore, and sexual episodes for shock value, a ...more
Dennis Mcfarland
I found this book at a half price bookstore for one dollar. It has been sitting on my shelf for awhile and I finally got a chance to crack it open and start reading it. It was so engrossing that I finished it in two days!


SPOILER ALERT


There were several elements that made the book interesting. At the beginning, life is wonderful for Matt and Joan. Granite Falls begins a quiet tight knit community. I love how the author portrays the facade that everyone puts out in public and how that is contras
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John Saul grew up in Whittier California 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 decided the best thing for a college dropout to
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“You know what you have to do, Matthew." Darkness began to close around him, until all he could see was the head ot the deer. The deer and something beyond... "Do it Matthew," the voice whisperd. "Do it for me...” 4 likes
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