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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  4,790 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
Prairie Bent. Brilliant summers amid golden fields. Killing winters of razorlike cold. A peaceful, neighborly village, darkened by legends of death.


For a hundred years, the people of Prairie Bent have whispered the name in wonder and fear. Some say he is simply a fold tale--a legend created to frighten children on cold winter nights. Some swear he is a ter
Mass Market Paperback, 343 pages
Published June 1st 1984 by Bantam (first published January 1st 1984)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
”I saw something that night.”

John Saul is a very deceptive writer. The characters that people his stories are ordinary everyday folk doing ordinary everyday things. Even the horror elements are hardly apocalyptic or grotesque (or perhaps I haven’t read enough of his books yet). Instead, it creeps and crawls and worms its way into the reader’s consciousness.

If there isn’t overmuch character development, it’s because the characters come fully formed. These are the kind of people we all know, whic
mark monday
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horrortime
okay, this next part isn't my own review, but it was written on GoodReads in 2008 and i feel it deserves a wider audience:


thank you, "♥ Lou"! if you were still around, i'd follow your reviews! you've read Nathaniel 3 times! that is a horrible memory PLUS dedication! i am your fan.

as for me, i was in high sch
Aug 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery Fans
I love John Saul, and this has got to be my absolute favorite book of his! It has lots of twists and turns that keep you guessing until the very end when the surprise ending leaves you speechless!
Oct 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book many years ago (early 80's), so I could not give an accurate review. I have it listed in my records as a "very good read".
Brian Taylor
I’m going to be spoiler free with all my book reviews, talking more about what elements I liked, or didn’t like, rather than plot points. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s reading experience.

Before I get on with the review, I’d like to talk about why I went back and forth on whether to post this. This is my first unfavorable review and, being a writer, I know how a review like this would make me feel. However, I also thought the benefits of talking about why I didn’t connect with this book may help
Adam Wilson
Nathaniel by John Saul is, to put it lightly, very familiar territory for him and for anyone who has read several of his books. I seriously think that this book's

largest problem, at least for me, is that I read it as my 27th Saul read. If I would have read it much earlier on I would have thought much more of it but the same

elements keep turning up again and again. Yep, there is a suffering child in this one who is placed in a strange new home with strange new authority figures who are

much mor
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Nathaniel has been on my personal bookshelf for many years, I picked it up from a garage sale for $1 (along with a few more of Mr Saul's book) but until now I haven't had a chance to read it.

The blurb intrigued me when I read it and made me think of Stephen King a little bit.

Nathaniel was easy to read, there was lots of twists that kept your attention and made you want to keep reading. It was dark, believable with a hint of the supernatural.

I must admit when I read this quote:
"If that's what you
 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*
Something about barns is just plain spooky. It seems like the last few books that I have read have had barns in them & it has led to some very dark ocurrences.

On that note, Nathaniel was one creepy book. It is another great October read. Many things were disturbing about the plot and very mysterious. I really despised Amos and I hated him when he hurt Shadow. I can't stand to read stuff like that when it comes to animals. I did enjoy the surprise that came at the end with everything coming t
Jul 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Nathaniel A very creepy story that blends elements of a horrendous family legacy with ESP, madness and gore set in a backwards midwestern town. This is the second John Saul book I've read and it was much better than the first. It has a lot of elements that felt like influence from Stephen King. I defintately liked the book and would recommend it.
Jennifer Evans
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this when I was 12 and it enthralled me. Characters are believable, well-written and keep you engaged through the story. Everyone is a mystery in this book.
Elle Esse
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Original Post

Warning: SPOILERS!

I love this book. I have read it so many times that I have lost count. Truth be told, I adore all of John Saul's books but this one seems to change every time I read it. From the supernatural elements to the "what is real" aspects, I love the well rounded nature of this story and I love how it combines a childlike innocence with a very adult nature. That said, here's my review:

Summary: Narrated by the author, told from various characters viewpoints as it directs
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes another Saul book that I have recently finished. Guess I am kind of on a Saul kick. He has so many awesome books out there. I didn't realize until I joined Goodreads online how many books he has actually written. Also the fact that he lives in the Seattle area is a bonus since I'm in the same area. And of course I was not disappointed in this book of his. I had read some not so great reviews of this book, and there is only one thing I didn't like about it which is it was not as captivating a ...more
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
I listened to Nathaniel on abridged audio. I of course, prefer unabridged audio but I knew I'd never actually get through the book and this is the only audio version available. I was disappointed in the ending. It seemed like the story was built up really well and then just crumbled at the end without a satisfactory conclusion. I often have problems with Saul's endings, but it should be noted I was listening to abridged version and may have missed something. However, on my initial reading in the ...more
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ok, so this may not be the literary equivalent of a 5-star novel but it was one of the most fun ghost stories I've read in a very long time. (I actually listened to it on cd, but whatever.) The book was originally published in 1984 and is very well-known and well-loved. I'd call it a "classic" as in classic ghost story. I really enjoyed it.
May 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the second book i ever read. I was really young when i did. I took it from my mother's books and it scared me. Ever since i read this i've been into reading ghost stories. I read it again last year to see if it had the same effects and it still made the hair at the back of my neck stand up.
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly a great book! It's creepy, in the original sense of the word. You don't want to read this one alone at night. Make sure you have A LOT of time to read this one, because you will want to finish it in one sitting. Trust me, you won't be able to put it down. It will have you in it's grip right up to the twist at the end!
Jason Schneeberger
This book was really good until the last few chapters. The twist at the end totally ruined it for me and turned the whole story into a garbled mess that made no sense. I really hate frustrating ending like this
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This was the second book by John Saul I read and it's one of my favorites. The atmosphere is so spooky and Amos Hall... brrr

Mar 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
soooo creepy... will make you sleep with the lights on for a while
Nick Lenco
This was an good book for what it was which was kind of a horror/mystery novel. It did not blow me away but it did keep me entertained the whole way through. It played with pretty common themes of isolation, restricting community, loss and helplessness. While it was a bit light on dealing with the primary protagonist (who I would say was the boy) I appreciated the balance it found when dealing with the themes when it came to the mother and some of the other characters. It is a strong statement i ...more
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a lot different from what I was expecting. It was interesting and creepy, it just didn't go in the direction I thought it would.
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have enjoyed many of John Saul's novels, and while I enjoyed reading this, when I was finished I feel like I had missed something. I like to read before I go to bed, and it's usually the "the words are swimming but one more page" type of deal, and I feel like I shouldn't have done that with this book. I want to read this again, but I'm afraid I will again miss some main point of the story. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I read it; it might just have been better had I not read most of it when exh ...more
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This one was a slow boiler. A very slow boiler. It started ok with an opening that asked a few questions. Just enough to keep you reading. There were a few good moments in this book.
Monica Miller
Rating: 3.5 stars

I am a fan of John Saul's work, and I love his books, because at some point among the pages he manages to send a shiver down my spine, and I think that's awesome, but I feel that sometimes he loses himself in details, and the story doesn't end up being what it was when it started.

His books usually have a lot of twists and turns, the "is it real or it isn't" mystery, the "will he/she die" questions.

Nathaniel is about a boy, Michael, who has lost his father when he came back to th
Andrew Armour
Apr 11, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The review of this may be a little fragmented but that just mirror the quality of this book. It deathly dull where is should be instead deathly scary. The sense of mystery wore off so much so, that this took about 3 years for me to get through as I read 2 other books in the meantime and this one became a time filler. But I kept with this one till the end as I've read and thoroughly enjoyed John Saul's Hellfire. Micheal and his mother inherit a farm from the now deceased farther who had no intere ...more
Ryan Lieske
Mar 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
It can't be denied, John Saul's books are formulaic. If you've read one, you've pretty much read them all. Usually they concern a family with secrets, more often than not involving children. He aims to be Stephen King, but falls very, very short. Honestly, I have no problem with this, because when I decide to read a Saul novel, I know what I'm getting into. I've read several of his books, and while none of them have come close to being as good as his debut, "Suffer the Children" (a book he has, ...more
May 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm revisiting some horror classics this month. I have always been a John Saul fan ever since I read Comes the Blind Fury, so I borrowed a big 3 pack of novels and this was the first in the series.
I always enjoy a story set in the prairies. That stark, isolated feel is something that I've always identified with having spent many an evening in a small prairie town. This one of course has a dark undertone of mystery involving the death of some children and strange powers. While I enjoyed this one
Jeff O'Brien
Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth book of Saul's that I have read; I'm currently on a John Saul binge, and while I loved it and it was a lot of fun, I expected a little more. I could have seen the ending going in some different directions that would have been more unpredictable and more exciting. But with that being said, it was still a fun enough book to get a 4 star rating from me. If you're looking for a quick, easy read that will give you a few scares, this book probably won't disappoint you. I'm beginning ...more
Dec 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, horror
Of all the John Saul books I have read, this is my favorite. Sure, there are elements I notice in a few of his others, BUT there's a shocking little twist in this book that I honestly didn't expect (I have a bad habit of trying to predict what'll happen as I read.)

What did happen, I didn't expect at all. I found it eerie and full of suspense, which is all I need to keep me going. I also was totally fine with the ending, which was surprising to me.
Eileen Maki
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite John Saul novel. I love the mystery of wondering whether Nathaniel is a real person or not and then the horrific realization that he is a ... well, I won't spoil it for those who don't know. This is classic John Saul, suspenseful and wonderful with a touch of humanity and detailed descriptions of surroundings. Saul sets up his scenes so well, making the future events make perfect sense with what you already know!
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The Manhattan Hun...: Nathaniel (Group Read - May/June 2012) 23 26 Jun 28, 2012 05:40PM  
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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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“There’s a lot of people around here, me included, who think she talked him into an early grave, and that he wasn’t the least bit sorry to go.” 0 likes
“All I want is to be left alone. That’s why I have that fence. It’s not only to keep the critters in. It’s to keep people out.” 0 likes
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