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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  4,973 Ratings  ·  133 Reviews
For a hundred years, the people of Prairie Bend have whispered Nathaniel's name in wonder and fear.  Some say he is a folktale, created to frighten children on cold winter nights.  Some swear he is a terrifying spirit retumed to avenge the past.  But soon . . . very soon . . . some will learn that Nathaniel lives still--that he is darkly, horrifyingly real.  Nathaniel--he ...more
Hardcover, 343 pages
Published January 1st 1985 by Gregg Pr (first published January 1st 1984)
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Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, horror
Janet Hall's husband Mark dies in an accident while visiting his old hometown, Prairie Bend, (where his parents live). So Janet leaves their home in New York and goes to Prairie Bend with her son Michael for the funeral. (Janet can't understand why Mark visited Prairie Bend, he didn't tell her he was going there, and he hasn't seen or spoken to his parents for years.) Janet meets Mark's parents (Anna and Amos) who tell her Mark owned a farm. (This is a surprise to Janet since Mark never told her ...more
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
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.
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
Jenna 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
B.W. Ginsburg
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nathaniel managed to be even better than John Saul’s The Unwanted! Nathaniel is, while it may sound like a cliché, a definite page turner. Nathaniel is full of suspense and you soon see that Saul is willing to do what many authors aren’t. At times, you’re not completely sure what characters to root for or which ones you can trust. Nathaniel is filled with great characters and creepy plot lines.
After reading The Unwanted and Nathaniel, John Saul has become my third favorite author. For someone wh
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!
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Saul's themes of young people in peril continue to stress me out. Which is to say that his work is vivid and visceral, and Nathaniel is no exception. Both ghostly and ghastly, this saga thrilled, terrorized, and delighted me.
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
I believe John Saul has to grow on me. This is the first of his books I have read. There are others I will tackle but I hope they are not as under whelming as this one.

I didn't hate this book but it didn't leave a good impression on me. The last couple of chapters didn't shed much light. The story was rushed at the end. If there is a sequel to this book I don't want to read it. I thought the character of Nathaniel could have been built up alot more. At times I thought he was Michael's age but if
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
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read this book no less than 4 times, the last was so long ago I can’t remember. Every time I’ve read it I’ve always ended up being thoroughly confused and befuddled by the end. I’d guess it’s been somewhere close to 20 yrs since last read so maybe now at my advanced age I’ll actually be understand what in the heck actually happens. No matter. I’ll love this book regardless.
As always, John Saul wrote beautifully. However, I felt let down by the plot as I had hoped for something like The Unloved or Suffer the Children.
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.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Same old John Saul

Same somewhat overdramatic, convoluted horror you expect from this author. Fun read , pretty much same theme as all his other books.
Jess Kinslow
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourite books by one of my favourite authors. Not as good as I remember from the first time I read this book many years ago, but still good.
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
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The Manhattan Hun...: Nathaniel (Group Read - May/June 2012) 23 27 Jun 28, 2012 05:40PM  
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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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“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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