The Sentinel by Jeffrey Konvitz

The Sentinel, Jeffrey Konvitz, 1974

My favorite quote: “My dear Miss Parker, aside from the old priest, and now you, no one has lived in that building for three years!”

Notable characters: Alison Parker, the new tenant; Michael, her boyfriend; Charles Chazen, her strangle little neighbor; Gatz, the detective; Miss Logan, the realtor; Father Halliran, the mysterious priest

Most memorable scene: The surprise masturbation scene. Followed closely by the cat’s birthday party, of course. But first, the surprise masturbation scene … 

Greatest strengths: The spook factor. Hands down

Standout achievements: Published at a time when horror fiction was rising to unprecedented heights, this book manages to stand out from the crowd, earning a rightful place next to unforgettable classics like Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist

Fun Facts: My collaborator, Tamara Thorne, and I met Jeffrey Konvitz a few years ago and were able to talk to him about this book and it’s follow-up, the Guardian. Truly fascinating stuff. He remains one of the most interesting writers I’ve have the joy of knowing

Other media: The 1977 film of the same name starring Cristina Raines, Ava Gardner, Chris Sarandon, and Burgess Meredith

What it taught me: So much — but most notably, the power of building intrigue 

How it inspired me: Because this is one of the books I teethed on, it felt appropriate that I pay it some kind of homage in my own work. I did, in my murder mystery, Sleep Savannah Sleep, when I named a school teacher Mr. Chazen, after Alison Parker’s strange little neighbor in the Sentinel. The similarities end at the name, but I enjoyed tipping my hat this creepy little classic

Additional thoughts: Though strange, dated, and perhaps relying a bit too heavily on shock value, this book has that “cozy vintage horror” vibe that always makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. For that reason, I overlook a lot of its flaws

My rating: 4 of 5

Haunt me:

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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