Second Child by John Saul


Second Child, John Saul, 1990

My favorite quote: “But though her lips smiled warmly as she accepted the embrace, her eyes — had anyone noticed — betrayed an emotionless chill.”

Notable characters: Melissa Holloway, a shy young girl; Teri MacIver, her older half-sister; D’Arcy, Melissa’s not-so-imaginary friend; Phyllis Holloway, the horrible mother; Charles, the excruciatingly unobservant father

Most memorable scene: Well, if not Polly MacIver sailing to her death in the opening scene (is it just me or do a lot of John Saul characters sail to their deaths in early scenes?) I’ll have to go with the unearthly visitation Cyndi Miller and Ellen Stevens receive in the woods on their way home from the beach

Greatest strengths: Pacing

Standout achievements: To me, it feels like there are shades of Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Carrie, and even the Exorcist here, and yet Second Child manages to feel fresh and original. I’d call that a definite standout achievement

Fun Facts: I’ve had the pleasure of meeting John Saul … and he’s every bit as awesome as I’d hoped he’d be!

Other media: N/A

What it taught me: That even the most classic trope can feel brand-new if it’s executed well

How it inspired me: Opening lines are everything and this book — along with Dean Koontz’s Servants of Twilight — has one of the best ones ever. In fact, I had no real interest in Second Child until I read it’s first sentence: “When Polly MacIver awoke just before dawn that morning, she had not the slightest presentiment that she was about to die.” After that, I had to know more. I think about that every time I start writing a new book

Additional thoughts: I think this is one of Saul’s stronger works. It feels a lot more inspired than a lot of his stuff

Haunt me: alistaircross.com

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: http://alistaircross.com ********************************************************************************************* 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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