The Unloved by John Saul

The Unloved, John Saul, 1988

My favorite quote: “He pitched forward, his vision going black as he died. The last thing he saw was the scarlet gash of Marguerite’s mouth, twisted into a vicious parody of a victorious smile.”

Notable characters: The Devereaux family, Kevin and Anne, and their children Jeff and Julie; Helena, Kevin’s rude-ass dying mother; Marguerite, Kevin’s weird-ass creepy sister

Most memorable scene: When Jenny sees old Aunt Marguerite dancing in the ballroom. Her strange limping waltz is really effective in creeping the reader out. And by “the reader,” I mean me. It creeped me out. There, I said it

Greatest strengths: The horror. And by that, I don’t necessarily mean blood and gore. I mean that it’s seriously scary 

Standout achievements: The Unloved has the sole distinction of being the only book that actually made me jump. There’s a line at the end of chapter 20 that says, “… a bolt of lightning flared in the sky outside and a sharp clap of thunder shook the house.” I read this book on a stormy night and right as I read those words, real lightning flashed followed by a big crash of real thunder. It scared me so bad tears were running down my leg

Fun Facts: I know it’s morbid but I was laughing out loud when the little kid corpses were being dragged up the stairs for a dead-kid tea party. I’m calling this a ‘fun’ fact because when I met John Saul many years later, he said he thought that part was hilarious, too, and was cracking up while he wrote it. And that’s when I knew this man was my kinda guy

Other media: N/A

What it taught me: That sometimes, there are no heroes … and that’s okay

How it inspired me: John Saul’s work has influenced me in a million ways, but his ability to foreshadow without weakening the storyline tops the list.  Foreshadowing is a tricky thing, but when it’s done well — as it is here — it adds an exciting sheen to even the weariest plotline

Additional thoughts: After giving it a lot of thought (and I actually do give a lot of thought to such things) I’ve decided that this is probably my all-time favorite John Saul novel. Probably. I might feel differently later 

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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