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The Blackstone Chronicles

Author: John Saul
Published: 1997
Review by: CL4 Kaysa

After Stephen King's tremendous success with his 6-book mini series, "The Green Mile", it was time for others to follow The King's lead. The first major undertaking of this was by John Saul, who brought out his 6-book mini series, with major success as well.

I liked the fact that he put each story of each novel into it's own mini-novel. I don't know how else he could've done it and before then mini-series were considered to be something done only by a child writer.

With each mini novel, we're taken into the world of Blackstone. A large creepy hilltop asylum with heavy stone walls looms over the town and has been vacant for years. Once a business resource for Blackstone, the now vacant asylum is planned for re-developed into a shopping center. It seems though that the asylum does have a mind of its own and awakens once again when knowing it's fate, and sends out the evil that's embedded in it walls to plague the town. The unseen evil materializes in the formn of gifts, one for each book and each patient. A brief description of the six mini-novels:

"An Eye for an Eye: The Doll"

The Wrong Clothes. A porcelain doll with blond hair and painted face arrives on the doorstep of the McGuire’s. With one young daughter, the McGuire’s are expecting another child. A child of confused gender once owned the doll.

"Twist of Fate: The Locket"

Twisted Operation. The locket is discovered in the car of Jules Hartwick, the town’s banker. The locket was once a secret gift between two adulterous lovers working in the asylum.

"Ashes to Ashes: The Dragon’s Flame"

Suicidal Pyromania. Found at a flea market, a peculiar lighter is given as a gift to Andrea Ward, estranged and pregnant daughter of Martha Ward, a religious fanatic. The dragon shaped lighter was owned by a patient who gave birth out of wedlock.

"In the Shadow of Evil: The Handkerchief"

Forced Fed. Oliver Metcalf, son of the asylum’s last doctor, recovers a hand-embroidered handkerchief once belonging to a psychotic, delusional patient. Two bitter women, an invalid, nagging mother and her frigid adult daughter fight over the hanky.

"Day of Reckoning: The Stereoscope

Lobotomy Limbo. A stereoscope with a three dimensional image of a home is now in the possession of attorney Ed Becker. Disturbing premonitions follow as does their manifestations. A brutal killer owned the stereoscope.


The concluding saga converges in the asylum.