Do you believe in haunted or cursed objects? Because I friggin’ do!
Sometimes while shopping at antique stores, I pick up an old object in my hands and wonder, “what if this is cursed?” or “what if a demon comes with this thing?” I always make sure to sage the shit out of the crib once I get all of the old stuff in it’s new rightful home, terrified that I’ve brought back something evil! True story.
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but one glance at this beautiful artwork and I just knew that this was exactly what I’ve been looking for.
Sure, it doesn’t always work out that way, but it did this time! And I am beyond excited to talk to you about this horror story and what makes it so much fun.
After her husband Dean was mutilated and left in a vegetative state from a gun accident, his young wife Sarah is taking care of him alongside her loathsome mother in law, Jo. To make matters worse, Jo blames Sarah and the entire town for Dean’s misfortune, as they all work on the assembly line at the firearms facility.
When Jo gives the person she holds most responsible for Dean’s accident a unique necklace, a series of gruesome deaths and murders are set in motion. Sarah begins to believe the amulet has something to do with the strange and violent outbursts, but no one believes her besides her best friend Becca.
Will Sarah and Becca be able to track down the amulet before it’s too late?
Let me start with the one issue I had about this book…
I can’t say if it’s because of when it was written, (1979,) or perhaps who it was written by, or maybe it’s because the story took place in the south, hell, it could be because of all of those things combined. But one thing I know for certain is that there is way too much racial segregation and needlessly pointing out who is what race throughout this entire story.
I understand that the south had it’s moments and US history cannot be changed, but before we move on, I just needed to express that I do not support, agree with, excuse, or condone any of those parts of the book.
With that being said, let’s discuss what was good about this story, shall we?
Is it just me, or it sort of exciting to ponder the idea that a necklace could hold so much power? As the deaths and murders start to multiply, it becomes more and more apparent that there is no one who can overcome the force of the amulet.
*Cue spooky music*
Each and every story of misfortune is written beautifully, or as beautiful as something so ugly can be, I suppose. The effects of the amulet are very detailed, but not so much so that it is overkill; just enough that you have a clear and shocking image in your head of exactly what is going on. I appreciated this a lot, as there are many books I have read that are either too extra, (see Fantasticland,) or described things in a way that I could not visualize, (see The Twisted Ones.)
And in the midst of all of the extremely violent and senseless deaths, there was also a lot of mystery surrounding the amulet which is never explained, and loved this! We’re left to wonder, where did the amulet come from? Did Jo make it herself? And if so, how?! Is Jo a damn witch?! #notallwitches
The biggest reason why I enjoyed that the amulet’s source of power was never explained is because more often than not, we never actually find these sorts of things out! That almost makes it scarier, doesn’t it?
For example, I always laugh at those haunted shows on television with the silly reenactments. My parents watch these all the time. Each and every episode is wrapped up at the end with a shiny bow: The family solved a 200 year long mystery, they found the entire history of the ghost that’s haunting them at the local library, and then banish it to
their neighbor’s house wherever spirits go, and then the family lives happy ever after.
Alright, let me stop getting sidetracked!
One thing a lot of these older horror books and films had right: Creating suspense and letting you use your imagination to fill in the blanks. Often times, our imagination is much scarier than anything that can be detailed, don’t you think?
The deaths in this book are creative and gross, our main character is relatable and enjoyable, the writing is decent, and it’s one hell of a ride. It’s not scary, exactly, but sometimes a fun and gruesome horror story is just what you need!
My Rating: ★★★★☆
5 responses to “The Amulet | Michael McDowell | Book Review”
To your first point: I would have dropped a recent book with all those allusions to race.Those allusions often hide repressed feelings. That said. I can see why you went through with it.
Do I believe something can be haunted? Absolutely. But I’m not sure anything can be haunted with demons or evil spirits. No need, Humans are evil enough. Thus, if the amulet was crafted with evil in mind, it’s haunted.
This is a great review, as always!
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Thanks for reading and I always appreciate your thoughts and input! Truthfully, I probably would’ve stopped reading it and returned it immediately if I didn’t just cancel my audible account and it was the only book I had left unread in my library! 😭 I have since restarted my membership for that exact reason. I got some word that all of the authors other titles are like this as well, so like you said… repressed feelings indeed. I will not be reading any of this other writings.
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ALSO!!! I agree with evil human intent. I think that’s probably how a lot of items get “haunted,” but I also believe in evil spirits as well. I live in a house that’s 145 years old, and things often happen here that I cannot explain! I wouldn’t say evil, but I believe there are intelligent things here sometimes.
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[…] this. This is one of the first old school horror books I’ve picked up in a while, (other than The Amulet, which I also had some issues with,) and The Devil’s End was ultimately a truly offensive […]
I think with the amulet one of the things you have to take into account is that the book is set in the deep south of Alabama in 1964. That period of History makes all the illusions to raise very accurate and also segregation segregation didn’t stop being a thing in the South until much much later than people realize. For instance the last school system to be integrated happen in 2016. For me knowing those things helped set this book because it is alluding to a time period in history that is long since past and in a way that most people today don’t think about but if you keep that in mind it makes sense for the types of racial comments in the book to be made. It also makes comments on the socioeconomics of the town which include hardscrabble farming in dirt poor areas of America. These parts of the setting also opening you up to a world that actually exists or did exist at one time that most people don’t even think about. It’sa great book