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Paperback The Amulet Book

ISBN: 0380405849

ISBN13: 9780380405848

The Amulet

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

" O]ne of the best writers of horror in this or any other country." - Peter Straub "One of the genres most underrated writers . . . enjoyably nasty." - Poppy Z. Brite "A must-read for horror fiction... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A gory good time

Shortly after I read Cold Moon Over Babylon by this author I made it a point to seek out his other works. Somehow I missed out on reading Michael McDowell back in the 80s. I am now armed with a small collection of his books and this is the second one I have read. I'm pleased to say I enjoyed it just as much as my first venture. This story takes place in Pine Cone Alabama where there is not much opportunity for work other than the munitions factory. Jo Howell, who is as mean as the Alabama sun is hot, blames the munitions factory and just about everyone in town for the horrific accident that put her son in a vegetative state. She is consumed with thoughts of revenge, and she will have it, in the form of a cursed amulet that causes whoever possesses it to murder whoever happens to be handy at the time, before they themselves also die in freakishly bizarre accidents the likes of which I would not expect to see anywhere outside of one of those Final Destination movies. I do wish there had been some explanation of where the Amulet derived this power from but that did not really detract from the gory good time I had reading this book.

Very readable

PLOT: After her soldier husband Dean is disfigured in a terrible rifle range accident, Sarah Howell finds her dreary life made even worse -- she works in a dull assembly line job all day, and endures long evenings at home with her vegetable-like husband and his vindictive mother. Her mother-in-law blames the entire town for her son's accident, and her gift of an unusual piece of jewelry to the wife of a man she particularly feels responsible for Dean's troubles starts a chain of gruesome and senseless deaths in the small Alabama town. Slowly Sarah begins to see a connection between all the unusual deaths and the amulet and enlists the aid of her neighbor Becca to track down and destroy it. REVIEW: The first McDowell book I read was Cold Moon Over Babylon, and I enjoyed it a lot. It took a lot to find a copy, too. None of his books seems to have been reprinted and most are expensive or hoarded. I was surprised when I got a hold of The Amulet through, and enjoyed it as well. The deaths do get a bit too bizarre, but his writing is so fluid and interesting that it's a minor point. What I really liked is that the story was linear -- where one chapter ended the next began -- no side trips to other characters or parallel plot lines. And the heroine acted pretty sensibly -- she told people her suspicions and got some help, rather than keep it all to herself like to many annoying fictional characters in dangerous situations. McDowell's body of work (no pun) is woefully sparse, but I think The Elementals is his best work. He also wrote unter the name Nathan Aldyne, putting out a series of mystery books with a gay bartender and a straight real estate agent as his detectives.

A true master of horror.

This was McDowell's first novel, and from the second chapter detailing the southern town of Pine Cone you know you are in the hands of a master. In just a few pages McDowell detailed the town so well I swore I could smell the dusty streets. Basically, as other reviewers have pointed out, the novel is a failed screenplay and written for cinematic effect. No matter. The story is tight and compelling, ending on a grisly note. McDowell continued to improve with each suceeding novel, with COLD MOON OVER BABYLON as possibly his best work. Little more than a seven or eight page comic book story, the book grabs you by the throat and you can't put it down. McDowell proved his mastery of literature by achieving a feat I've only encountered once, and that was Stephan Crane's MAGGIE, A GIRL OF THE STREETS. In Crane's story Maggie, at the conclusion, travels through space and time on her journey to the nighted river. It is an amazing piece of writing. McDowell duplicated it in COLD MOON, having the villan also travel through space and time while driving. I've read the novel at least five times and still don't understand how he did it. But after reading the book I became a raving fan, as did my wife. Each new novel which appeared we bought two copies of so we could each immediately sit down and read it. Unfortunately, Hollywood finally discovered him and he turned to screenplays mainly with a novel here and there, including a few S-Fs and one series, but no more supernatural titles. His was a true talent, just one of his works containing more suspense and horror than all the works of a less talented hack like Dean Koontz or Stephan King. Anyone who appreciates a straight forware tale of horror should seek out his novels.

The Book I could not Forget

I have looked for this book for years. I read the book the Amulet when I was 13 years old so the memory of it is in bits and pieces but it has stuck with me forever. I am eager to read it again and as soon as I receive it I gaurentee I will read it over and over again. My daughter loves Stephen King but I told her when she reads this it will really make her think.Please reasure people that it is a book that will stay with you for a long time, and once you begin to read it, you won't be able to put it down. It is full of suspense.

The first novel of Michael McDowell; unsung American author.

"The Amulet", first published in 1979, was Michael McDowell's first paperback original. It set the pace for what was to be a marvelous career, including several other novels, such as "Cold Moon Over Babylon", "The Elementals", "Katie", "Gilded Needles" and the successful serial novel "Blackwater", to which Stephen King gives credit as his main inspiration for the "Green Mile" series.Also, as a footnote, Michael McDowell was the creator of the screenplay and characters of the hugely successful "Beetlejuice" movie.Set in the summer of 1965, at the dawn of the Vietnam war, this is the haunting story of a sleepy southern town called Pine Cone, and what went on there... After her husband is the casualty of a bizarre accident, young Sarah Howell slowly comes to realize that her strange, treacherous mother-in-law, is somehow behind an infernal plan of revenge.Slowly, as a pendant in a gold chain passes from hand to hand, citizens of the town begin to die in horrid, violent ways. What is behind this? What leads a loving mother to set her children and home on fire? A dutiful policeman to turn against his wife? A friend against the other?... as the body count rises, Sarah must run against time to stop the accursed amulet... but slowly it seems to be finding her way to her.Michael McDowell passed away on December 27, 1999. He was a lecturer at Tufts college, a Harvard Graduate and a Brandeis Ph.D... He will be sorely missed on account of his books, wickedly funny, consistently written and beautifully plotted. His characters stay with the reader even long after finishing the book. It's too bad he has been overlooked by many a horror and literature fan, for this si the real stuff... Horror as Modern Literature.

The Amulet Mentions in Our Blog

The Amulet in Horror Where You Least Expect It
Horror Where You Least Expect It
Published by William Shelton • October 18, 2022

Fear, where it is least expected, is all the more rich an experience. Such as when it is found among the pages of a story of romance, or a bucolic tale of life mundane. Here are my favorite tales with surprisingly dark moments.

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