Book Reviews

{Review} The Amulet by Michael McDowell

by Michael McDowell
Published by Valancourt Books on 11/7/13
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Supernatural, Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon

This book was a good time! It contained all the good over-the-top-ness of 80’s horror. (Technically this book was originally published in 1979, but I’m calling it 80’s horror anyway. So sue me.)

This is another book by Mr. McDowell that was allowed to go out of print, but was brought back by Valancourt Books. (Another being the phenomenal book, The Elementals. ) With an introduction by Poppy Z. Brite (which I recommend you read AFTER you’ve finished the book), this novel was a tasty treat that I savored over the last week or so.

Even though this story starts off with about 5 or 6 chapters of pure description, (which I usually HATE), it captured my attention right from the get go. I was reminded of the chapters Stephen King wrote about Derry, ME and its history. If the author is talented enough they can make anything interesting and believe me, Mr. McDowell was talented, (more than) enough.

Take this southern Alabama town, populate it with the rich, the poor, the segregated, the opinionated and the lost; toss in a mysterious necklace, and then just sit back and watch people die. There’s no tippy-toeing around in this novel, people die. LOTS of people die. In all kinds of creative ways too, which I thought was F-U-N, fun!

My only problem with this novel was that around the 75% mark, it got a little bit repetitive when the main character, Sarah, was dilly dallying around as to what to do. I have to say though, the ROCKING ending almost made up for that.

Overall this novel was a fantastic mix of over the top 80’s cheese, excellent writing and descriptive skills, no holds barred, horror FUN. I recommend it to any fan of well written 80’s horror.

About Michael McDowell

Michael McDowell was born June 1, 1950 in Enterprise, Alabama and attended public schools in southern Alabama until 1968. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in English from Harvard, and in 1978 he was awarded his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Brandeis.

His seventh novel written and first to be sold, The Amulet, was published in 1979 and would be followed by over thirty additional volumes of fiction written under his own name or the pseudonyms Nathan Aldyne, Axel Young, Mike McCray, and Preston Macadam. His notable books include the Southern Gothic horror novel The Elementals (1981), the serial novel Blackwater (1983), which was first published in a series of six paperback volumes, and the trilogy of “Jack & Susan” books.

By 1985 he was writing screenplays for television, including episodes for a number of anthology series such as Tales from the Darkside, Amazing Stories, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Tales from the Crypt. He went on to write the screenplay for Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice (1988) and The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), as well as the script for Thinner (1996). McDowell died December 27, 1999 from AIDS-related illness. Tabitha King, wife of author Stephen King, completed an unfinished McDowell novel, Candles Burning, which was published in 2006.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *