In the Dark of the Night

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Overview

Summer vacation becomes a season in hell for an ordinary family who unwittingly stir something invisible, insidious, and insatiable from its secret slumber–unleashing a wave of horror only the darkest evil could create, that only a master of spine-tingling terror like John Saul could orchestrate. For deep in the shadows in the dark of the night lurks something as big as life . . . and as real as death.

It has waited seven years for someone to come back to the rambling lakeside ...

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Overview

Summer vacation becomes a season in hell for an ordinary family who unwittingly stir something invisible, insidious, and insatiable from its secret slumber–unleashing a wave of horror only the darkest evil could create, that only a master of spine-tingling terror like John Saul could orchestrate. For deep in the shadows in the dark of the night lurks something as big as life . . . and as real as death.

It has waited seven years for someone to come back to the rambling lakeside house called Pinecrest, which has stood empty since its last owner went missing. For upscale Chicago couple Dan and Merrill Brewster, the old midwestern manse is an ideal retreat, and for their kids, Eric and Marci, it’s the perfect place to spend a lazy summer exploring. Which is how Eric and his teenage friends discover the curious cache of discarded objects stowed in a hidden room of Pinecrest’s carriage house. The bladeless hacksaws, shadeless lamps, tables with missing legs, headless axe handle, and other unremarkable items add up to a pile of junk. Yet someone took the trouble to inventory each worthless relic in a cryptic ledger. It has all the makings of a great mystery–whispering, coaxing, demanding to be solved.

But the more the boys devote themselves to restoring the forgotten possessions and piecing together the puzzle behind them, the more their fascination deepens into obsession. Soon their days are consumed with tending the strange, secret collection–while their nights become plagued by ever more ghastly dreams, nightmares that soon seep into reality. And when a horrifying discovery surfaces, so does the chilling truth–about the terrifying events that rocked the town seven years before, the mysterious disappearance of Pinecrest’s last resident, and a twisted legacy with a malevolent life of its own . . . and a bottomless hunger for new victims.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the start of this unoriginal but undeniably creepy horror chiller from bestseller Saul (Perfect Nightmare), Eric Brewster and two high school pals, Kent Newell and Tad Sparks, are looking forward to a summer vacation with their families in picturesque Phantom Lake, Wis. The Brewsters have rented Pinecrest, an age-blackened old house once the home of Dr. Hector Darby, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances seven years before. Eric's mother, Merrill, has a bad feeling about the house, as well she should, but the rest of the family is insistent, so she goes along with the plan. Once at Pinecrest, Eric and friends discover a secret room in the carriage house, a room filled with deadly surgical instruments, medical files, books and artifacts relating to Dr. Darby's research into the minds of serial killers. The boys begin to hear strange voices and experience terrifying dreams. Or are the dreams real? It's more YA novel than adult, but Saul has been in the business long enough to know how to send shivers up the spines of readers of any age. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Whiling away the summer with their family at an idyllic Phantom Lake cabin, the teenaged Brewster boys discover a strange room whose contents suggest that the cabin's former inhabitant was a murderer. Soon the strange room is making them do strange things-maybe even commit murder themselves. With a five-city tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-What begins as a lazy, restful summer vacation in the Great Lakes for the Brewster family turns to horror at their rented mansion, Pinecrest, in this novel (Ballantine, 2006) by best-selling author John Saul. On the grounds of Pinecrest, Eric Brewster and his high school friends discover a time-delayed shed full of meticulously catalogued items. As the boys piece together the mystery, they confront a horrifying chain of murder and mayhem that electrified the sleepy resort town seven years previously. Will the Brewster family escape Pinecrest's grisly legacy alive? Saul weaves a page-turner of a story that horror fans will enjoy from start to finish. Narrator Mel Foster reads the novel with gusto and panache, providing remarkable and memorable voices for each character. Unique sound effects add to the enjoyment. Despite some sexual and vulgar language, this audiobook will be a wonderful addition to young adult horror/thriller collections.-Larry Cooperman, Seminole High School, Sanford, FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597223362
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 10/28/2006
  • Series: Wheeler Hardcover Ser.
  • Edition description: Large Print Edition
  • Pages: 541
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

House of Reckoning is John Saul’s thirty-sixth novel. His first novel, Suffer the Children, published in 1977, was an immediate million-copy bestseller. His other bestselling suspense novels include In the Dark of the Night, Perfect Nightmare, Black Creek Crossing, Midnight Voices, The Manhattan Hunt Club, The Right Hand of Evil, Guardian, and Faces of Fear. Saul divides his time between Seattle, Washington, and Hawaii.
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Read an Excerpt

In the Dark of the Night


By John Saul

Random House

John Saul
All right reserved.

ISBN: 034548701X


Chapter One


The hands on the classroom clock were crawling far too slowly toward the weekend. Eric Brewster fidgeted in his seat as Mr. Smallwood reiterated the English assignment, but Eric wasn't paying much attention. Everybody in class--everybody in school--had spring fever, including the teacher, and Eric was certain that nobody intended to do much homework, any more than Mr. Smallwood expected it would get done. Not tonight, not this weekend, not next week, which was the last week of school before summer vacation.

When the bell rang, Eric was out of his seat, out the door, dodging fast-moving bodies as he made his way to his locker to dump his books. Long summer evenings weren't made for studying, and he was already thinking about the possibilities when Kent Newell started working the combination to the locker next to his. Which meant that Tad Sparks, the third member of the triad that had formed in kindergarten and was still thriving in the next to last year of high school, wouldn't be far behind. When any two of them were together, the third was sure to be close by.

Except in summer, when the Newells and the Sparkses headed for rented summer houses in Wisconsin, while the Brewsters sweated it out in Evanston, just barely north of Chicago, and, where they lived, not quite close enough to Lake Michigan to catch whatever coolbreeze the water might conjure up. But maybe this summer would be different. This summer his parents were looking for a summer rental, too. Of course, so far the looking had proved futile. It seemed every house at Phantom Lake had been rented months ago, and the ugly possibility that he might be stuck without his friends for another summer was starting to seem like an even uglier reality.

As usual, Kent Newell read his mind. "Your folks find a house yet?"

Eric shook his head, and memories of the single week he and his parents had spent at the lake with Kent's family last summer rose up to taunt him: fishing, swimming, waterskiing all day; barbecuing fresh trout or steaks outside in the evening while pretending the mosquitoes weren't nearly as bad as they were. Walking into town after supper to get an ice cream cone or just hang out ogling the local girls. Eric had loved it all, and so had his parents, even though all they'd done was sit around in chairs on the lawn or on the dock in front of the Newells' house, just talking.

But this year, with a lot of convincing from Kent's mom, his parents had decided they should rent a house of their own for the summer. At least, Eric's father was convinced.

His mother was a different story. All she kept talking about was how nervous she'd be, all alone in a house in the middle of the woods. Except that it wouldn't be the middle of the woods. It would be on the lake. And she wouldn't be all alone at all. He'd be there, and his sister Marci would be there, and every weekend his father would be there, too.

If his mother stopped dragging her heels, that is, and actually found them a house.

"We're going up on the twenty-second this year," Kent said. "Your mom's got to find a place, and she needs to do it quick."

Eric nodded. "Yeah."

Tad Sparks arrived then, and was greeted with one of Kent's arm punches, which had grown more painful over the last year, since Kent had spurted past six feet and put on twenty pounds, all of which was muscle. "This is the summer," Kent said, grinning slyly at Tad. "I can feel it."

"Feel what?" Tad said.

"You're gonna get laid, man. You're finally going to do it!"

Tad's face reddened as he followed Eric out into the already humid midwestern afternoon.

"Those girls up at the lake are just waiting for you," Kent went on, nudging Eric. "I mean, they are going to be hot for you this year. And Eric's gotta be there when you finally give it up, so we've got to get his mom in gear. I mean, there's got to be one house left, doesn't there? A cancellation or something?"

"But it's got to be in The Pines," Tad said. "You've got to make sure it's in The Pines."

Eric sighed. "Right now I don't care where it is, just so it's close to you guys."

"Which means The Pines," Kent said, rolling his eyes.

"We'll go fishing," Tad said.

"You'll dance naked with girls," Kent added, winking at Eric. "There's a dance every Friday night in the pavilion. If Tad can't get laid there, there's no help for him at all."

Eric groaned. "So far all Mom says is she can't find anything. Except I've got a feeling she's not really trying."

Kent Newell's brows arched, and his voice dropped to a conspiratorial level. "Ah, but you see, I've got an ace in the hole."

Eric eyed him. "Yeah? What?"

"My mom," Kent declared. "She knows some people up there. Hell, she knows everybody up there. And believe me, if there's a place at The Pines, she'll find it. And she'll talk your mom into taking it."

They paused at the corner. "I gotta get home," Tad said. "See you guys later."

"I'm going to go work out," Kent said to Eric. "Want to go to the gym?"

Eric hesitated, then shook his head, his good mood now long gone. If his mother was scared about being up in Wisconsin without his father during the week, then that would be that. And given that his mother was scared of practically everything, the possibility that she'd wind up just refusing to go even if someone did find them a house was all too real. "I think I'll just go home, too," he said.

Once again Kent read his mood. "Ah, who needs the gym," he said, clapping Eric on the shoulder. "Let's grab a Coke, then go over to my house and see if my mom's found your folks a house yet."

Eric shrugged. Better to hang with Kent right now than go home, where he might well be stuck with his ten-year-old sister all summer, once again spending endless days mowing and trimming the lawn while his mom went out to lunch with her friends and his father worked and Marci would stick to him like glue, constantly asking her ten-year-old's questions while he was thinking his sixteen-year-old's thoughts.

While his friends were at Phantom Lake, fishing and swimming and waterskiing.

And getting laid.

Without him.

Falling in beside Kent, Eric felt the summer already slipping away even though it hadn't yet actually begun.


Excerpted from In the Dark of the Night by John Saul Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 36 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2007

    Waste of Time

    Absolutely a waste of time to read this book. Saul spends so much time repeating information that is already known that its almost 150 pages into the book that the story even starts to develop. He insists on referring to his characters by first and last name. Saul's idea of how teenagers behave/think is so archaic that I have to wonder if he even realizes what century we are in. One of the characters is a worry wart and he pounds this characterization to death. You'll find yourself screaming GET ON WITH IT before the third chapter. I could drone on here, but then I'd be just as bad as this book was. If you want a good book to read then this is not it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Epic

    Epic

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2012

    Worth it

    Take a trip in the mind of me :) this is a g rated version of a every day nightmare

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Saul Classic

    If you like John Saul you will enjoy this one, written in his classic suspenseful manner. Ive never found one of his novels that I didnt like. Strong content, good characters, and a dramatic build. Good all nighter!

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  • Posted January 2, 2011

    very good book

    im currently in the middle of the book, so far its been very interesting..cant wait to find out whats next...enjoy!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    5 Stars. Great Read!

    This was my first book a read by John Saul, and i couldn't have asked for more. My only complain is that the book gets off to a bit of a slow start, however it does not detract at all from the book as a whole. at the time when I was reading this book it was a time before I read a lot of books as I am starting to now. However I managed to finish this book in two days, it really hooked me and made me constantly eager to find out what would happen next. I would highly recommend this book.

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  • Posted January 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Beware of Pinecrest

    I found the plot of the book to be a very interesting idea but Saul still could have done a little more to provide more thrill to it. Although, it was exciting to find out what was causing the "disturbance" at Pinecrest which alone made it worth the read. If you are looking for a book thats going to knock your socks off then this is not it but if you are looking for a good horror story then I recommmend this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2008

    Nicely Done

    'In the Dark of Night' is my secong John Saul novel and I was glad I got it. I liked the main characters and the idea behind the whole book. Kids are trying to find out about the old myserious death of the owner of pincrest, the get 'lost in time' when searching and in the end basically defeat a killer! Great book! My second favorite of this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2007

    A reviewer

    I've read a couple of John Saul's books recently. This man can deffenetly write a great story. I had to force myself to put it down to go to work or sleep. From front to end it gripped you to find out more. I'm afraid to say, Stephen King has been put 2nd on my list for now.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2007

    Thrillers & Killers The Perfect Combo!

    As with Black Creek Crossing, it doesn't surprise me that In The Dark of the Night hasn't received warm reviews. John Saul has been venturing away from mainstream acceptability. As a fan of both true crime and horror I for one loved this book! Mixing real life serial killers such as Ed Gein, Jack The Ripper and Jeffrey Dahmer among others with fictional characters in a horror context is an idea that should have been grasped by other horror authors long ago. Just imagine what it would be like to be a teenager staying in a house shrouded in mystery. Next you find a secret room with seemingly normal things that were bought at extremely high prices and hidden away. Then you find a lamp with a most unusual shade. You discover that the lamp belonged to the notorious serial killer Ed Gein and that the shade is made of human flesh! But that is not all, Mr. Gein wants you to carry out his bidding. He wants you to construct a new lamp shade for him using your own victim. If that sounds intriguing you will love John Saul's In The Dark of the Night!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2007

    very disappointed

    I've read all of Saul's books and this one is a huge disappointment. Not scary, No thrills, No horrors. Only read 1/3 of it and couldn't continue because it was so boring and predictable - skipped over the rest.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2006

    A Creepy Thriller!

    What a great summer thriller! Read it on vacation on Cape Cod--While vacationing in a creepy summer house, that was owned by a disturbed psychiatrist, who has mysteriously disappeared, 3 young boys stumble across a 'secret room' and find strange objects that had belonged to the scariest serial killers of our time!(Lizzie Borden, Jeffrey Dahmer, etc).Through these objects, these killers are 'resurrected' and believe me, all hell breaks loose! You'll love it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2006

    A superb haunted house thriller

    Seven years ago in Phantom Lake, Wisconsin Dr. Hector Darby vanished. His house remained empty all that time until now. Dan and Merrill Brewster decide that a summer outside of their home in Chicago would be great fun for them and their two children, Eric and Marci. They rent unseen the sprawling blackened Pinecrest, former home of Dr. Darby.------------------ At first sight, Merrill feels fear up and down her spine, but Dan and the kids persuade she is being silly. Not long afterward, Eric and his friends Kent and Tad uncover a bricked in hidden room in the nearby carriage house inside it is eerie as the room is filled with surgical instruments, medical records, broken furniture, assorted other junk and textbooks as well as bizarre items collected by Dr. Darby related to his research into serial killers all catalogued in a ledger. As the boys hear weird voices and suffer nightmares, it is back after a seven year hiatus itching for a new encounter.---------------------- What is most fascinating about John Saul¿s superb haunted house thriller is that the audience knows what terrifying event will happen next in the plot yet somehow the author manages to constantly frighten the reader. The support cast is solid whether they are family or local while the three male teens are at the center of the tale as they uncover the clues about the house in daylight, but learn the secrets of Pinecrest IN THE DARK OF THE NIGHT.------------------ Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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