Rose Madder by Stephen King
Publisher/date: HODDER & STOUGHTON, United Kingdom(2019)
Series: Halloween Editions
Rating: M very, very violent
She didn't like seeing that look in his face, but she wanted to see it there, she did. He was a man, wasn't he? And sometimes men had to learn what it was to be afraid of a woman.
After surviving fourteen years of hell in a violently abusive marriage, Rosie Daniels finally summons the courage to flee for her life. But leaving her husband, Norman, for a new city and a new start is a very daunting prospect. It's hard for Rosie not to keep looking over her shoulder, and with good reason—Norman's a police officer with the instincts of a predator, a force of relentless terror and savagery…a man almost mythic in his monstrosity. He's very good at finding people, even if he is losing his mind. Rosie’s only hope for salvation may lie in a far more dangerous place, where she must become her own myth and the woman she never knew she could be....
The first thing I want to say is that apparently Stephen King doesn't think this book is one of his best, and frankly I have to STRONGLY DISAGREE with him.
I don't know why, it's been hinted that he thinks he went too far with Norman to be believable. But I don't mind it. He made Norman the mascot of abusive men essentially. Yes, he did go over the top. To a woman being abused, the man abusing her is a god in her world, her world revolves around him, around his abuse.
I once read the prologue to a book by indie author Israel Finn says (please check him out if you haven't heard of him,) and I WISH I had written down the quote, but what he says is that the reason he writes horror is because it's comforting in a weird way. The real world is unpredictable and bad guys don't always get their just desserts, bad things don't always have an explanation. In horror novels, they do. So we read them, because we generally know there will be an ending, a conclusion to the terror.
It spoke to me deeply, and is exactly why I read horror.
I instantly want to save Rose and kill Norman. There is a clear good guy and a clear bad guy with no moral ambiguity. And while you know I love me some moral ambiguity, I do NOT want to feel sympathy for a wife beater. I apparently have a line in what I can accept from a grey character in a book. Here it is.
FUCK YOU NORMAN DANIELS, AND ANYONE LIKE YOU.
Perhaps I am a vengeful bitch (I am a Scorpio after all,) but I devoured this suspenseful book in sheer anticipation to see Norman get his justice. And King DELIVERED. I don't feel bad "spoiling" that for you, you know what will happen from the first chapter of the book. It has to or I don't think they would have ever published the book. And it doesn't matter that you know it in your heart the whole time, the suspense will still grip you HARD.
I normally have good self control with stopping my reading at a reasonable hour to get some sleep - my job starts very early in the morning. But this book is the first in a long while to keep me up faaaar past my bedtime.
5 Stars, this is my new favorite Stephen King novel.