‘The Sentinel’ (1974)–Book Review

I’m currently going through a phase.  Much like my tastes in music, I haven’t bought a “new” book in forever.  There’s just something about finding a treasure of a used book at a used book store, yard sale or eBay auction.

For the right book, I’ll spring for a hardback first edition, but I’ve bought a ton of horror paperbacks lately.  Many of these you can find for under 10 bucks, shipping included.

1974’s The Sentinel is one such book.

Take a look at any number of “Best Horror Novels of All Time” lists and on many of them, you’ll like find The Sentinel.  Written by Jeffrey Konvitz, The Sentinel tells the story of a young woman who moves into an elegant brownstone apartment in New York.  She has some strange run-ins with her neighbors and starts to wonder if she’s losing her mind when some truly frightening revelations are brought to her attention.  What follows is an evil, religion-fueled novel that I believe has a place on the shelf next to The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby.

I was raised Catholic, so stories like this always hit home with me.  I especially find priests and nuns creepy (which is why you should check out the last novella in Greetings from Barker MarshI scared myself writing about them both…).

The Sentinel got a film adaptation in 1977 and it stars, well…damn near everyone in Hollywood at that time.  Anyway, I saw the movie many years ago and there was one particular scene that struck me as one of the scariest things I’d ever seen on screen.  AS it turns out, years later that scene was listed on the Bravo Channel’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments.  The point is, I saw the scene coming in the book and it was still scary as hell.

The Sentinel is a quick read, too and the paperback is the perfect size to hide in a textbook now that school has started again.


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