The story is comprised of about 6 novellas — with a total length of about 544 pages.
The story takes place in a town called Blackstone, which is located in New Hampshire. As the story opens, we find that the town has an old asylum that is set to be torn down so that a new mall can be put in its place. We are introduced to a very sinister unnamed / unknown character that sends anonymous cursed “gifts” to some of the people in the town.
There are 6 anonymous cursed gifts in all and each novella / story centers around each gift. Each gift centers around a story or memory of the asylum.
The book opens with the story of the cursed doll. Our unknown sinister character recalls a story surrounding the doll and a little boy who dressed and thought of himself as a little girl. Not only did the little boy realize that his true nature was that of a little girl, but the mother also saw the boy’s true nature and treated him like a girl when the father was not around. The child’s father was outraged and sent the child to the asylum where she was exposed to horrendous shock therapy and other cruel forms of treatment. The doll was left behind and many moons later anonymously delivered to the home of Bill and Elizabeth McGuire. A series of unfortunate evil events happen to the McGuire family after they receive the doll.
The McGuire family’s misfortunes seem to be the kickoff to the other tragedies that happen as a result of the cursed gifts.
The Blackstone Chronicles by John Saul was a pretty good book, all in all. There were stories that kept my attention (like “The Doll”) and other stories that didn’t fully catch my attention until I was well into them. If you’ve ever read a John Saul novel, you will recognize that this story (like some of his other stories) follows a familiar formula. I found myself enjoying the back story of the Asylum much more than the story in some cases.
My Rating For The Blackstone Chronicles: