The Homing

The Homing

by John Saul

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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After years of living in Los Angeles, pretty young widow Karen Spellman and her two daughters are returning to the lush, verdant countryside of Karen's childhood, where she plans to marry her high-school sweetheart. But something sinister awaits the Spellmans. Something so hideous it seems not earthly, but spawned in Hell. Now Karen must protect her daughters from a malign, preternatural force that must satisfy its gruesome thirst for unsuspecting prey . . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780449223796
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/01/1995
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 439,901
Product dimensions: 4.15(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.15(d)

About the Author

JOHN SAUL’s first novel, Suffer the Children, published in 1977, was an immediate million-copy bestseller. He has since written twenty-three successive bestselling novels of suspense, including The Manhattan Hunt Club, Nightshade, The Right Hand of Evil, The Presence, Black Lightning, and Guardian. He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling serial thriller The Blackstone Chronicles, initially published in six installments but now available in one complete volume. His most recent novel is Midnight Voices. Mr. Saul divides his time between Seattle, Washington, and Maui, Hawaii.

Read an Excerpt

Caroline Evans’s dream was not a nightmare, and as it began evaporating into the morning light, she tried to cling to it,
wanting nothing more than to retreat into the warm, sweet bliss of sleep where the joy and rapture of the dream and the reality of her life were one and the same.

Even now she could feel Brad’s arms around her, feel his warm breath on her cheek, feel his gentle fingers caressing her skin. But none of the sensations were as sharp and perfect as they had been a few moments ago, and her moan—a moan that had begun in anticipation of ecstasy but which had already devolved into nothing more than an expression of pain and frustration—drove the last vestiges of the dream from her consciousness.

The arms that a moment ago had held her in comfort were suddenly a constricting tangle of sheets, and the heat of his breath on her cheek faded into nothing more than the weak warmth of a few rays of sunlight that had managed to penetrate the blinds covering the bedroom window.

Only the fingers touching her back were real, but they were not those of her husband leading her into a morning of slow lovemaking, but of her eleven-year-old son prodding her to get out of bed.

“It’s almost nine,” Ryan complained. “I’m gonna be late for practice!”

Caroline rolled over, the image of her husband rising in her memory as she gazed at her son.

So alike.

The same soft brown eyes, the same unruly shock of brown hair, the same perfectly chiseled features, though Ryan’s had not quite emerged from the softness of boyhood into the perfectly defined angles and planes that had always made every-one—
men and women alike—look twice whenever Brad entered a room.

Had the person who killed him looked twice? Had he looked even once? Had he even cared? Probably not—all he’d want-ed was Brad’s wallet and watch, and he’d gone about it in the most efficient method possible, coming up behind Brad, slipping an arm around his neck, and then using his other hand to shove Brad’s head hard to the left, ripping vertebrae apart and crushing his spinal cord.

Maybe she shouldn’t have gone to the morgue that day,
shouldn’t have looked at Brad’s body lying on the cold metal of the drawer, shouldn’t have let herself see death in his face.

Caroline shuddered at the memory, struggling to banish it.
But she could never rid herself of that last image she had of her husband, an image that would remain seared in her memory until the day she died.

There were plenty of other people who could have identified him at the morgue. Any one of the partners in his law firm could have done it, or any of their friends. But she had insisted on going herself, certain that it was a mistake, that it hadn’t been Brad at all who’d been mugged in the park.

A terrible cold seized her as the memory of that evening last fall came over her. When Brad had gone out for his run around part of the lake and through the Ramble she’d worried that it was too dark. But he’d insisted that a good run might help him get over the jumpiness that had come over him in the last couple of weeks. She’d been helping Laurie with her math homework and barely responded to Brad’s quick kiss before he’d headed out.

Hardly even nodded an acknowledgment of what turned out to be his last words: “Love you.”

Love you.

The words kept echoing through her mind six hours later when she’d gazed numbly down at the face that was so utterly

expressionless as to be almost unrecognizable. Love you . . . love you . . . love you . . . “I love you, too,” she whispered, her vision mercifully blurred by the tears in her eyes. But in the months that had passed since that night more than half a year ago, her tears had all but dried up. Sometimes they still came, sneaking up on her late at night when she was alone in bed, trying to fall asleep, trying to escape into the dream in which Brad was still alive, and neither the tears nor the anger were a part of her life.

Caroline wasn’t quite sure when the anger had begun to creep up on her.

Not at the funeral, where she’d sat with her arms holding her children close. Maybe at the burial, where she’d stood clutching their hands in the fading afternoon light as if they, too,
might disappear into the grave that had swallowed up her husband.

That was when she’d first realized that Brad must have known he’d be alone in total darkness by the time he finished his run around the lake. And both of them knew how dangerous the park was after dark. Why had he gone? Why had he risked it? But she knew the answer to those questions, too.
Even if he’d thought about it, he’d have finished his run. That was one of the things she loved about him, that he always finished whatever he started.

Books he didn’t like, but finished anyway.

Rocks that looked easy to climb, but turned out to be almost impossible to scale. Almost, but not quite.

“Well, why couldn’t you have quit just once?” she’d whispered as she peered out into the darkness of that evening four days after he’d died. “Why couldn’t you just once have said,
‘This is really stupid,’ and turned around and come home?”
But he hadn’t, and she knew that even if the thought had occurred to him, he still would have finished what he set out to do. That was when anger had first begun to temper her grief,
and though the anger brought guilt along with it, she also knew that it was the anger rather than the grief that had let her keep functioning during those first terrible weeks after her life had been torn apart. Now, more than half a year later, the anger was finally beginning to give way to something else, something she couldn’t yet quite identify. The first shock of Brad’s death was over. The turmoil of emotions—first the numbness brought on by the shock of his death, followed by the grief, then the anger—was finally starting to settle down. As each new day had crept inexorably by, she had slowly begun to deal with the new reality of her life. She was by herself now, with two children to raise, and no matter how much she might sometimes wish she could just disappear into the same grave in which
Brad now lay, she also knew she loved her children every bit as much as she had loved their father.

No matter how she felt, their lives would go on, and so would hers. So she’d gone back to work at the antique shop,
and done her best to help her children begin healing from the wounds the loss of their father had caused. There had been just enough money in their savings account to keep them afloat for a few months, but last week she had withdrawn the last of it,
and next week the rent was due. Her financial resources had sunk even lower than those of her emotions.

“Mom?” she heard Laurie calling from the kitchen. “Is there any more maple syrup?”

Sitting up and untangling herself from the sheets—and the turmoil of her own emotions as well—Caroline shooed her son out of the room. “Go tell your sister to look on the second shelf in the pantry. There should be one more bottle. And you’re not going to be late for baseball practice. I promise.”

As Ryan skittered out of the room, already yelling to his sister,
Caroline got out of bed, opened the blinds, and looked out at the day. As the smell of Laurie’s waffles filled her nostrils and the brilliant light of a spring Saturday flooded the room,
Caroline shook off the vestiges of the previous night’s dream.

“We’re going to be all right,” she told herself.

She only wished she felt as certain as the words sounded.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

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The Homing 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
susanbevans on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not bad but then again, not his best. If you're new to John Saul, don't start with this one.
NKSCF on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While certain parts of this book seem well-researched, other parts, specifically with the parasitic insects, seem like something from a cheesy sci-fi novel from the 60s. However, The Homing still has a fun story and an interesting premise behind it. I wish that I could have read another work of John Saul's before this, but unfortunately I had to read this one first. It's not bad, but it's not good either.
andyray on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Saul knows how to keep you turning the page, but his perennial habit of killing off the seeming protagonists may be what keeps him number three in the king-koontz-saul race. Besides, the concept of virulent insects breeding in human's is so far out of the biological possibility, it's hard to accept. Fortunately, I just sat back and enjoyed the trip, and maybe that's what you are supposed to do, anyway.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the book that convinced me I will never understand why John Saul is so popular and to quit trying. I place it as the worst book I've ever read. Luckily it was at the bottom of a box of books from a yard sale so I didn't feel I wasted too much money on it. The characters are weak and one dimensional. I had more empathy for the animals in the book than any of the children. It seemed to me that the story was too all over the place and not one character could make an intelligent decision. I suppose in another author's hands the concept could have been an excellent thriller, but Saul executes it so poorly that I can't believe I managed the entire book. I guess I'm just a masochist.
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Lindsie More than 1 year ago
Im a big fan of John Saul. All of his books are origional, so you never have to read the same stuff over and over. The Homing was pretty good, and interesting. The whole concept of "killer insects" makes your skin crawl as your readining. The vividness of the insects sticks in your brain making you scratch your skin when nothings there! So, all in all, I enjoyed it. I think any fan of Saul should read this book. Not many people gave it a lot of credit, but I think its pretty good!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book of Sauls that I read. It was suspensful, and I liked it. But then I read more of his books and I am hooked.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a pretty good book. I didn't like the ending, because it was sad. At least, I think it was sad. I haven't read it in a year.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Outstanding horror book that deserves more than 3 stars & more credit to John Saul.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A definite John Saul read. I was not impressed with Nightshade, but this book brought back my faith that John Saul is the best author around. Every book he writes has a new, original storyline. This reminds me of the children of the corn, but with insects.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kept my attention and was a good read...not outstanding but still a good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't read many horror books, but picked this one up to round out my reading for the year. This book absolutely terrified and captivated me at the same time. I can say that as a work of literature, Saul's story was unique and interesting and his characters very well-developed. As for being a horror book, I literally had nightmares for two nights after finishing the book (hence the four stars). I might be morbid enough to go back for more later....