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Les Hommes de paille (Straw Men #1)

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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  2,490 ratings  ·  179 reviews
Mercredi 30 octobre 1991, à 12h53, dans un fast-food de Palmerston, Pennsylvannie, une femme hurle. deux hommes, jeunes, vêtus de longs manteaux et armés de fusils semi-automatique, abattent soixante-huit personnes. avant de prendre la fuite, ils écrivent en lettres de sang: "Les Hommes de Paille". onze ans plus tard, à Santa Monica, Californie, une adolescente , Sarah Bec ...more
Paperback, 408 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by J'ai Lu (first published 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephen
5.0 stars. This one might even make it onto my 6.0 star list. This was a great read and is teh first in a series about a "global secret society" of "serial killers" with an agenda to change the world (and kill a lot of people in the process). I thought the description of the "Straw Men" society and its "theory" of human evolution was very clever and put the book a cut above the average thriller. Highly recommended.
Patrick
I don't ordinarily read thrillers, but I really enjoyed this. Marshall has an amazingly clever turn of phrase, and the book hooked me so badly that I read the whole thing in one sitting.
Shambhawi P.
Aug 29, 2012 Shambhawi P. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not the faint of heart
The Straw Men is a gripping story that will keep on the edge from the very first page. You will be making guesses, trying to make out conclusions and even if you get some of it right that does not reduce the thrill any.

It is quite hard to write this review without spoilers, but I will try.

The story begins with a shoot out in a small town in Pennsylvania where two gunmen kill sixty-eight people without even blinking an eye. We are then taken a decade later where we meet Ward, an ex CIA agent, a
...more
Jon Recluse
A thinking person's serial killer suspense novel that blends conspiracy theory with the "Millennium" television series to potent effect. Marshall avoids the more garish trappings of the sub-genre, using subtlety, hints and insinuation rather than blood spatter and posturing to carry the story, allowing the suspense to build slowly, as the dark secret hiding in the shadows of this tale takes shape.

Highly recommended.
Bill
I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Actually for about the first 3/4 of it,
I was enjoying it a LOT. Michael Marshall Smith certainly knows how to
keep a reader engaged. Here's a story with three converging storylines, each one teasing us along with the mystery of what the heck is going on.

I had only heard of Michael Marshall Smith via the Pod of Horror podcast. This is a great show, by the way, and it's introduced me to several writers I'm looking forward to reading.

Back to The Straw Men. This isn't
...more
J
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. I DON"T "HIDE" MY REVIEWS, NOR PROMOTE THEM BY ANY FEED.

I picked up this book on the strength of of the cover endorsement blurb by Stephen King, who called it "a masterpiece."

I was fooled. The book is interesting -- for writing and plot. But I realized, at book's end, that the author had failed to answer a key question. That made me devalue the whole story.

Backtracking, "Straw Men"'s about a grown only child who lives away from his parents, and isn't emotionally close to th
...more
Liz Wilkins
Ward Hopkins returns to his parents home after they are killed in a car accident. Whilst at the house, he discovers a note from his father...and so begins a journey into his past and that of his loved ones, a dangerous journey of discovery that may not end well. Meanwhile a young girl, Sarah, has gone missing and former LA Detective John Zandt, a man fighting his own demons, begins his own journey of discovery. Is it possible that Ward holds the key to saving Sarah from her fate?

This is a beauti
...more
Laura Lam
Background/Synopsis:

Michael Marshall writes horror under this name, but is also known for his science fiction, which he writes under Michael Marshall Smith. Perhaps he was inspired by Iain (M.) Banks, who likewise changes names depending on the genre.

The Strawmen is a brutal, well-written horror story about a mysterious group of mass murderers called The Straw Men and a lone serial killer to may be tied to them, who calls himself the Upright Man. The Upright Man kidnaps a young, 16-year-old girl
...more
Michelle (meshe)
Synopsis: This book brings two different stories that seem to be totally unrelated, but we know that they are going to converge at some point.
Ward Hopkins returns home to Montana after his parents die in a car crash to find a note hidden in his dad's chair that reads "We're not dead". His buddy Bobby Nygard, a CIA agent helps him unravel his history and uncover a group called "The Straw Men".
John Zandt, a former police detective is looking for "The Upright Man" who has abducted 5 teenage girls
...more
Aditya
I decided to read The straw Men after reading one of Michael Marshall's later books Killer Move which happened to make a passing mention to the titular group of this book aka The Straw Men.After completing the book I am going to make a claim that might seem too astronomical to some that Marshall is as good as any other contemporary & popular thriller writers like John Grisham, David Baldacci or Lee Child.Now let me get to the review.

PLOT
The book is about an ex CIA agent who after the death o
...more
HT Goodwill
I suppose it was well written, I did finish it after all. If the author's goal was to leave a lasting impression on me, it worked. However, I found it to be profoundly disturbing, and images and ideas haunted me (not in a fun "I had a nightmare" way) for years. The quality of my life was measurably diminished because of the images this book placed in my head.

Here's the one positive thing I gained from the experience of this book: I now am very discriminating about what I read. If it brings darkn
...more
Sam Whitehouse
This is it. This is how you write a thriller. I've read a lot of thrillers and it's pretty rare to find authors who can deliver on plot, action, pace and writing (Stephen King, Lee Child are two of only a handful), but Michael Marshall delivers all that and more in this first installment in the Straw Men trilogy. This is a multi-layered novel with a rich, disturbing mythology that makes you wonder if it all isn't true. Right from the start, Marshall builds a high-tension atmosphere. His writing ...more
Patricia
Oct 18, 2008 Patricia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those that enjoy mystery/the chase
Recommended to Patricia by: saw it on GoodREADS
I really like a book that surprises me. Too many of them are predictable. While reading the first couple of chapters, I was interested but waiting. Then when I got to about chapter 3, it was BAM! My mouth dropped open. I loved it. Never expected the plot twist. Man I love that in a book and an author. If this book proves to be as excellent as it's beginning, it will be one of the best I have read in a while.

This was a book that kept me guessing, even in the second to last chapter I was still bei
...more
Aldean
Well, I haven't done that for a while: picked up a book and devoured it with every spare waking moment over little more than two days. I have been pushing this book around for more than half a decade, and have nearly purged it from the collection more than once in that time, but it was very much worth the wait.

A well-paced page turner, this, with really nothing in the way of extraneous moving parts. The best feature to my mind, aside from the rather compelling main plot points, was the lengthy m
...more
Matt
Well that was creepy. What seems to be a straight forward thriller, twists into a secret history of the twentieth century. Almost anything else would be straying into spoilers territory. However, there is one clever idea that I can talk about without too much risk. Michael Marshall Smith seems at first to be using an idea from Matt Ridley's, "Nature via Nuture", specifically the Self-taming hypothesis of human origins. This idea was also explicitly used by Richard Morgan in "The Black Man". Howe ...more
Barbara Szemerei
This is everything I want in a dark fiction. A shocking beginning, intelligent incites, dark humor, great creep factor. The book swaps between character perspectives every chapter and when some books do that you might end up hating a 5th of the book if one character is badly realized or their part of the plot it tiresome. Not here. Every character is interesting. Each sub plot is entertaining. And even though I guessed the twist in the last 25 pages I would have been disappointed if I was wrong. ...more
Aileen
Well I'm glad I stuck with this one. After a couple of chapters I was prepared to give up on it, so I had a browse at the reviews on here and decided to carry on a while. I'm so pleased I did, I was hooked and couldn't wait to get back at it, even went past my stop on the bus one night! Unfortunately I'd caught sight of a spoiler so knew the connection between Ward and the Upright Man, but how it was revealed in the book was still a surprise. Off to look for the other two in the trilogy now.
M. D.
I think I've owned this book for at least a dozen years and had never read it until now. Somehow it slipped past me and I don't know how because I was missing a very weird, strange and engaging story.

This is the kind of novel I come across very rarely. It's one of those that has a great story with a wonderful hook plus the mystery and horror that make a good suspense novel. The wonderful, rare part comes out of nowhere though, hitting you when you least expect it. As crazy as it seems to enterta
...more
Rachael Hewison
Browsing through the books for sale in Auckland library I read the back of this book and immediately thought it sounded incredible. I was really intrigued to see how the three different events were going to link up.
The opening chapter started well; Marshall described what is really quite a horrific event in a gentle way and it draws you into the story. There were many chapters throughout that were thrilling and kept you on the edge of your seat. Marshall's great at suspense and you can't help bu
...more
Joe Stamber
Sometimes while reading a book I start to think, "This feels like a four (or whatever) star book". Of course, by the end that may have changed, and it never even crossed my mind before I discovered GR. The Straw Men staggered between 3 and 4 stars throughout its length, and is another example of why I would prefer a 10 star rating system (or the facility to give half stars). The good bits make 3 stars seem a bit mean, but the not so good bits made it difficult for me to consider 4 stars.

Marshall
...more
Valeriane
Un thriller plutôt palpitant qui nous entraîne dans un tricot de suspense. En gros, ça s'emmêle et s'entre-mêle jusqu'à une fin... qui nous assure une suite!
1991, une fusillade dans un fast-food : deux hommes abattent 60 personnes avant de laisser une message, Les hommes de paille, et de fuir-un par la porte, l'autre par le suicide.
11 ans plus tard, une jeune fille est kidnappéen selon le même schéma qu'un serial killer prénommé l'homme debout. Au même moment, Ward se rend chez ses parents qui v
...more
Robert Beveridge
Michael Marshall, The Straw Men (Jove, 2002)

Okay, let me get the bad out of the way first: there's a plot hole in this book big enough to build a development full of multi-million-dollar homes in. And it's been gnawing at me ever since I realized it. But I can't dock the book any stars, because in every other respect, The Straw Men is just about the perfect thriller, a book that grabs hold early on and refuses to let go. (I read the bulk of it, excepting twenty pages in the beginning and twenty
...more
Chas
I read a lot, a lot of drivel mostly. Not deliberately you understand, you pick up a book and look at it's cover, read the blurb on the back, maybe read a few reviews on a website such as Goodreads and often find encouragement & idiocy in equal measure. Just occasionally, maybe 1 in 100, a book will change your outlook somehow for good or bad, this book is such a one for me.

Don't get me wrong, there are issues with it, it is not the perfect novel, hence 4 stars and not 5, but it is well craf
...more
Lori
This series (Straw Men, Upright Man, Blood of Angels) was a random used-bookstore find that I put aside for my vacation. They had that creepy thriller look going on, with a powerful Stephen King quote on the front jacket of the first one. Couple that with the fact that I wouldn't mind if they got sprinkled with sea spray (which they did), and I was set.

I've read all three books (so consider this a series review rather than a single novel), and I'm still not entirely sure what happened. I liked t
...more
Menoedh
Akhirnya ada juga buku baru yang bisa bikin gue penasaran dan bisa bilang its a good one. Cukup beda karena sudut pandang ceritanya berubah-ubah tergantung dengan siapa tokoh yang lagi diceritain. Walopun gue udah nebak pasti pada akhirnya tokoh-tokoh ini saling bertemu. Ketebak juga sih siapa pembunuhnya, tapi bukan itu inti ceritanya yang menarik.

Gue suka dengan penceritaan pembunuhan yang ada di buku ini. Dingin dan kejam. It does gives you the creep bahwa manusia mampu nyakitin manusia lain
...more
Panagiotis
I guess you cannot say many things about this books without avoiding spoilers. A really enjoyable thriller with a very good pace, no filler chapters, every single page has something to offer in the case.

Interesting protagonists, great writting once again from MMS.I feel that some banalities are making their appearence now and then, but i guess in a crime/thriller/action story this is a difficult thing not to happen. Anyway, once again the writer delivers us a breathtaking story. The book has two
...more
Dea
Just a thriller. I mean a good thriller, but just a thriller. I miss the protagonist's deep psychological developments that his earlier books had.

Not to say that the deep dark undercurrent is missing in this book, I mean we are talking about abducted children, but more so that the individual philosophical musing are much more broad. The focus is on the insanity that is humanity as opposed to the insanity that is to be human.
Timea
I found this book slow starting but was encapsulated by it towards the end. The story was thrilling, with unexpected twists and a bitter sweet ending. This does go on in life, and in some ways it was shocking to see the bitter truth written on paper.
However, and it's a big however, these 5 unlikely friends who fight against the straw men just wasn't convincing for me. It wasn't well explained, the links were weak, and how they got from sit in protests to gun fights with, supposedly, life's most
...more
Bibliophile
Serial killers bore me rather than scare me. Well, reading about them does. Which is why I was glad that The Straw Men contained much more than bloodthirsty murderers. The writing is good, it's clever and occasionally funny. There are several plotlines that converge in the second half of the book, and I particularly enjoyed the part about Ward, whose dead parents turn out to have some pretty creepy secrets. I'm a sucker for the whole "your-folks-aren't-what-they-seem-to-be"-concept.

There are so
...more
Jesse
Dec 17, 2007 Jesse rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of conspiracy and "Millenium"
From the start I had high praise for this book, I said right away "This feels like a story from Chris Carter's 'Millenium'". I loved that show, and I really liked this book as well. It has a nice blend of standard thriller/cop mystery, and some conspiracy fiction thrown in. There starts off what seem two different storylines. One story is that of an estranged son investigating the death of his parrents, and finding things aren't as they seemed all his life. The other story is that of a cop falle ...more
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Michael Marshall (Smith) is a bestselling novelist and screenwriter. His first novel, ONLY FORWARD, won the August Derleth and Philip K. Dick awards. SPARES and ONE OF US were optioned for film by DreamWorks and Warner Brothers, and the Straw Men trilogy - THE STRAW MEN, THE LONELY DEAD and BLOOD OF ANGELS - were international bestsellers. His most recent novels are THE INTRUDERS, BAD THINGS and K ...more
More about Michael Marshall Smith...
Only Forward Spares One of Us What You Make It: A Book Of Short Stories Bad Things

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“The body protects itself, and the same happens in the mind. It occurs sluggishly and imperfectly, a bad job done by indifferent craftsmen, but within minutes an accretion of defence mechanisms starts to form around the trauma, blunting its edges, eventually sealing it away inside scar tissue. Like a sliver of glass buried deep in a cut, the event will never go away, and often a movement will cause it to nudge a nerve ending and burn like fire for a while. However much it hurts when that happens, the last thing you want.” 0 likes
“The food chain has victims at both ends: even rapists and murderers need someone to look down on, and kid killers will do nicely.” 0 likes
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