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Mr X
Peter Straub
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Mr X

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  3,323 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
The award-winning new supernatural thriller from the acclaimed author of Ghost Story, Koko, The Throat and The Talisman.

Every year on his birthday, Ned Dunstan has a paralysing seizure in which he is forced to witness scenes of ruthless slaughter perpetrated by a mysterious figure in black whom he calls Mr X. Now, with his birthday fast approaching, Ned has been drawn back
Published (first published July 20th 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sabella Daiabczenko
Although there was some wonderful writing in this book, overall it fell flat for me. Too many characters, too much "hopping" about, too little of the truly interesting Mr X, and much too much of the other, not very intriguing cast members. Also, it took a long time and a ridiculous amount of self-impressed exposition to finally get to the point of the story. The book was about 1/3 longer than it should have been, and frustrating and tedious to read in points because of this.
Feb 23, 2010 Tim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought "The Throat" was one of the best-written novels ever published, lots of complexity, mysteries within mysteries, satisfying ending, finely drawn characters, all over a fun experience. My impression of "The Talisman" and "Black House," collaborations with Stephen King, was that they were superb. "Shadowlands" was a confusing miasma but had an interesting premise.

(update several days later) To tell you the truth, I went online to see if I could make sense of my confusion regarding "Mr. X
Aug 12, 2009 Belinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-fiction
I am a big Straub fan to begin with--have enjoyed nearly all of his books--despite his work with Stephen King, I think he is quite different. This book was particularly enjoyable to me as I am a huge Lovecraft fan and this is clearly his love letter to Lovecraft. Great fun for Lovecraft fans in picking out the Lovecraftian imagery, names of books and characters scattered throughout the story---all the while winking wildly at the fans--no attempts at imitation, just sincere flattery and making us ...more
Paul James
Dec 03, 2011 Paul James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most difficult books I have read. When reading it I struggled at points to follow it but the last paragraph of the book made perfect sense and I realised that it was possibly the way the book was intended. A few years after reading I am still perplexed by this novel.

How good can a story be if you struggle to read it but then are left unable to stop thinking about it. I have come to the conclusion that Peter Straub is the best writer I have ever read. Ghost story was good with
Tamar Love
May 14, 2016 Tamar Love rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Although I loved the Blue Rose series and The Hellfire Club, my favorite works by Straub are those that focus on paranormal plot lines, like Ghost Story, Shadowland (my favorite!) and Floating Dragon. When I picked up Mr. X, I was delighted to find that Straub had returned to his paranormal past.

The story was fresh and the writing tight and captivating. The plot itself was highly original, and the working in of Lovecraft was brilliant. I hadn't read "The Dunwich Horror," and when I realized how
May 04, 2011 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The plot of this novel focuses on Ned Dunstan (born June 25, 1958), who has had precognitive visions since childhood and returns home to Edgerton, Illinois from New York after anticipating that his mother, Star Dunstan, is dying. As Star lays dying in the Intensive Care Unit after suffering a stroke, she reveals the name of the Ned's father, the mysterious Edward Rinehart. Following his mother's death, Ned begins to trace his paternal lineage with the help of his great aunts Nettie, May, and Joy ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Feb 24, 2016 Rebecca McNutt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, thriller, fiction
Mr. X, part mystery and part horror, is a strange and nightmarish story and it's very well-written, although sometimes it gets rather confusing.
Jun 21, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Straub is a great author. This isn't his best (Ghost Story), but is an interesting book with a unique concept. Great characters (especially the aunts).
Rebekah Mann
This has taken me so long to get through. I feel like I was just plowing through page after page without really registering what I was reading. It's a very complicated family history and the way the layers are sllllooooowly peeled back makes you feel like you have to keep going back and rereading just to figure out what's going on. The most endearing characters are killed off and the more annoying leeching ones stick through to the end. I think. I don't know because hit the "climax" and still ha ...more
Jul 20, 2010 Personhead rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like all of Straub's best, this book simply grabbed me and would not let me go. Straub has a way of writing... I'm not sure how to describe it, but it may put some people off to begin with. But persevere and the rewards are there. The narrative he weaves here is becomes so increasingly layered and complicated it's hard to believe it can ever tie up all it's loose ends. But it does, in this compelling, thrilling and very strange story.
J.S. Bailey
I'm sorry to say that I did not like this book very much. I had difficulty following the plot and in some places the descriptions got kind of clunky and I found myself glossing over a lot of it. It seemed like there were about 700 characters and I didn't like any of them, the protagonist included. Plus, I kept getting mixed up about who was who. The sections told from "Mr. X's" point of view were the worst of all!
Mar 15, 2008 Kirsten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-pre-12-07, own
This novel has some parallels to Stephen King's The Dark Half, but takes things in a totally different direction. Every year on his birthday, Ned Dunstan has suffered strange fits in which he sees violent acts through another's eyes. Now, Ned has returned to his hometown, where his mother lies dying, and his strange birthright is about to become evident...
Ellie Rodriguez
This book is a slow beginning. Some of the back and forth a little confusing but if you stick to it it picks up with a bang! Good so far.
I finished the book and it confused me greatly. Still a good read I liked it but not as much as some of his other novels.
May 12, 2009 Nicolaas rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was keen to read Straub because he co-wrote The Talisman with Stephen King, a big favourite of mine. My copy of Mr.X also had an endorsement from King on the cover. Sadly I felt no connection with Straub's writing and had a hard time getting into the book.
-¿El autor debe gustarse a sí mismo o al lector?.-

Género. Narrativa Fantástica.

Lo que nos cuenta. Ned tiene visiones de los crímenes de alguien a quien llama Míster X. Cuando se desplaza hasta la localidad en la que su madre está muriendo, ella le da más datos sobre su padre, al que no conoció, y decide averiguar más sobre él. Pero los asesinatos de Míster X se acercan tanto a Ned que él mismo termina en el punto de mira de los policías encargados de la investigación, mientras averigua que él no
Mar 05, 2008 Cody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh man this book is awesome. It's like Peter Straub and Lovecraft had a baby and it was this book.
Kevin Lucia
Jun 09, 2011 Kevin Lucia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, a book that makes me think: "I'll never write as fine as this..."
Jul 10, 2014 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ultimately disappointing. I'm a big fan of Straub (Floating Dragon, Koko, Throat being some of his best in my opinion), and of Lovecraft. This one never really got going, the characters were never that engaging, and although I'm used to his complex plots, the denouement didn't feel satisfying, unlike the aforementioned novels. It also dragged in places, could have been judiciously edited.
That said, it kept me reading, which is a testament to Straub's skill as a writer, and I'll definitely go bac
Dec 29, 2014 CasualDebris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
3.5/5 or 7/10
For my full review, please visit Casual Debris.

The main plot and its related threads begin well into the novel, as protagonist Ned Dunstan returns to his home town of Edgerton, Illinois, sensing that his mother is in danger. In Edgerton he takes on the task of discovering his father's identity, a man seemingly obsessed with Lovecraft to the point that he believes his works are fact. Over the course of a few days, Ned is being pursued by a dark entity he refers to as Mr. X, meets his
Kevin Murphy
I'm not typically one that gets scared by books. Films tend to scare me more. This book is no exception. It wasn't really "scary" at all.

That said, I really enjoyed the characters. I found this book INCREDIBLY difficult to read. As much as I wanted to get into it, and really enjoy it, I couldn't. The narrative was jumbled, especially Mr. X's chapters. The last 80 pages of the book was akin to the end of a James Bond film, where everything gets explained in dialogue instead of shown to the reade
Nov 01, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peter Straub weaves magic spells just by typing. More lyrical than King, grittier than Shirley Jackson, Straub is a powerhouse. And Mr. X is yet another tour de force. There's just a hint of the Blue Rose mysteries. There are untrustworthy characters and haunting imagery and doubts about sanity that hearken back to my favorites, Julia and If You Could See Me Now. The interplay of characters is as solidly mesmerizing as Ghost Story. Which is not to intimate that Mr. X is not wholly original It tr ...more
Sep 15, 2015 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Reading Peter Straub is like wandering through a maze with false exit signs painted above false doors. The story is confusing and bewildering, and when you are finished you are left with a creased brow and glazed eyes. That is also the wonderful side of reading Peter Straub. He weaves tales like few other writers, using intricate relationships between characters to confuse and delight the reader.
This book is one of his lesser-known works, and I understand why. It is difficult to read because
Aug 29, 2013 Dark-Draco rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-reading
There are not many books out there that I give up on - but this is one that I just couldn't get through. It's been on my bookshelf for a while and I do, vaguely, remember reading it in the past, but trying to re-read it turned into too much of a chore. Life's too short!

Basically, the story is Ned's, who suffers fits every birthday, that force him to see and feel the murderous exploits of some mystery character - Mr X. Drawn back to his home town, where his mother is dying, he learns who is fath
K. Rezaiezadeh
Straub writes and realizes characters well, but the plot of the book was stretched too thin, to the point where I had lost a significant amount of interest by the time I got to the 70 page coda.

Individually, the book has a whole load of great pieces...they could have just been brought together better to form a more impressive whole.
Jun 13, 2012 Clait rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not nearly as satisfying as the Lovecraft stories it tries to embody. A cool premise, characters with telekinetic powers, time travel, and an obsession with H.P. Lovecraft cannot save this novel from being nearly indecipherable. I've found this book on several internet lists of "difficult reads" -- that, I believe, is something of an understatement.

This novel is complex, convoluted, fast-moving, and just plain strange. It takes an enormous amount of concentration and analysis to follow the plot
I tried, I really did, but I could not finish this book. I like other books that Straub has written, and had high hopes for this one. The problem for me was the multiple points of view flip-flopping back and forth at a confusing pace. I liked the premise, and I got excited when a little bit was revealed about where all this was heading...but then I realized I still had about half the book left, and if the pace of revealing the plot was going to be that slow going, I wasn't sure I could make it.

Jessica Fitting
At times I couldn't put this down and it felt like a great addition on the horror shelf between Lovecraft and a meaty Stephen King. But lots of times it was s slog, where pages and pages went by of just the main character driving here or walking there, as clueless as I was of the driving force of the plot and certainly no idea what would or should happen next. This was very similar in style to Straub's later book "The Terror", but that had the advantage of a terrific setting, and so the endless ...more
Feb 13, 2013 Gohomelefty rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It took forever to get through this book. I would set it aside for a couple of weeks, then come back to it, but I never gave up on it...I kinda wish I had given up though--Just completely surrendered, because the conclusion was so unsatisfying--Just a total fizzle. Mr. X is very well written in some places, but as a whole it didn't really come together. Something about the story kept me guessing, and wanting to read more, but in the end I was hugely disappointed. It was a difficult read, I won't ...more
Jul 25, 2011 Sasha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I give this book a 3.5.

It was an enjoyable experience listening to it, but having finished it and looking back it was more than a little convoluted and indulgent. The characters themselves were the highlight, the kooky family, the small town heavies and the seedy underclass of Hatchtown. But the plot itself wasn't quite what it need to be and having the anti-climactic climax happen so long before the end of the book was an odd choice. I may just have not caught on to it enough but the last line
Feb 27, 2013 Xandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really, thoroughly enjoyed this book. Rarely do I read a book that doesn't make me want to skim the minutiae, but this is one. My favorite aspect of it, though, is the characters. Even the tiniest bit parts are interesting and colorful and not two dimensional. The ending was thought provoking. I think, if you like Clive Barker, H. P. Lovecraft, and don't insist that every book has to be horrific, you'll like this book.

(it should probably be noted - my mother did find this book gruesome and hor
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Peter Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 2 March, 1943, the first of three sons of a salesman and a nurse. The salesman wanted him to become an athlete, the nurse thought he would do well as either a doctor or a Lutheran minister, but all he wanted to do was to learn to read.

When kindergarten turned out to be a stupefyingly banal disappointment devoted to cutting animal shapes out of heavy
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