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Mr X
 
by
Peter Straub
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Mr X

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3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  2,289 ratings  ·  69 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...more
Published (first published July 20th 1999)
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Paul James
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...more
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.
Tim
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...more
Belinda
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
Tamar Love
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...more
Ian
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
Personhead
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!
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.
Nicolaas
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.
Cody
Oh man this book is awesome. It's like Peter Straub and Lovecraft had a baby and it was this book.
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...more
Dark-Draco
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...more
Clait
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...more
Gohomelefty
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
Sasha
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...more
Xandra
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...more
Clem
Apr 30, 2012 Clem rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: timothy
Recommended to Clem by: descriptive item
....thinking the stuff is heavy to bear and to write down the story still more sucking it is a prelaude to the author to have accomplished his task leaving the readers public the choice between the unknown shadows of the backyard alley or the 'between-the-curtains-eye' by the tiny invisisble 'spot-with-the-little tissue-piece'. Might be both the possiblities open a scenery, the suspense quickly closes them to take us with to the dangers of mr. X'...his life, his weaknesses, his likes....and we e...more
Tessa Small
Now this was an interesting read as it has more than just a little fantasy woven in, but dark fantasy that draws you into the book trying to figure out exactly what is happening and how it can really be as it seems. An intriguing tale with a challenging plot.
Andrea Blythe
At heart this dark fantasy novel is about the twisted truths that lie at the heart of one's family history and whether it's better to leave secrets buried or dig them up. Peter Straub does an amazing job of unraveling pieces of information that slowly form into at larger picture. His characters are complex and fascinating, which makes the story absolutely compelling with an ending that kind of blew my mind and makes me want to go back and read it again. Fantastic book.
Derek Davis
I'm not that big a Straub fan in general. I like oblique horror writers, but he's often a little too oblique. Not here.

The viscerally skewed town he creates, where both the mental and physical geometry expands and collapses like a bad dream, goes to the root of what is unsettling in life. Horror? Yes, but something far better, an unsettling sense that the world could be ... waiting.
Ejl
Straub's "Ghost Story" is a contemporary classic of horror fiction, but this novel doesn't pass muster. It seems too wrapped up in the maliciousness of the title character. And I don't quite get the Lovecraft connection - slight echoes of "The Dunwich Horror" I suppose, but for what purpose? Overlong and lacking any relatable characters for me.

I listened to this book as a book-on-tape.
Exclusive Rain
Finished this in 3 days, even I know that's impressive considering how many native(nasty) English speaking folk had trouble finishing this, like ever. Climax was a little disappointing but I really like those confusing parts, it's challenging. Straub is a master who won't spoon feed, Mr x is his best book I've read so far (the throat, hellfire club, Mr x) next is koko. I'm a huge fan.
Risa
Mar 14, 2011 Risa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Ravenous Horror readers
Shelves: read-in-2011
This is certainly not the best of Mr. Straub's work, but it definitely contains surprises and keeps the reader guessing. It pulled me effortlessly from cover to cover, and the only reason it gets 3 stars vs. 4 is because I was confused and disappointed with particular aspects of the ending. That said, I would, without question, read it again. (and again. and again.)
Kirsten
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...
Jane Anne
Plot didn't hold together for me. But depiction of small-town, middle-aged fuddy duddies rang true. Parts that made whole thing worthwhile for me were the 2 brief sections where protagonist GOES BACK IN TIME in the town he was visiting! Saw hoboes and bar ruffians of the time! YOWZAH!
Val Shepherdson
I found this book very hard to read, but stuck with it and i'm glad i did...the storyline jumps around and i found it difficult to know which character or which time frame i was reading...but once i got through the difficult start it was a totally engaging book and cleverly written.
ReaderNation
This was my first experience with Peter Straub. Although the title was goofy, the book was great! I couldn't give it 5 stars since it took me a long time to finish - which is an abnormality. The story was very interesting and I'll be looking to read more of his works.
Dundee Library
Peter Straub, co-author of two books with King and a Horror author in his own right, should also be mentioned. Like King, he focuses on characters, finds Horror in the everyday, and fills his works with ghost stories and nightmares, as well as psychological undertones.
Andrew
An Ok book but meandering and a little too clever for it's own good..a doppelganger story really alike sya King's 'The Dark half' though ultimately not as good..will read more Straub in the future however as it wasn't all bad..just not compelling
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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...more
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“Her sense of humor went south about a minute after I tied her up.” 4 likes
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