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Mr. Shivers
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Mr. Shivers

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  1,120 ratings  ·  201 reviews
It is the time of the Great Depression.

Thousands have left their homes looking for a better life, a new life. But Marcus Connelly is not one of them. He searches for one thing, and one thing only. Revenge.

Because out there, riding the rails, stalking the camps, is the scarred vagrant who murdered Connelly's daughter. No one knows him, but everyone knows his name: Mr. Shive
Hardcover, 327 pages
Published January 15th 2010 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2010)
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Dan Schwent
When his daughter is killed senselessly by a disfigured drifter named Mr. Shivers, Marcus Connelly travels across the Despression-stricken country for vengeance in the company of several hobos, each with a reason for wanting Mr. Shivers dead...

This tale of death in the Dustbowl was an odd animal to pin down. The pursuit of a mysterious man in gray echoed the beginning of The Gunslinger. Much like the first volume in the epic Dark Tower series, Mr. Shivers is a novel of obsession and relentlessne
In his short review of this book, my friend Chris said: "What if John Steinbeck had written a version of The Gunslinger?" And I can see it, to a point. It's set in the Depression, deals with the poor in America struggling to get by on what they don't have - and at the same time, there's a quest to find the Man in Gray.

But that's about where the comparison would end. Steinbeck is a master at making me care about his characters almost immediately. Of Mice and Men barely tops 100 pages, but in tha
What if...

...John Steinbeck had written a version of The Gunslinger, set in one of his Great Depression era settings?


The Scarred Man in Gray fled across the Midwestern Plains...

...and the Vengeful Hobo followed...

Maybe not quite like that. But this was a very enjoyable (and dark) read.....

Carolyn (Book Chick City)
Mr Shivers was one of my top ten most anticipated reads of 2010. I loved the cover and the synopsis but unfortunately, Mr Shivers did not deliver. For me it was just a disappointment and rather dull to boot.

After his daughter is murdered, Michael Connelly sets out to find the scarred man, aka gray man, aka Mr Shivers, to seek his revenge. Along the way he joins forces with an unlikely band of hobos who are also out to kill Mr Shivers. Most of the book is following their journey towards finding t
I'm sure this novel will be a hit for a lot of people. For me, it took a wrong turn.

What started out as an intriguing search for a killer set against the historical background of the Great Depression suddenly detoured into fantasy and the paranormal and left me disappointed.

I don’t want to come down too harsh on the novel. I genuinely liked the first half—the realistic half. And, even later, there were some lyrical passages of good writing. Most fantasy novels leave me cold. This held my interes
When I read the description, I figured that this would be an interesting book. The idea of a killer stalking the rails during the Great Depression was a novel idea, made even more so by the addition of some other interesting elements. Unfortunately the book just didn't deliver the way I was hoping it would.

The plotline follows the character of Connelly as he sets out to find the man who killed his daughter. He falls in with a group of several men who are also searching for the same man. All the
Charles Dee Mitchell
Almost every review of this book mentions the reader's disappointment with the second half. I will have to join that crowd.

Bennett does a great job setting up the Depression era setting of hobo encampments, drought, and deserted towns. Connolly, his main character, rides in on the side of a cattle car. He is pursuing the badly scarred killer of his young daughter back in Memphis. Any description of the man with his facial scars prompts stories of Mr. Shivers from Connolly's fellow drifters. He
I am vacillating between three and four stars on this one. Robert Jackson Bennett has written a thoughtful horror novel that captures the desperation of the Great Depression and explores our own ambivalence about death and misfortune. It is perhaps too thoughtful. Those looking for an action packed suspense tale may be a bit disappointed. However there is a lot to recommend this debut. My misgivings are centered mainly around character development. The main protagonist Connelly is consistent. He ...more
It’s Bennett’s incredible descriptions and his ability to bring this very stark, lonely, every-man-for-himself period of history to life for the reader. It’s his descriptions that resonate with me long after the book was finished. His use of the Great Depression, hobo culture and the Midwest really added some incredible atmosphere to Mr. Shivers. Yes, this is a subtle book and no, Connelly isn’t the most compelling character in all of creation, but he doesn’t need to be. Mr. Shivers is a story a ...more
Alex Ristea
Books set around the Great Depression really don't appeal to me. There's something about all the despair and dust and poverty which I can't get through.
Mr. Shivers not only didn't make me shiver he didn't even make me twitch, not even a pitter-patter. I'm not sure where the author thought he was going with this novel but somehow he short-circuited along the way. It started out well enough; a nameless but likeable stranger hitting the rails with other hobos during the depression intent on catching up with Mr. Shivers, feared by many as a cruel and suspected murderer. Our hero obviously had an unknown score to settle but it went downhill quickly ...more
It's the time of the Great Depression and Death is stalking the United States. A group of hobos are on the trail of a man who may not be a man but who killed someone close to them. It's an epic tale as the group travels around chasing the vagrants' bogeyman. Stunning debut, rather atmospheric and the ending is quite a surprise.
Joe Hart
This was my first foray into the fiction of Mr. Robert Jackson Bennett, and I have to say it was a very good venture. This novel has tinges of Steinbeck as others have mentioned, but I saw more shading of Cormac McCarthy than any other writer. Very reminiscent of The Road, Bennett shoves us headlong into the search for Mr. Shivers, a scarred murderer wandering the rails of a depression-era America. Bennett's voice is hypnotic and prophetic, his command of the language and ability to paint a scen ...more
Ok, this book really had me thinking even before I read it, then during and now after. At first, I had heard some not so great reviews and comments on this book, so I even hesitated reading it. But then a friend of mine said how much they liked it so I decided to go for it. I'm glad I did. This same friend described the book saying "What if John Steinbeck had written a version of The Gunslinger?", and being a Stephen King fan that had me hooked and ready to go. I could definitely see that compar ...more
T. Edmund
Mr Shiver's has many names, most call him death.

This novel follows Connelly, a ruffian hobo, as he pursues Mr Shivers the murderer who killed his daughter. The book is set in depression age America, and very much feels like the TV series Carnivale, so if you're a fan then this book is a must read.

The initial setting of Mr Shivers is very powerful, we can almost feel the grime and desperation of the characters and the mystery of Mr Shivers is absolutely wicked.

There are a couple of shortfalls, t
Although probably not the best way to start a review, I was struck by how suitable this book was for film adaptation. The bleak setting, descriptive prose, and near perfect pacing all put me in mind of the big screen. Bennett must have done a fantastic job in making his novel so vivid to my minds-eye!

The bleak and desperate setting was another of Mr Shiver's many striking facets. I loved the way the sickness and wildness of the land was linked to the grey man's tainted presence.

The book's beginn
Yolanda Sfetsos
I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this very interesting book. From the time I read the blurb, I knew it would be a story worth reading. I'm happy to say that I was right. Robert Jackson Bennett's debut is set in a bleak world with vivid imagery.

Marcus Connelly is just like every other vagrant moving from one side of a dying country to the other. He walks or uses the train--stowing away whenever he can. However, most are looking for a better place to live, somewhere to work and find food to sat
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jack Haringa
Robert Jackson Bennett's debut novel follows a man named Connelly as he searches for the man who killed his daughter. Connelly's quest for revenge takes him across the Dustbowl of 1930s America from his home in Memphis, forces him to adopt the hobo lifestyle that developed in earnest during the Depression, and brings him into contact--and conflict--with a series of desperate and sometimes deranged people, some of whom seek the same eponymous villain.

Bennett is a strong prose stylist, favoring th
A horror journeyman tale set in the Great Depression amongst economic downturn and drought - the protagonist Marcus Connelly embarks on a journey in search of the madman who murdered his daughter, the infamous Mr. Shivers. Accompanied by hobos seeking the same form of vengeance they travel across wastelands and wild west towns inhabited by gunslingers and thieves ever inching closer to their quarry, leaving only a trickle of blood in their wake. Bennett's debut blended crime elements with the su ...more
Amidst the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, Marcus Connelly is a man on a mission. While others are on the move, looking for a better life, Connelly is moving in the opposite direction, looking for revenge. Along the way he encounters a group of vagabond's who are looking for the same scarred man. Mr. Shivers', as he's known around the campfires, his name whispered out loud so as not to catch his attention.
As the gray man continues his journey deeper and deeper into the deadlands that use to
2.5 stars. I'm somewhere in between "it was ok" and liking it. It got a little better in the end, but for the most part it was pretty slow and boring. Good thing it was short.. Wouldn't say I'd recommend it, but I wouldn't not recommend it either. It was fine... Just fine.

I know, my reviews rock lately, right?
I'm a little unsure about my feelings on this book. On the one hand, it was a quick, easy read, with decent characters, nice writing, and a fairly original plot (ableit very HBO Carnivale-eque). On the other hand, the pacing wasn't the best and I felt it could have been a lot more suspenseful and engaging, especially seeing as how it's touted as a horror/thriller. Moreover, while it did shed some interesting insight into both the daily trials ofthe Great Depression and hobo culture, I found its ...more
Whether you meet Robert Jackson Bennett in public (where you'll notice that he is tall) or you know him from his blog (where you'll notice his obsession with solar power), you'll probably notice that he's a funny guy. If you've never heard of him, here's the 2-minute introduction to some of his humor.

Which is why it's so interesting to me that Mr. Shivers is such a purposefully humorless book. "Man whose child was murdered hunts the serial killer" isn't a premise that lends itself to comedy, whi
Eric Schwartz
Robert Jackson Bennett...the master of many genres. Mr. Bennett knocks it out of the park with "Mr. Shivers". It sent shivers down my spine time and again (yes...I know that was a terrible pun).

Follow Connelly as he chases his daughter's killer across country during the time of the Great Depression. Along the way he meets up with others who also chase this man...a man they call Mister Shivers. Who exactly are they chasing? WHAT exactly are they chasing? And, what is he doing to the very souls of
Lian Tanner
It was a hard book to like (for me) because of the palpable sense of despair that runs all the way through it. But the writing is good, which kept me going, and the character of Connelly is convincing, as is the bleakness and hopeless of those times in America's Dustbowl. Like a number of other readers, I had a bit of a problem with the way it changed from being a chase-the-killer-of-my-daughter novel to something mythological halfway through. It sort of worked, because Connelly was also struggl ...more
Of course I'm going to read a book about a killer hobo.

Unfortunately, this book tries to become much, much more and its reach exceeds its grasp. The less-than-clever reader (that's me) can suss out the ending halfway through, and that's not a good sign when you can't blame experience with previous entries in the genre("Oh, I bet this is going to end just like the last three killer hobo books I read.").
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
I have been wanting to read this for awhile.
I had high hopes.
My hopes faded and fell.
To it's hard hard death.

I will admit. At about 75% of the book I flipped to the back few pages and read the ending. I didn't miss out on anything. If you catch my drift. Blahhh in my book.
What if Grapes of Wrath had been a supernatural thriller? You'd end up with something like Mr. Shivers.

It was solid, but I can't help but feel it could have been better. It was also very predictable.
John Kues
When I got done reading it I wished I hadn't. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so stubborn to finish something I started. The writing was pretty good, the story..........not so much.
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Robert Jackson Bennett's 2010 debut Mr. Shivers won the Shirley Jackson award as well as the Sydney J Bounds Newcomer Award. His second novel, The Company Man, is currently nominated for a Philip K. Dick Award as well as an Edgar Award. His third novel, The Troupe, arrives in stores on the 21st of February.

He lives in Austin with his wife and son. He can be found on Twitter at @robertjbennett. Sin
More about Robert Jackson Bennett...
City of Stairs American Elsewhere The Troupe The Company Man To Be Read Upon Your Waking

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“Wishing is bad,” he said again. “It makes you hurt. Makes all the missing parts hurt, makes them open up new and makes them bleed.”


“You take out a part of you,” Roosevelt murmured. “Take it out and blow on it and toss it to the winds like dust, and you say, 'Find all the missing parts of me. Go out among the world and find the missing parts of me.' But instead of getting back what you lost you just lose more. Wishing is bad. Wish long enough and there won't be any of you left.”
“So he steeled himself and sent a wordless, desperate cry for aid up into the sky, hoping it would pierce the roof of the jail and the mantle of clouds and the net of stars behind that, venturing out beyond to where nothingness had no claim and there might be some consciousness, some intelligence that would listen and understand and sympathize. Something, just something. But it seemed unlikely that anything so vast would notice or care.

He was so small. A little man scrambling across the wilderness, trying to make the cosmos pay attention and make sense. In that midnight belly of the jail, dawn was a memory and the sun was no more than a dream, and hope tasted more of a curse to him than a blessing.”
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