Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mr. Shivers” as Want to Read:
Mr. Shivers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mr. Shivers

3.35  ·  Rating Details ·  1,552 Ratings  ·  239 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 December 2nd 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mr. Shivers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Mr. Shivers

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dan Schwent
Dec 17, 2014 Dan Schwent rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
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
Feb 05, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: fof-reads
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  Storer
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
aPriL does feral sometimes
I really liked Mr. Shivers. He was really quite ideologically pure. He is not a corrupt man. On the other hand, the people he enlists in this novel to help him are all corrupt and evil, enjoying the taking of life through torture, greed and the use of personal authority for private gain. Mr. Shivers simply kills. I really liked the eponymous book, too.

Many Goodreads members do not share my opinion about this novel or about the Mr. Shivers character. I admit I have always been, well, a little of
Feb 06, 2010 Marvin rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
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
Nov 08, 2009 J.R. rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Nov 25, 2010 Chibineko rated it it was ok
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
Jan 22, 2012 Puddlyduck rated it really liked it
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
An urban legend from cover to cover. I'm not sure what to make of the reviews that criticize this book for turning supernatural. It was supernatural from the beginning. They were never tracking a normal serial killer during the depression, that was obvious from the way that everyone knew who he was and the slightly different ways that they described him. The main characters were always tracking SlenderMan, black eyed children, the Hitchhiker or the Hook. Urban legends have always been about comi ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Feb 19, 2012 Charles Dee Mitchell rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
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
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
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.
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.
Alex Ristea
Jan 11, 2015 Alex Ristea rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
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.
Jo Lisa
Feb 23, 2016 Jo Lisa rated it it was amazing
Started March 6th
Feb 20, 2015 Frank rated it it was amazing

People who come to Mr. Shivers because they enjoyed Robert Jackson Bennett's later books will probably be in for a bit of a let down. Not because it's a bad book, because it's really, really good, and not even because his other books are better. It's just that relative to the books that followed, which are all sweeping high-concept fantasies, knotty conspiracy thrillers or both, Mr. Shivers is smaller, tighter and to my mind, much nastier both in tone and content. Might be a bit jarring for som

Yolanda Sfetsos
Jan 01, 2011 Yolanda Sfetsos rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
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
Rowena Hoseason
Jul 29, 2015 Rowena Hoseason rated it really liked it
This debut novel ambitiously aims to blend American gothic, historical grit and the sinister, surreal otherworldliness of a menacing modern-day myth. The sparse text veers towards the literary end of the spectrum, where the author establishes the narrative dynamic and the emotional context for the increasingly unsettling scenes, but lets the reader’s imagination fill in the fine detail.

Mr Shivers begins as a latter-day western might, with wronged wanderers who meet on the road in pursuit of a s
Feb 20, 2014 Kathy rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, read-in-2014
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
Jack Haringa
Jun 24, 2011 Jack Haringa rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
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
Thomas Edmund
Feb 20, 2010 Thomas Edmund rated it it was amazing
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
May 08, 2010 Maicie rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 18, 2011 Josh rated it liked it
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
Oct 17, 2015 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Gunslinger finds himself in a movie directed by Sergio Leone. Inspired, except for an occasional weakness, such as the thinly veiled encounter with the Moerae (the Fates, for those of you less familiar with Classical tradition, who wove the threads that determined destiny), and the often-overblown rhetoric towards the end. Great descriptions, of which there were several, include:

"'Show me a law,' the sheriff demanded. 'Pick it up and show it to me. Show me a part of America. What, is it this
Feb 27, 2016 Kristal rated it really liked it
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
Anisa Clark
Apr 08, 2016 Anisa Clark rated it it was amazing
with this bringing his novel it is the time of the great depression. thousands of people have lost there homes. or they have left there home. looking for a better life. he search for one thing and one thing only............ REVENGE............. one man faces a dark truth and answers the question how much is he willing to sacrifice for his satisfaction?
I have loved it... it was worth the wait for it. i couldn't find it at all in stores and amazon was sold out i when to the dollar tree that day a
Feb 14, 2014 Keith rated it did not like it
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
Oct 19, 2015 Heather rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
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
Joe Hart
Sep 14, 2014 Joe Hart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume Two
  • The Best of Joe R. Lansdale
  • The Influence
  • The Great Lover
  • The Dead Path
  • The Sound of Building Coffins
  • The End of the Line: An Anthology of Underground Horror
  • Damnable
  • Best New Horror 22 (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, #22)
  • Slights
  • The Faceless
  • Dreadful Skin
  • Demon Theory
  • Grimm Memorials
  • One
  • Kelland
  • A Matter of Blood (The Dog-Faced Gods, #1)
  • Queer Fear (Queer Fear #1)
Robert Jackson Bennett is a two-time award winner of the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel, an Edgar Award winner for Best Paperback Original, and is also the 2010 recipient of the Sydney J Bounds Award for Best Newcomer, and a Philip K Dick Award Citation of Excellence. His fifth novel, City of Stairs, is in stores now.

He lives in Austin with his wife and son. He can be found on Twitter at @ro
More about Robert Jackson Bennett...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“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.”
More quotes…