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

Dread Journey

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  89 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The terror that rode the luxury train was centered about Kitten Agnew. Idolized by millions of movie fans for her blond beauty and wholesome simplicity, she moved about the train in a gray shroud of fear. But there were others in on it. There was Vivien Spender, for example, one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. Spender had made Kitten what she was. He could break her ...more
Paperback, 186 pages
Published September 1947 by Pocket Books, Inc. (first published 1945)
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 Dread Journey, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dread Journey

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  89 ratings  ·  34 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Dread Journey
Nancy Oakes
I believe this book contains some of the best prose Hughes ever wrote, and I've read a fair share of her work.


Interesting factoid: while I was working on my post for this novel, I did a search for mystery/crime/suspense novels set on a train, and this book didn't come up once. Not even once. That's a shame, really, because it's so damn good, and really, what happens here is tailor-made for the train. It also speaks to the fact that Dorothy Hughes, although a great writer who has had two novels
...more
Chris
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aboard the Chief, a passenger train chugging along from Los Angeles to New York, Kitten Agnew knows she is going to die. She’s under contract to star as Clavdia in an adaptation of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, a film that director Viv Spender has been meaning to make for ages. Kitten is the last in a long line of starlets groomed for the role, only to be cast aside at the last minute as Vivian Spender becomes obsessed with another, younger starlet he imagines will make a superior Clavdia ...more
Bruin Mccon
Dec 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
“Art isn’t creation to Viven Spencer, to any of those great tomcat producers. Art is a body in a bed. It isn’t a man’s life blood dying in a pen while he sells neckties in a bargain basement.”

James Cobbett is a porter for the Chief, a train from California to Chicago. He expected a higher standard of passenger on this high end train but unfortunately, there are rude and racist people on every train, no matter how expensive nor fancy.

Dread Journey is a re-issued classic by Dorothy Hughes. Vivien
...more
Vintagebooklvr
A good thriller. Lots of tension and atmosphere.
Kimberly
Though her list of published books only weighs in at fourteen, most written over a twelve year span, Dorothy Hughes’ noir style of writing is the best I’ve read in quite some time. Three of her books, The Lonely Place, The Fallen Sparrow, and Ride the Pink Horse, were adapted for the big screen, with Humphrey Bogart starring in The Lonely Place. Her novels being of a style suitable for the cinema is very evident in Dread Journey. The glamour, drama, and suspense of the ill-fated train ride were ...more
Diane Hernandez
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
It’s about time that the British Library Crime Classics had a challenger from across the pond. American Mystery Classics is republishing Dread Journey from 1945. It is an excellent example of an American golden-age mystery. It begins with a murder on a luxurious train speeding across the US with a large cast of suspects. Sounds familiar, right? But this ride is more a character-driven psychological study than the plot with the shocking twist at the end familiar to Christie readers.

If you like
...more
Jake
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I enjoyed Gone Girl well enough but those hailing Gone Girl and the female-written female-driven thriller novel that has become en vogue should do a little cultural excavation. Women have historically dominated the thriller market, especially in the 30s through the 50s. And one of the greats, indeed perhaps the greatest of these was Dorothy Hughes.

I haven’t read a lot of Hughes and that’s my mistake. Her most popular work is In A Lonely Place, which inspired the Humphrey Bogart movie that’s
...more
Carla Remy
I really thought I'd like this. I did enjoy the other two novels I've read by Hughes. And the title is so great. But the story was so dull I ended up skimming most of it to find that it ended as dully as it began. Unlikeable characters, an ordinary Hollywood saga we all know. Not effective overall. Doesn't live up to its title.
Carla
Somewhat overwrought, but it is undeniably engaging, Hughes overdoes the corruption of big bad Hollywood and the innocence of pure, sweet Gratia — so there isn’t enough in between to hold our interest. But the character of Mike, the long-suffering secretary, is well-drawn.
Jeffrey Marks
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible book about the excesses of Hollywood and the problems of success. Definitely recommended by a master of suspense.
Lesley
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dread Journey is one of Hughes' masterpieces. A dark story of Hollywood and ambition gone wrong.highly recommended to anyone who likes domestic suspense.
Joel
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
A cross-country train ride filled with a foreboding sense of impending death, told from multiple points of view in Hughes' character study.
Eden Thompson
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From my book blog www.JetBlackDragonfly.blogspot.com
One-Way Ticket To Death
Dread Journey is a dark and intense novel, I don't think I've read anything like it. On the surface it's about a transAmerican train journey, old friends and rivals, and the tensions between them. The writing however is terrific, each line filled with emotion like nails on a chalkboard. I love Noir film, and this was a tour de force by Dorothy B. Hughes.

Her most famous title is In A Lonely Place, made into a great 1950
...more
Annie
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader.

Dread Journey is a psychological thriller/mystery by Dorothy B. Hughes. Originally published in 1945, this reformat and re-release is part of the American Mystery Classics series. Released 3rd Dec 2019, it's 264 pages and available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. (Other editions available in other formats). This reformat release has an erudite and insightful introduction by Sarah Weinman.

This was a difficult novel for me to really enjoy.
...more
Randy Money
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
Interesting novel exploring power and how it can corrupt, and so still a timely read. The novel concerns a group of eight people on board a train headed from LA to NYC. More specifically, it shows how five of those people revolve around two of the others, while the eighth person, a Black man and the passenger car porter, observes the others in action. The movement of story is accomplished by examining how each of the five plus one read the other two and how the other two, while playing for the ...more
David Dunlap
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A group people on a train, all connected in one way or another with Hollywood, journey from California toward Chicago: the powerful producer/director Vivien Spender; his starlet/creation, the glamorous Kitten Agnew; his anticipated next star-in-the-making, the sweet (naïve?) Gratia Shawn; Mike Dana, Spender's long-time assistant; a playboy bandleader (Leslie Augustin); a drink-soused newspaperman (Hank Cavanaugh) who is suffering from post-war trauma; and a fired screenwriter (Sidney Pringle). ...more
Susan Miller
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This mystery, originally written in 1945, has depth and intrigue. It is not a typical mystery, nor is it a psychological thriller, although it has elements of both. The writing is excellent and the character development is casual and strong. By the middle of the book the reader understands what is meant to happen and how it will happen, and most probably how all the characters will react to what will most likely happen. I will not spoil the ending for anyone who may want to read this book. I ...more
Susan
Oct 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Producer Vivien Spender believes he has finally found the female to play the part of Clavdia Chauchat. An unknown called Gratia Shawn. But there remains the problem of Kitten Agnew, the actress that has the contract to play the part. All three are on the pullman luxury train Chief, from Los Angeles to New York.
Quite a slow paced story, which portrays the sleezy side of Hollywood. Though it does have some well-drawn characters. Overall a story that I enjoyed
Originally written in 1945
A NetGalley
...more
Melissa Dee
Hubris and its consequences. Dorothy Hughes’ “Dread Journey” was first published in 1945 and is now being issued as part of the American Mysteries Classics series. The novel is cinematic in its treatment of the train voyage of a group of movie people, traveling from California to Chicago. Their intertwined histories lead to expected and unexpected deaths. An enjoyable if somewhat melodramatic tale!
Scilla
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story takes place on a train from LA to New York. The suspense is great, and the characters are very well done. Kitten Agnew is a movie star working for and involved with Viv Spencer, a movie mogul. He has found a new, beautiful, innocent young girl, Gratia, who he is ready to groom for great things. He has asked Kitten to room with her on the train east. Kitten knows that Viv must kill her in order to give Gratia the part he has promised Kitten. She has a firm contract in the hands of her ...more
John Sargent
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short but packs a punch. Well written.
Cindy Bellomy
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting mystery - about innocence & the losing of it, about power & the dangers of it, despair & the lifting of it.
Andréa
Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.
Cindy Ladensack
Extremely well written book that explores in depth the emotions and feelings of some very jaded Hollywood insiders. Less of a mystery and more of a Suspense-type story, with thoughtful insights.
Megan Thielking
Dec 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Dorothy Hughes is such a master with viewpoints!!
Earl Adams
Trains, movie stars... MURDER! What more could a bloodthirsty foamer require from a summer read?
Lesley
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Aboard the Chief, a passenger train chugging along from Los Angeles to New York, Kitten Agnew knows she is going to die. She’s under contract to star as Clavdia in an adaptation of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, a film that director Viv Spender has been meaning to make for ages. Kitten is the last in a long line of starlets groomed for the role, only to be cast aside at the last minute as Vivian Spender becomes obsessed with another, younger starlet he imagines will make a superior Clavdia ...more
Bran Gustafson
I thought this 1940s novel about a starlet who thinks her director is planning to kill her on a cross-country train ride had a lot of potential, but it was a bit of a let down. I did like the storyline, themes and the characters, but overall this book was a bit dull. The pacing was off, with an anti-climatic climax and too much exposition.
Bryan Cyr
Feb 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir
This is a little slow at first, it is a very original idea. Worth reading if your a Hughes fan. Read my full review here:

http://everythingnoir.com/2015/03/09/...
Kit
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recentlyread
A sort of roman dur, Sartrean and melodramatic for sure, but the melodrama doesn't wear out its welcome.
« previous 1 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Bellamy Trial 
  • The Crooked Hinge (Dr. Gideon Fell, #8)
  • Gallows Court
  • The Bodies in the Library (First Edition Library Mystery, #1)
  • Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion
  • The Mitford Scandal (Mitford Murders #3)
  • The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
  • Agent Running in the Field
  • The Corner That Held Them
  • The Body in the Dumb River (Chief Inspector Littlejohn, #35)
  • Dear Edward
  • Little Weirds
  • Murder by an Aristocrat (Sarah Keate, #5)
  • The Last Passenger (Charles Lenox Mysteries, #0.3)
  • A Noël Killing (Verlaque and Bonnet, #8)
  • She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement
  • How to Love a Duke in Ten Days (Devil You Know, #1)
  • One Small Step
See similar books…
129 followers
Dorothy B. Hughes (1904–1993) was a mystery author and literary critic. Born in Kansas City, she studied at Columbia University, and won an award from the Yale Series of Younger Poets for her first book, the poetry collection Dark Certainty (1931). After writing several unsuccessful manuscripts, she published The So Blue Marble in 1940. A New York–based mystery, it won praise for its hardboiled ...more
“She carried her head like a lady and her body like a snake.” 4 likes
“She caught up her purse and she ran, ran as if she raced with Death, and as if Death were the fleeter of foot.” 3 likes
More quotes…