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Mr. Shivers

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  2,087 ratings  ·  284 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. Shi
Hardcover, 327 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Orbit (first published December 2nd 2009)
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Average rating 3.41  · 
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 ·  2,087 ratings  ·  284 reviews

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Dan Schwent
Feb 11, 2014 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
aPriL does feral sometimes
The main character Marcus Connelly in the novel ‘Mr. Shivers’ by a Robert Jackson Bennett has been silently traveling from one hobo-camp to another - walking, hitching rides, sneaking aboard trains. He is astonished by the numbers of similar dirty tramps on the roads, camping rough. He has been learning the harsh life of a hobo these last few weeks, not because he had no work as most people on the roads, but because he is hunting Death.

Previously an innocent small-town married father and husban
Jan 08, 2014 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.....

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
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
I made it to the end of this book, only to find I wasted my time. I could have simply read a Marvel Comics reprint of the origin of The Gorilla Man, and got the same story with less time and effort, and definitely more pleasure. I got this book in a trade, and came away thinking the trader included this as a practical joke, or simply as an attempt to spread the misery.

Some guys, all of whom speak in a completely pretentious voice, unknown to most humans, pursue a serial killer during the depress
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books, horror
"He has a thousand names, and each one catches but a part of him.....He is the Harvester, the Sickle Man. The Night Walker and That Which Devours. The Skullsie Man, the Star Reaper, the Grinning Bone Dancer. He is the Black Rider, the great beast below all and beyond all......Death? Death is but a term."

Three things I loved about this book.

1. The writing - you know it's good when you forget you're actually reading.
2. The era and place as a secondary character - dustbowl America, feel like I've
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
Rebecca McNutt
A fantasy/horror novel set during the Great Depression era is a very good idea, and this book does have some powerful writing, but sometimes it just becomes very repetitive.
Mar 03, 2011 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
Ken Hammond
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett, totally agree it is a cross of reading Stephen King and John Steinbeck, subtle almost subdued buildup relationships some firm some scant but after which at times left me anxious as you expect at any moment " Mr Shivers" will be engaged in bloody battle victorious or not. Robert has a lovely poetic descriptive style of writing painting vivid pictures of the great depression era and of seemingly hopeless travelers across a shattered landscape all whom have bl ...more
Feb 04, 2010 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
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it

There are just certain types of reads I crave from time to time. And Mr. Shivers--what a CHEESY name, eh?--fit the bill perfect for getting my old-school horror fix. Cause to me, that's what it reads like--old Dean Koontz or John Saul or Robert McCammon. I think anyone who likes that type of stuff will definitely dig this. I sure did and look forward to reading more from this guy.
J.K. Grice
Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I decided to give Bennett another try after his disappointing AMERICAN ELSEWHERE. I knew he was a solid writer, and MR. SHIVERS was a solid read. Good book.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.75 overall. This one was a solid 4 or 4.5 for the majority of the book, but in the final third of the book I guessed the final climax. I hoped that I'd be proven wrong, but sadly, I was right. The ending felt muddled and like it had lost the momentum of the first two thirds of the book. Still, a fun read and I'm curious to read more by the author. His ability to set the scene and place you in the story were fantastic.
Nov 05, 2009 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
Shalor T.
Nov 25, 2010 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 12, 2012 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
Thomas Edmund
Feb 20, 2010 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
Charles Dee Mitchell
Feb 19, 2012 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
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
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.
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.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't going to be a traditional review. I'll use most of this space to write my thoughts about this novel mostly.

Having finished the book, I can't decide if I'm disappointed or satisfied honestly. I THINK I'm okay with how it ended but it felt so anticlimactic at the end that I also felt cheated. Connelly ended up defeating Mr.Shivers (who WAS DEATH BTW, HELLO???) and became the new Mr.Shivers but not so cruel or evil...allegedly, but who knows how true that is with several times in the bo
Ryan Lieske
Jun 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I liked this book. I had a good time reading it. It's grim, violent, and rich with period detail about the Great Depression. It's like John Steinbeck, Stephen King, and Tom Waits decided to write a book together. And, on the surface, it works.

However, once it was done, I felt like...well, like something wasn't finished. The book as a whole, and the mythology it struggles so hard to create, just didn't quite get off the ground. Maybe it should have been longer? Maybe fewer protagonists? Maybe...
Apr 30, 2020 rated it liked it
This read like a first novel. It was an interesting concept but felt disjointed and incomplete.
Feb 17, 2015 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

Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
A tightly written and relentlessly paced tour through a Dorthea Lange America watered with magic and spilled blood.

Unfortunately, it's somewhat let down by an incredibly predictable ending, as well as the weakness of Mr. Shivers, himself. What we see of his worldview is... dull and uninspired, a litany of lazy rhetoric that breaks down in confrontation with the inevitable.

Mr. Shivers is neo-noir road trip of not-quite-urban fantasy without the kitchen sink, and if that's your sort of thing it's
Nick Scott
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a well-written book about a group of men hunting down a supernatural creature during the dust bowl. Enjoyed the characters and prose. Definitely kept me reading.
Yolanda Sfetsos
Jan 01, 2011 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
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9PTI English 2019: Telesia akeli 3 2 Nov 13, 2019 04:12PM  
Flights of Fantasy: February 2014 - Horror: Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett 37 39 Mar 04, 2014 12:16PM  

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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. City of Stairs was shortlisted for the Locus Award and the World Fantasy Award. City of Blades was a finalist for the 2015 Wo ...more

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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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