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In the Night Room

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  2,699 ratings  ·  198 reviews
In his latest soul-chilling novel, bestselling author Peter Straub tells of a famous children's book author who, in the wake of a grotesque accident, realizes that the most basic facts of her existence, including her existence itself, have come into question.
Willy Patrick, the respected author of the award-winning young-adult novel In the Night Room, thinks she is losing h
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Ballantine Books (first published March 1st 2003)
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Average rating 3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,699 ratings  ·  198 reviews

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May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a difficult book to describe, but I loved reading it and got completely caught up with Tim Underhill and Willy Patrick. I'll definitely be reading more by Peter Straub in the future.
Jonathan Briggs
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
About 20 pages into "In The Night Room," Peter Straub reveals that his previous book, "lost boy lost girl," was a bit of a put-on, a fictional novel written by Straub's fictional alter ego, Timothy Underhill. That seems kind of a dirty trick to play on readers who invested their time and suspension of disbelief in "lost boy lost girl." Waddaya mean the last novel was just a novel??!! Waddaya mean you just made it up and it never really happened??!! This is all getting too meta for me. "In The Ni ...more
Oct 02, 2011 rated it liked it
I absolutely love the idea which Straub presents in this book - there is a very special edition of each published book, just one copy. It falls from the printing press like all the others, is distributed, stocked and sold, but it's different. It's the book that the author meant to write. The characters, dialogue, plot and wording are perfect; it's a literary miracle. And it is out there, hidden on the shelves, looking just like all the others, waiting for the right hand to pick it up.

In The Nigh
Nick Fagerlund
Feb 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
This came to my attention via a glowing offhand recommendation from Nick Mamatas:

And Peter Straub’s metafictional In the Night Room compares favorably to anything, anything, written in the past twenty years or so, by anyone.

Do not believe the hype.

I kept reading almost to the end before giving up and skimming, in the increasingly futile hope that it was just doing something really clever by being deliberately awful. Alas, no. I am pretty positive this is just bad. Here is your checklist:

* Über-c
Katie Kenig
Aug 28, 2011 rated it did not like it
Bizarre and fantastical tale of two writers caught up in supernatural events unfolding around them, involving ghosts, a wickedly rabid fiction fan, angels, and a spirit guide who communicated via email, mostly using 1337 5p34k. Which makes long passages of the book a headache to read if you, like me, hate that kind of thing.

I didn't enjoy this book. It was just odd, and for me to say that says a lot, being a chick who loves horror, dystopia and sci-fi, but the story line seemed contrived and sel
Feb 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
I've seen this panned elsewhere, but I really enjoyed it and got into it. I love the way Straub plays with reality in his books; for example, you've got this character, Tim Underhill, who tends to write books with the same title as Peter Straub books (like lost boy lost girl). But you're never really positive that the book referred to in the text is really exactly like the one you've just read... The only thing I had trouble getting used to with this book was its length; I'm used to Straub writi ...more
I think this is a cautionary tale to irresponsible writers. When you don't do your research, when you don't follow through on your stories, when you're a lazy writer but achieve acclaim anyhow, bad things happen. Angry ghosts pee in your home. That's about the only horror aspect I can find in this story.

The idea that a writer's characters can manifest on the same physical plane as the writer, himself, is intriguing and sort of awesome. I mean, think about it, you could write your own super best
Amy Galaviz
Oct 27, 2007 rated it it was ok
There were alot of unique things about this novel: an author meeting his characters, dead people sending e-mails to the living, the concept of a "perfect" book. However, alot of the details and characters were far fetched and did not make sense. For example, why have the main character Tim Underhill be gay in the beginning of the novel, but then have him fall madly in love with Willy (a woman)? What was the point of WCHWLLDN (the angel)? I won't spoil it but the ending was a little strange too a ...more
Katie Bergeron
Nov 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
Ill give Peter credit, he does know how to pull in one's attention and make them want to keep reading. Hes good with imagery and details. But, with that being said, I felt like I've seen certain aspects of the story line a million times before, and some things were wayyyy too out there and corny... but I guess thats why i kept reading. Just kinda left me wondering if I liked it or hated it. The part with the candy bars and the girl literally fading in and out was a bit ridic to me. Mixed feeling ...more
Apr 20, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
OK, I read popular books to find out what makes a book popular. One thing that makes a book popular is to be written by an author who is already popular. Thus, reading the book is a waste of time. I stopped reading this story (at the big long weird email for those who care) and am not going to bother with it any more. Whatever made Straub famous, this book would have been unpublishable except for that reputation and market access.
Jul 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Okay, I tried with this book. I really tried, but I only got to page 240 (almost two-thirds way through). It is rare for me to give up on a book, even a bad book, but especially a book I have already invested so much time in.

Aside from the fact that the story is extremely hard to follow and not particularly engaging, the writing is bad...really bad, ie "Coverley's blond head snapped sideways, and his spoiled face hardened in concentration," (God that sounds painful), so bad that I couldn't forge
Dec 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
I have no idea wtf happened??
Steven Brandt
Jan 20, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Tim Underhill, popular novelist, is about to begin a journey into unspeakable terror. It begins with the emails. Messages bearing user names but no domains and ominous text such as “hard death hard” begin arriving in Underhill’s inbox. Some of the user names seem vaguely familiar to Tim, and a phone call to the secretary of his graduating class confirms his suspicions. The emails are from dead people. If that isn’t bad enough, Underhill also finds himself being stalked by a crazed fan. The lunat ...more
Tracy Walters
Having read 'The Talisman' and 'Black House' and simply adoring those books I was excited to jump into this book knowing that Peter Straub was the author....

Unfortunately.....this book was nowhere near the incredible stories of the above mentioned books (along with the help of Stephen King these 2 books are fantastic). The story was at times confusing and hard to follow.....there were some pretty entertaining parts such as the mass amounts of chocolate, Coca-Cola, and sugar needed to save Willy
Dec 06, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy intellect with their suspense/supernatural thriller with a touch of humor.
Quite a surprise book for me as I had first read Straub's lost boy, lost girl and did not care for it. The story in that one was excellent but the writing was convoluted and confusing. In the Night Room was also an excellent story and this time the writing was also up to snuff. I look forward to more Straub novels in the future. ...more
Sep 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
Maybe this book was "over my head," but I just thought it was terrible. The plot twists were odd and I hated that it kept referencing the only other Straub book I read (which I didn't like- lost boy lost girl). I read this because I love Stephen King and assumed anyone who collaborated with him would be worth reading, I was wrong. This book was painful. ...more
Nov 12, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: maybe his fans
I do not get this book. Very slow read. Too much going on at once.
Miriam Michalak
Feb 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, horror
Loved a lot od Straub's woek, but this one was just not for me.DNF ...more
Feb 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: cujos2019a-z
I might have been a little rough on this book during my progress report last week. I think my frustration was actually with my local library who had this selves as, "A Ghost Story to Read by the Fire". It is in fact not a traditional ghost story, but it's more of a....well that's the thing I'm not sure what it is.
However I found myself rooting for the romance between Paul and Willy and even "Shipped" them I also get the feeling that there will/should be a 3rd part to this story.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Not my favorite Straub book.
Oatmilk Lover
Peter Straub, although I have read three of his many books, is still a terra incognita in literature for whom I am having troubles to navigate. I thought The House Without Doors was fantastic, and so was Ghost Story. But both previous books had given me a hard time. It wasn't even that Peter Straub wrote like Lovecraft; it was more like a matter of consistency, which he doesn't have. If anything, Peter Straub is a bit like Chuck Palahniuk, and I loathe that guy. And In the Night Room just widene ...more
Vicki G
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: unfinished
I guess this is proof that the people who run our library DON'T read anything before they suggest it to readers.
If they had they never would have placed this book on the list of books to read for Halloween withOUT mentioning that the reader has no earthly clue WHAT the hell's going on unless they read 'Lost Boy, Lost Girl' first.
But I'm really loving how arrogant these writers actually are to just assume anyone reading this book has read the previous one. I wouldn't be surprised if they thought
Dec 12, 2012 rated it did not like it
I read "lost girl lost boy," the sort-of prequel to this book, and was drastically underwhelmed by what was supposed to be scary in it. I am a person who is very susceptible to many types of horror, in both written and film form. This, like "lost girl lost boy" before it, just isn't horror to me. It has long stretches of slow descriptions, and ultimately I guess I just found the characters to be flat and uninteresting. When Straub started to do some kind of meta-fiction, and his protagonist (an ...more
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book was my first experience with Straub's writing. I struggled with keeping the multi layers and characters tied together. I sadly didn't finish this book it became too much back and forth and I just couldn't keep interest. Based on others reviews it seems I should have stated with another book to understand some of it. ...more
Jul 24, 2008 rated it did not like it
terrible -- didn't finish ...more
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009-books
I never identified with the characters, I never cared what happened to them. Plus, it took me 100 pages just to figure out Willy was one of Tim's characters. ...more
Mar 23, 2009 rated it did not like it
I know the old, "If you don't have anything nice to say..." but never did I want to burn a book more. ...more
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
A great, mind-bending fantasy/horror/whodunit in the best tradition of Straubian mindfnck. One wonders how poor Tim Underhill gets through the day under these circumstances.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: horror
Threw it into the fire when I was done.
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
File this one under “weird”. Maybe all of Straub’s books are somewhat bizarre, I’m not sure. I’ve only read two, and the first one (‘Mystery’) seemed much more straightforward. Although weird, I must say that I quite enjoyed this book. Not only was the story fairly unique, but I really enjoy Mr. Straub’s writing. When you read a lot of books in your spare time, like me, you notice little things that show you just how difficult the art of novel writing is, and how rare true geniuses actually are. ...more
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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

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