Mr. X: Complete & Unabridged

Mr. X: Complete & Unabridged

3.62 (3,588 ratings by Goodreads)
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Mr. X is Straub's original and startling take on the theme of the doppelganger. Ned Dunstan's birthday is fast approaching, and every year on this date, Ned experiences a paralyzing seizure in which he is forced to witness scenes of ruthless slaughter perpetrated by a mysterious and malevolent figure in black who Ned calls Mr. X.
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Product details

  • Audio cassette
  • 160.02 x 226.06 x 60.96mm | 952.54g
  • Sound Library
  • United States
  • English
  • Unabridged
  • Unabridged
  • 0792724097
  • 9780792724094

Review Text

Admirers of H.P. Lovecraft's classic supernatural tales will find much of interest in this intricately contrived horror story. The protagonist, Ned Dunstan, a computer programmer whose 35th birthday is fast approaching, in fact "enters" a world specifically inspired by Lovecraft's demon-infested "Cthulha Mythos" as he returns to his Illinois hometown for the funeral of his mother Valerie (a.k.a. "Star," an itinerant jazz singer whose roofless life made her almost as much a stranger to Ned as was the father he never knew). Almost immediately, inexplicable things begin to happen: Ned is accused of crimes he couldn't possibly have committed; the dream that has troubled him since childhood - of his shadow pursuing and threatening him - edges ever closer to reality; and reunions with his Illinois relatives turn up evidence that he may have been the son of Edward Rinehart, a mad writer of supernatural fiction himself descended from a family cursed for its dalliance in slave-trading and witchcraft. Straub (The Hellfire Club, 1996, etc.) pulls several tangled narrative strings adroitly, as Ned discovers his facility for levitation and time travel, among other dark arts. Intermittent chapters presented from the viewpoint of the self-styled "Mr. X" offer teasing glimpses of the truths Ned labors to uncover, as the story moves right along, lifting plot elements here and there from Stephen King and Shirley Jackson as well as Lovecraft - and, incidentally, featuring several dead-on parodies of the latter's notoriously purplish prose. Twins separated at birth, antiquarians and poltergeists, a plucky love interest whose own family harbors dark secrets, a fiery climax straight out of the early Frankenstein movies, and a denouement offering no fewer than three turns of the screw: Straub doesn't miss a trick, or omit a cliche peculiar to the genre. Overlong and sometimes embarrassingly lurid, though more often than not quite entertaining. Not by any means Straub's most accomplished work, but one of his more interesting recent books all the same. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Rating details

3,588 ratings
3.62 out of 5 stars
5 23% (824)
4 33% (1,178)
3 31% (1,123)
2 10% (349)
1 3% (114)
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