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Mr. Shivers Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; First Edition edition (January 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316054682
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316054683
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,227,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2010: With his debut novel, Mr. Shivers, Southern writer Robert Jackson Bennett presents a pulpy, Great Depression horror story where a mysterious killer "trails death behind him." After his daughter is brutally murdered, a revenge-seeking Marcus Connelly leaves Memphis on a hunt across America's hobo camps and ghost towns for the grotesquely scarred, ghostly figure known as "Mr. Shivers." On his quest Connelly teams up with a scrappy band of hobos recovering from their own brushes with "the gray man," and the body count increases as they ride the rails tracking their target. Connelly's spiraling bloodlust begins to rival Shivers's, threatening to take more than just his family and friends away from him. Sprinkled with hobo folklore, Bennett's supernatural dust storm of a debut offers a killer premise and may remind readers of vintage Stephen King. --Brad Thomas Parsons

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Set during the Great Depression and reading like a collaboration between Stephen King and John Steinbeck, this remarkably assured first novel relates a good man's desperate travels through the ruins of the American heartland on the trail of his child's murderer. As he tracks the eponymous fiend, Marcus Connelly discovers that he's not the only person whose life the killer has ruined. The Dust Bowl refugees pursuing Mr. Shivers gradually realize that he embodies an elemental force of destruction, and they begin sacrificing their own humanity for the sake of vengeance. The everyday horrors of a deserted, drought-blighted countryside are interrupted by frightening dreams and fragments of disturbing superstitions as Bennett's characters try to articulate what's happening and imagine a way back home. Bennett makes dark fantasy feel like gritty realism, achieving a rare laconic eloquence that will captivate horror readers hungry for new voices. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Robert Jackson Bennett was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but grew up in Katy, Texas. His interest in writing came from hearing about the books his older brother was reading and then attempting to mimic them on paper, though when his brother became interested in Stephen King and the stories written for Robert's elementary school class developed a correspondingly high body count it did cause something of a ruckus. He later attended the University of Texas at Austin and, like a lot of its alumni, was unable to leave the charms of the city and resides there currently. His first novel is "Mr. Shivers."

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
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See all 77 customer reviews
The characters seemed a little flat and underdeveloped and the plot was not all that frightening.
Basil MacDougal
Bennett has created a horror/dark fantasy/thriller/philosophical novel that is surprisingly creepy and uncomfortable to read - and I mean this in a good way.
mellion108
Sadly thought the ending is good, 90% of readers will have figured out exactly where this book is going by the first third, and eventually it does go there.
Ravenskya

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 80 people found the following review helpful By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on December 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I must admit that when I initially dug into Robert Jackson Bennett's debut "Mr. Shivers," I thought I had uncovered a winner. With its intriguing premise and set-up, I looked forward to seeing this story unfold with moral complexity, insight, and building tension. Set in Depression era America, "Mr. Shivers" chronicles the travels of a vagabond known simply as Connelly. Connelly's life unraveled when a murderer took the life of his only child. Desperate for closure and resolution, he has taken to the rails--moving from shanty town to shanty town in pursuit of the killer. On the road, he meets other vagrants whose lives have also been unsettled by the mysterious stranger known only by the alias of Mr. Shivers.

I loved the setting of "Mr. Shivers!" The idea of a mass murderer stalking the homeless camps and wreaking evil on a nation that is already suffering so much seemed a perfect jumping off point. But as I continued to read, I felt that Bennett missed many of the weighty and relevant issues that might have naturally flowed from this premise. Debating the nature of evil and how far a good man will go for justice, especially at a time when people are being forced to compromise their values, might have given the story some resonance. But as Connelly bands together with the others and they commiserate in the horrors that Mr. Shivers has perpetrated, something is just missing. And as I had hoped to know and be invested in the characters, they are never fleshed out as real people.

Bennett's interpretation of "evil" becomes more and more mythological (and literal) as the novel progresses and moves further and further into the realm of the supernatural.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Konrad Baumeister VINE VOICE on December 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Bennett's Mr. Shivers is a fantastic blend of a murder mystery, an historical novel, a surreal travelogue,a journey into the darkest corners of one's soul, and a supernatural thriller. The various scenes and characters blend in and out, and the reader rides into and out of 'real' scenes, dream sequences, allegorical encounters, the underworld, heaven and hell, all often without knowing it until in the middle of them; it's fascinating, and really well done.

Throughout, Bennett's Depression-era characters, scenery and burnt-out lives throb with life, desperation, and conflicting agendas. His dialogue is crisp and well-done, iconography thoughtful and deep, his motivations compelling. The story can sometimes be touching, or alternatively shock with sudden and explosive violence.

As the story moves from a quasi-conventional beginning through a series of scenes loaded with hints, doubts and bits of foreshadowing, and moves to a more ambiguous morality tale, and finally becomes downright surreal and supernatural, it picks up speed, urgency, and becomes a seriously bumpy ride. The author has crafted a really well done work.

To say much more would be to give away important parts of the book; but this reviewer can that it is an engaging, thoughtful, and thoroughly thrilling novel, unconventional and deep.
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31 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Auliya on November 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The premise was so very interesting I grabbed the book without a second thought... only to find I was reading a book without atmosphere or depth, with characters that never really take shape, written in awkward language that reminded me of short stories written in Freshman college creative writing classes. This last is easily the fault of the editor and not the author at all; the author should be protected by a competent editor, and I suppose this publisher didn't have the time or resources.

Anyway. Aside from the turns of phrase that made me wonder about the book's pre-published life, it also unfortunately suffered from ill-timed pacing. Some "bit" scenes took a bewildering three pages while other seemingly more significant moments took a paragraph or two. And let's not forget the stilted made-for-television dialog, which had me shaking my head. The plot itself was paper thin, fresh only because of the original setting... although not too original, as the book put me in mind of the HBO show "Carnivale" (sometimes the book seemed in homage to the show).

In the end, books like these make me appreciate that the author could at least finish a manuscript, even if it's no best seller this time out. It's a good start, gives him some experience, maybe he can give us a treat next time. If I were his mother I would be quite proud of him, but as a reader, well, I just can't find much praise. Not this time. I hope he'll try again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By laurenpie on February 10, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Replete with elegant, beautiful prose and interesting characters. Well written until you hit the end; unfortunately, the last two chapters were muddy and unclear. The plot's ending wasn't what I had hoped for, but does fit the horror genre. This book will definitely give you the shivers!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Swystun on August 23, 2010
Format: Audible Audio Edition
Bennett's first novel is a fine effort that cannot sustain itself. Set during the Great Depression, he uses that backdrop to create a dark and disturbing landscape of a country and people battling economic hardship. Given the despair, many fall back on superstition and folk tales. Among those is the creepy Mr. Shivers who may or may not be a real man. Finding him and ultimately dealing with him is the quest of the main character Marcus Connelly who has had his life ruined by the scar-faced man.

It reminded me of The Odyssey or more accurately the Coen brothers movie treatment of the same, O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Connelly and his band of fellow victims track Mr. Shivers across dust bowl America and are confronted by a series of strange characters along the way. I would give the first half of the book a five star rating but unfortunately the last half falls apart due to both supernatural explanations and unnecessary plot devices. It seems the author lost his way along with Marcus and could not maintain the tone, suspense, and more engaging rationale that commenced the book.
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