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.)
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