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Mr. X MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged

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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Library edition (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455830046
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455830046
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)

Editorial Reviews Review

Peter Straub's Mr. X is an enthralling, complex tale of a decent young man troubled since childhood by barely understood flashes of precognition and an awareness of a shadowy "other."

Ned Dunstan returns home to Edgerton, Illinois, a raffish and atmospheric Mississippi River city, as his mother, Star Dunstan, lies dying. Impelled to trace his tangled paternal lineage after Star's death, Ned finds himself caught up in a web of murder and other heinous crimes, not only in the present but also in a past that his elderly great aunts Nettie, May, and Joy would prefer remained undisturbed. The aunts, whose remarkable gifts include teleportation and telekinesis, frustrate his search for knowledge, partly to protect their own secrets and also to shield Ned from the mysterious and omnipresent force that seems to dodge his every step. He is aided in his efforts to discover the mysteries of his birth by a doppleganger who may or may not be his twin, and also by a lovely young woman, Laurie Hatch. She is the estranged wife of Stewart Hatch, an Edgerton scion whose own history is inexorably linked with Ned's and with the entire Dunstan family.

The secondary characters, from the elderly aunts to a lawyer named Creech who is the essence of the small-town "fixer," are deftly drawn. --Jane Adams --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Since the publication of Koko in 1988, Straub has specialized in macabre mysteries dense with the details of small-town life and cast with ordinary people who find that the extraordinary crimes they investigate raise doubts about their own moral integrity. In this bravura new outing, he returns to his horror roots, lacing an ingenious whodunit with an intoxicating shot of the supernatural. From childhood, Ned Dunstan has experienced precognitive visions, a recurring dream of being tethered to a shadow and "the sense that something crucially significant, something without which I could never be whole, was missing." Summoned home to Edgerton, Ill., by a premonition of his mother's death on the eve of his 35th birthday, Ned finds himself implicated in a tangle of felonies and murders, all of which point to someone strenuously manipulating events to frame him. Digging into local history, he finds reason to believe that the mysterious father he never knew, or possibly a malignant doppelg?nger, are pulling the strings. Meanwhile, Mr. X, a homicidal misanthrope who reads H.P. Lovecraft's otherworldly horror fiction as gospel, cuts a swath of supernatural destruction across the country, en route to a showdown with his son, the "shadow-self" whom he must annihilate. Discerning readers will recognize this surprise-filled tale of tortuous family relationships as a modern variation on Lovecraft's classic shocker "The Dunwich Horror." But Straub turns his pulp model inside out, transforming its vast cosmic mystery into an ingrown odyssey of self-discovery and a probing study of human nature. His evocative prose, a seamless splice of clipped hard-boiled banter and poetic reflection, contributes to the thick atmosphere of apprehension that makes this one of the most invigorating horror reads of the year. BOMC main selection. (Aug.) FYI: This spring, Subterranean Press published a chapbook, Peter and PTR: Two Discarded Prefaces and an Introduction, that includes framing material that Straub wrote for, and then cut from, Mr. X.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Peter Straub is the author of seventeen novels, which have been translated into more than twenty languages. They include Ghost Story, Koko, Mr. X, In the Night Room, and two collaborations with Stephen King, The Talisman and Black House. He has written two volumes of poetry and two collections of short fiction, and he edited the Library of America's edition of H. P. Lovecraft's Tales and the forthcoming Library of America's 2-volume anthology, American Fantastic Tales. He has won the British Fantasy Award, eight Bram Stoker Awards, two International Horror Guild Awards, and three World Fantasy Awards. In 1998, he was named Grand Master at the World Horror Convention. In 2006, he was given the HWA's Life Achievement Award. In 2008, he was given the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award by Poets & Writers. At the World Fantasy Convention in 2010, he was given the WFC's Life Achievement Award.

Customer Reviews

If you want a page turner, this is not the book for you.
EQ Man
I hate to leave things unfinished, especially when I've given them so many second chances.
Z. Simon
Although staged as a main character, he seems to have very little relevance.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Sir George Martini on March 31, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've always liked Lovecraft stories, but Poe's poetry has always seemed slightly boring to me. Somehow Straub has melded the two and I think Mr. X is a masterpiece. After reading all of the Tim Underhill and Tom Passmore related books, I decided it was time to read Mr. X and I was not disappointed.

I haven't stopped thinking about this book since I finished it. Ned Dunstan has an odd assortment of relatives that range from a homicidal maniac to deformed cripples with birth defects to kleptomaniacs with enhanced mental powers. It's hard to figure out if the narrator is Ned or his "brother". He may possibly have a split personality. I plan on reading it again to see if I missed a few clues.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Steve Hooley on December 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Whoa, what have we here? Another expedition with Peter Straub through the tiny sidestreets and byways of a vivid, imaginary town, in pursuit of something evil and strange. In these days when every two-bit serial killer thinks he, she, or it is the Antichrist, it's downright refreshing to find one who is the emissary of Lovecraft's Elder Gods. Mr. X has a problem, though: long ago he sired a son, whose destiny is to destroy him unless he can be killed in time. Little Ned Dunstan, meeting his relatives as an adult, realizes that psychic powers and kleptomania run in his family. On each birthday he is tormented by visions of the awful Mr. X, killing as he searches for his son. Is the shadowy Other who stalks Ned his father, or something else entirely? In real life answers seldom come neatly wrapped, and Straub can be quite realistic (for a guy who names characters things like 'Piney Woods' and 'Minor Keyes'). It's not all a stroll in the park for poor Mr. X either. He has his doubts, his dark nights of the soul: what if there IS no Cthulhu? Maybe Lovecraft was just a writer. Ned must try to understand the weird powers that are his family heritage if he is to survive having them turned aganst him. Like Edgerton, the book is dark, complicated, twisty and winding, and filled with surprising secrets. It's a good book; more so if you've read enough Lovecraft to compare the Dunstans with the Whateleys. Straub's often compared to Stephen King because of their collaboration, but I find him darker and less hopeful than King.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Rux on May 22, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Peter Straub acid test - you'll either love it, or hate it.
Ned Dunstan comes from a very peculiar family. Some of them see things that haven't yet happened. Others can teleport. Or, apparently, be in more than one place at a time. Their offspring are - well, sometimes not quite right. Occasionally they have to be buried out in the Back Forty. Ned has been haunted by an "Other" since his childhood, some shadowy figure who seeks him and those around him out to do grievous harm. And he seems to have a twin, who his mother never told him about...or does he?
Along with Ghost Story, this is Straub's best-written and most carefully plotted book. Also like Ghost Story, it requires tremendous patience to read. Straub writes like a Chinese puzzle box, and in highly convoluted form, presenting bits and pieces of his story in altered time frames and from different perspectives. His plot is half Poe's "William Wilson," half Lovecraft's "The Dunwich Horror." It is more sci-fi or fantasy than true horror, and in fact the award it won was the World Fantasy Award, which is most appropriate. It's tricky and clever, but really satisfies in the end if you simply pay attention.
Won't be everyone's cup of tea, but this description should help you decide whether or not it will be yours.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Alexia VINE VOICE on July 22, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I like thrillers. I like mysteries. I like almost anything so long as it is well-written and interesting. I did not like this book.
After reading this novel, I was left with several unanswered questions and a feeling of dissatisfied confusion. Were Ned's family the descendants of former gods and demons, or just your average psychic inbreeders? Did he have a twin brother? Who and what exactly is Mr. X? Should I care?
From reading the other posted reviews, I'm guessing that this is a book you either love or hate. I didn't care for this story, but that doesn't mean I prefer "book candy" and wouldn't know a good book if it bit me in the a**. I prefer a story with a good plot that grabs your attention and won't let go, not a story that is laid out in a confusing manner, jumps back and forth, and then abruptly ends.
My opinion is that Peter Straub needs to stop being so impressed with his talent as a writer and get back to basics. Maybe a new editor to gently coax him back into telling good stories instead of showing off. Just my two cents, but this book is not worth wasting your time.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Lester on July 12, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not unlike a jazz musician taking "Love for Sale" and shaking it out, turning it backwards and upside down, Peter Straub's "Mr. X" grabs the gothic generally and the works of Mr. H.P. Lovecraft specifically and creates a long sustained beauty of a novel that, like the best jazz, will probably make 80% of those who encounter it sigh with exasperation and dismissiveness.
Possibly the most deadpan tongue-in-cheek formalist since Nabokov, Straub crafts an epic tale of a man and a veritable murder of Doppelgangers. "Once you are you," Straub's narrator announces at the beginning of the book, "that's who you are, and you have to pay the price." The narrator and the captive reader then spends the next several hundred pages trying to figure out just who, precisely, the narrator is, and what the price of that answer will be.
Straub keeps us guessing for well over three-fourths of the book and for many, the final quarter will be the area most lacking. It's a tough call whether Straub is mocking both the Gothic and the mystery's eye for minutiae by spending as much time on what the "Knacker" is as he does the fate of the ultimate, or perhaps penultimate, Doppelganger. Or maybe Straub actually thinks the reader will find both of equal importance. Either way, the reader is threatened with thinking the book either more petty or picayune than it actually is. Just as a jazz player's worth is in his playing, the real meat of "Mr. X" is in the writing--beautiful turns of phrase, great dialogue, mercilessly witty pastiches and satires of the Great Master Lovecraft himself.
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