on February 20, 2001
I'd say that you might want to start with SWAN SONG or BOY'S LIFE (McCammon's 5-star efforts) before you delve into this. This would be many authors' best effort, but then again, this is McCammon we are talking about.
You should read this book for the same reasons you should read any McCammon book: He sizzles as a storyteller. He is one of the best prose writers in modern fiction. You will really lose yourself in this book, which I can only describe as wildly imaginative and captivating. Some of the book's sections will blow you away. The part where Billy confronts a saw that screams like a man really chilled my blood.
The book weakens a bit toward the end. McCammon introduces some entirely new characters pretty late into the book. It's hard to care about them when you're so drawn into the characters he's been developing for 350 pages already: namely, Billy, Wayne and Ramona. The book's journey is ultimately a good one, though (even though it wraps up a little too neatly for my tastes), and it will make you contemplate whether you are on a mystery walk of your own.
If you are a fan of modern horror or suspense, you need to start reading McCammon's works, even if you decide that you aren't going to read this book. He's still a pretty well-kept secret, I think...
on December 28, 2001
McCammon never fails to deliver a good read. McCammon has a way of drawing the reader into the story, enfolding the reader in the world he creates. Mystery Walk is about a young boy named Billy Creekmore who's blessed, or perhaps cursed, with the special ability to speak to the dead and help lead them over to the other side. During his "Mystery Walk" he has to face evil, tests of his strength, and old family secrets. Other McCammon books recommended: Swan Song and Usher's Passing
on September 28, 2000
Right from page one to finish,unbelievebly hard to put down,moreover this is a story you'd wish there was no ending to. Robert McCammon delivers a roller coster of a ride with all human emotions,highlighting a very powerfull love between siblings and the magical relationship a mother and son posess.This story makes the works of Stephen King seem like stories and novels intended for teenagers.Even top movie directors can never be able to recreate the work of true brilliance on film.I first read the book in '92 and again in '93 and by now all my friends and colleuges have too,its one my life's treasures. By the time you finish the book,one thing is sure to happen,you are going to stare at in your hand and say"That was one amazingly incredable story" and wish someone would make a movie on it.
This book has been around for ages, I know because I've glanced over the cover probably a thousand times. Always the same cover, a dark sky with a strange feline-esque face shrieking out of it. Having never heard of McCammon until recently I'd glance at the cover and shake my head assuming the book was more over-hyped badly written horror. Magically this book, whose cover had turned me off for so many years, appeared on my shelf, so out of morbid curiosity I began to read. By the following evening the book was finished and I decided that this book was worthy of a review. I was impressed with the writer's skill, even when discussing mundane details or goings on, it felt important and the writing style was brilliant, artistic, and simplistic. McCammon was genius without trying to jam down the reader's throat that he was genius.
The story follows two boys, starting at a young age: Billy, the son of a Choctaw mother and her fervently Christian husband, and Wayne, the son of an evangelical minister. At young ages their mysterious gifts become apparent. Billy can see the dead, and help to send them on to their final resting place. Wayne can heal wounds and save the dying. The book takes place from the 1950's through the 1970's and there is much going on in the world during those times. The two boys are soon pitted against each other by the evil Shape Shifter... perhaps Satan himself who leads his pray down the wrong path by exploiting their weaknesses and by evil trickery of the mind. There are some who might say that the ending is a bit to clean, but to be honest, it is so skillfully written that when you are done reading your mind tells you that it couldn't have ended any other way.
I honestly can't recommend this book enough; I imagine that even those who don't read horror will find much to appreciate in this story. Needless to say, after having read it there are now several other McCammon books in my inventory that have been bumped up on the reading list. If his writing skill holds true, then he could write about grass growing for 400 pages and readers will thank him for it. Ignore the cheesy looking cover and pick this up, it's a wonderful read.
on July 27, 2005
After reading Boy's Life and Swan Song I was craving more McCammon, and he delivers very solidly in this novel. A young half-breed Choctaw has inherited a strange gift from his mother - the ability to assist restless spirits -revenants- back into the grave where they belong. However, he is surrounded by ignorant and racist redneck in his southern town. They treat him and his mother with xenophobia and fear. The townsfolk are not the only ones with a grudge against young Billy Creekmore. There is a genuine religious boy-healer and his crazed father trying to scourge the land from impurities. Their paranoia towards Billy grows and grows until they decide he must be destroyed. The two magic boys have different agendas but their baths are destined to meet on their respective mystery walks. The evil shapeshifter spirit also stalks Billy, craving to kill him - just as it has stalked his ancestors.
A great tale, told with wonderful prose makes Mystery Walk a journey worth going on...
on July 2, 2003
I was present at a book conference where Mr. McCammon spoke at a panel. One question was put to him about which of his books he'd recommend a reader new to his works try first. He said Mystery Walk.
I also find Mystery Walk a great introduction to McCammon's talents perhaps at their finest, most honed perfection. Characters are compelling, emotionally involving, and real; plot tension keeps you turning the pages; the flow of the narritive is cinematically rich in detail as well as action and movement; the ending very satisfying.
on May 1, 1999
I agree with another reader who said they found this book interesting from cover to cover. This is the fifth McCammon novel I've read, and I've enjoyed them all thoroughly.
I was submersed in the story from the get-go, and as I read on, I had no idea what page I was on until I looked up and saw that there was only about a fourth of an inch of pages remaining. I thought, "Oh no, its going to end soon!"
Though this is a work of fiction, fantasy and imagination, you feel as though the characters are real. The emotional highs and the lows, the sometimes twisting and turning path of life and the uncertainty and confusion and joys and rewards that go along with it, are described so well you can relate to it.
Mr. McCammon's work is heads and shoulders above most other authors I've tried to read, and definately a lot more rewarding than anything offered by the television.
on May 30, 2012
I am a HUGE Robert McCammon fan. Since his older works are all becoming available as ebooks now, I'm trying to re-read everything of McCammon's that I read as a teenager. Lucky for me, these stories stand the test of time.
Mystery Walk is the story of two boys. One of Choctaw blood that can see and speak to the dead. The other, the son of a famous evangelist, can heal the sick. The stories of these boys on their way to manhood is fascinating. How they discover the gifts which they harbor within, and how they learn how to deal with said gifts was the most interesting part of the book to me.
I didn't wholeheartedly embrace the ending, though I did think it was ok. The characters grew throughout the book, so I enjoyed the character development. I have always admired Robert McCammon's prose. The man knows how to weave words together to form a complete fabric for the story. All in all, I would recommend this book and I would give it, if allowed, a 4.5 rating.
Lastly, I did want to mention a couple of issues with the Kindle version. In a number of places the word 'die' was replaced by the word 'the'. It tripped me up every time I came across it. Also, I believe the antagonist's name was supposed to be Krespin-and it was for 1 chapter of the book. For the rest of the book, he was referred to as Krepsin. Not a big thing, but I was irritated by it, at times.
on May 31, 2012
this makes the third book i have read by robert mccammon. i absolutely loved "the wolf's hour", and really enjoyed "swan song".
this book, "mystery walk", includes the same deep insights into characters, with riveting scenes of emotion, action, and fascinating interplay between those characters. there is a paranormal slant to this book, as there was with the other two novels i read by this author. the story, which takes place in the deep south, starting in president kennedy's time period, is again a theme of good versus evil, a theme of the other two books. in this case and "swan song", the evil is literal.
in "swan song", i felt the influence of stephen king's "the stand". here in "mystery walk" i feel a little influence from king's "carrie". this isn't a bad thing....there is no copying going on here, just a ghostly afterimage of the ideas. mccammon is a very good writer, who takes the time to really flesh out the people and environments in his books. it's not a short book either. lots of events happen, over many years, and we see the development of the characters over time. this is not an easy thing to do well. and it is done well, here.
on February 17, 2010
I didn't want to give this books 1 star because it is a great book. So I gave it 5 stars, but this review is going to be of this printing from Pocket Books.
1) This is a POD or Print on Demand edition which I guess means they didn't put a lot of work into its release.
2) It's WAY over-priced As of this review: $18.71 List price: $25.99
3) The font and layout is an exact duplicate of the original Mass market book released about 2 decades ago.- The font is very small, and does not fill up the larger pages like a standard trade paperback edition.
4) Nothing was updated or improved to give it the $25.99 asking price. It is literally the same book re-released with a higher asking price The pages in the back have a list of "available books" by McCammon via Pocket Books: only 3 of the 9 listed are still in print.
I explain this not as a petty complaint, but to inform the buyer of what to expect. This book is still the original read, so if you do not have this great novel and are looking to purchase it, then by all means go ahead - I did the same. But if you're conscious of your wallet and are going to spend the $19 price expecting to get more than just a standard mass market paper back, be aware that the only difference is that there is more blank paper to each page - which apparently knocks the asking price up by $20.
However, Pocket Books was nice enough to actually make this novel along with Usher's Passing available for those readers that were not aware of Robert McCammon's great works over 2 decades ago. So thank you to them for the opportunity to purchase a new book instead of a beat up used edition, but I'm quite disappointing on the high price and small cheap font.