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The Uncanny Mass Market Paperback – September 8, 1998


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Island Books (September 8, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440225779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440225775
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Trolls, he thought. That's what it was. Religious people believed God ran the world. Atheists figured it was indifferent nature. But it was trolls. Sadistic little homunculi in leather jackets with lots of zippers. Hiding behind the scrim of being. Working the machinery to maximize human suffering for their own amusement."

A wealthy Hollywood cowboy-cum-movie-producer travels to England in the hope of seeing a ghost, or a voice from beyond: "Something uncanny, you know. Anything. One lousy uncanny thing." He hangs out with a marvelous old woman--a professional skeptic armed with a sword cane and an ever-puffing pipe with a skull-shaped bowl--and the other staff of a semi-tabloid rag called Bizarre! He meets the woman of his dreams, who is billed as being utterly inaccessible and frigid to boot. Then before you can say "conspiracy theory," Andrew Klavan has whipped all of them into a humorous confection with elements of German romantic art, English Gothic architecture, 19th-century ghost stories, Norse mythology, South American cult leaders, Nazi witchcraft, and the Holy Grail. Even the ghost of M.R. James has a key role in the plot.

It's not a deep novel--you get the sense that Klavan doesn't take one iota of it seriously--but it's good supernatural fun. --Fiona Webster --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Few people can resist a ghost story, and this one by two-time Edgar Award winner Klavan (True Crime, LJ 4/15/95) is bewitching. Set in England, with the requisite crumbling abbey haunted by a nun, it concerns a man's demonic quest for eternal life. Klavan updates the old-fashioned ghost story to include a Hollywood producer protagonist, the Nazi theft of some of Europe's best art, and a religious cult. The plot moves forward smoothly, the characters are plausible, and the literary quotes are enriching. Most noteworthy, though, is the structure: The story line is interrupted several times by ancient ghost stories. Intriguing in their own right, they also hold important clues to the current mystery's solution. Recommended for most collections.
-?Dorothy S. Golden, Georgia Southern Univ., Statesboro
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Andrew Klavan has been nominated for the Mystery Writer of America's Edgar award five times and won twice. He is the author of several bestselling novels, including Don't Say A Word, filmed starring Michael Douglas, True Crime, filmed by Clint Eastwood, and Empire of Lies. He is currently writing a series of thrillers for young adults called The Homelanders. The first two novels in the series are The Last Thing I Remember and The Long Way Home. Klavan is a contributing editor to City Journal and his essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among other places. His satiric video commentaries can be seen on PJTV.com.

Customer Reviews

The story itself is exciting, full of twists and turns.
Robin
The plot became a bit more interesting towards the climax, but even one of Klavan's own characters (Bernard) remarked upon the quality of the ending.
Yolanda S. Bean
The only suspense this book generated what whether or not I would burn it before I finished reading it.
attmort@aol.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Branden Poole on June 2, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
I'd like to preface this by saying that this is the first of anything that I've read by Andrew Klavan; thus, I'm not burdened by Klavan's other novels. Hey, "True Crime" may be a masterpiece, and "Animal Hour" could be fantastic, I don't know. I did read this novel, "The Uncanny", however, and I was very pleased with it.
I profess a weakness (like Storm in the novel) for English ghost stories, so perhaps the novel spoke to me more so than my fellow reviewers here. Overall, I found the book to be well-written and very interesting. It wasn't scary, as some of the others have pointed out, but I don't think Klavan was trying to upstage King here. What he's written is an interesting and entertaining thriller, filled with some clever supernatural / occult additives, and the result is entirely pleasing.
Recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Monique on March 14, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read the other reviews here. If a book is called " The Uncanny" I guarantee it's of the horror genre. Why everyone expected a "True Crime-ish" novel is beyond me.
Richard Storm, a horror movie producer,leaves Hollywood on a quest to London to see if any of the old ghost stories bare any truth. Is there really life after death? When Richard falls in love with Sophia Endering,an art dealer, he finds more then he was looking for. It's a rollercoaster ride through nazi art theft, ghost stories and "The Devil himself". To much said will give away the surprising twists in the story.
This was a great horror novel!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Schiariti on September 2, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked this book up on a whim while looking for a book by another author who, by the laws of alphabetical order was right next to The Uncanny. The title seemed interesting as did the cover.

NEver judge a book by its cover, isn't that what they say?

Whoever the mysterious 'they' are who uttered that phrase, they're completely correct.

I don't always write reviews, more often than not I do, but I felt compelled to say just how bad this book was.

It DID have potential. A mystery wrapped around famous old paintings and ghost stories, secret societies performing black masses, people killed in horrible ways, an american in England...totally the fish out of water. But as time goes on it just spirals more and more out of control.

I don't want to give away too much, but this almost seems like a tongue in cheek homage to bad and very cliched horror movies. Even the protagonist goes so far as to say that the situations he's finding himself in are so cliched, even movie studios wouldn't commit them to film.

I don't mind suspending disbeleif, but with some very annoying characters, a villain who summons a mental image of a bad guy in a black hat, twirling his moustache in an evil way while standing over a damsel in distress and some very campy dialogue..well, you get the picture...

actually, the best parts of the book are the old ghost stories that they find on the course of their investigation...those were actually pretty good little reads...

the rest of the book however? Disappointing...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "cd-" on June 13, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Impossible to take seriously as a ghost/horror story, Klavan must be poking fun at the genre with this one. The characters are stereotypes, the love story sappy and the underlying premise way over the top. I was reminded of that episode of The X-Flies (the last of one their seasons) where it made great fun of itself.
It's written well enough to be readable and might have been enjoyable if it hadn't dragged on for so long.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael Butts HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 13, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Andrew Klavan is a talented writer who has given us two really exceptional books: "True Crime" and "The Animal Hour." In those books, Klavan created characters and situations that were complex, puzzling, interesting, and original. With "The Uncanny," Klavan attempts to revamp the traditional ghost story by setting it in modern times and giving us "hip" characters like Richard Storm and Sophia Eberling. Somehow, for me, it just didn't work. The setting at the "Bizarre" magazine was novel, but not all that interesting. The ghost story itself was lame and poorly conceived. Although the book has flashes of brilliance, they are far too few, and overall, you're left with a rather unsatisfying ghost story. Read Peter Straub's "Ghost Story" for better chills!
Michael Butts
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chris MB on February 14, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'll cut to the chase - I was looking for a cheap supernatural thriller. What I got was more intricately plotted yet yielded fewer thrills. I was disappointed.
I've never read anything by Klavan and The Uncanny doesn't exactly inspire confidence. The premise is uninspired - American movie producer who's got some health problems (to say the least) ends up hunting down the answers to an old ghost story in England. It also becomes - of course - a somewhat sappy boy-meets-girl story.
I think what truly bothered me most about the novel was the portrayal of the main character. He lived up to every stereotype of the typical American movie producer. Worse, he adopted these qualities only after the first quarter of the book had passed. As an American (and I acknowledge that many of these traits can be somewhat accurate, but are rarely seen in one single individual) I was put off by the portrayal. The whole John Wayne, movie producer, father-was-a-movie-star-cowboy, protect-the-women, suffer-in-silence hero thing was just a little too over-the-top. And while this character is overdeveloped, the others are quite poorly developed.
I don't think Klavan did himself or his readers any favors by making this more of a "literary thriller". It was just slower and more weighed down.
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