Peter Straub Mr. X

ISBN 13: 9780006513759

Mr. X

3.63 avg rating
( 3,582 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780006513759: Mr. X

The award-winning new supernatural thriller from the acclaimed author of Ghost Story, Koko, The Throat and The Talisman.Every year on his birthday, Ned Dunstan has a paralysing seizure in which he is forced to witness scenes of ruthless slaughter perpetrated by a mysterious figure in black whom he calls Mr X. Now, with his birthday fast approaching, Ned has been drawn back to his home town of Edgerton, Illinois, by a premonition that his mother is dying. On her deathbed, she imparts to him the name of his long-absent father and warns him that he is in grave danger. Despite her foreboding, he embarks on a search through Edgerton's past for the truth behind his own identity and that of his entirely fantastic family. But when Ned becomes the lead suspect in three violent deaths, he begins to realize that he is not the only one who has come home...

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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

From the Inside Flap:

For more than two decades Peter Straub has engrossed, entertained, and terrified us with his dazzling blend of cool artistry and mad, spine-tingling imagination. With Mr. X, the bestselling author of Ghost Story, The Talisman (with Stephen King), and The Hellfire Club takes us into the darkest dimensions of the human psyche and proves once again that he is without peer in the realm of psychological suspense and horror, a master storyteller whose unique and powerful gifts qualify him to be called the Edgar Allan Poe of our times.

Mr. X is Straub's original and startling take on the theme of the doppelgänger. Ned Dunstan's birthday is fast approaching, and every year on this date, Ned experiences a paralyzing seizure in which he is forced to witness scenes of ruthless slaughter perpetrated by a mysterious and malevolent figure in black whom Ned calls Mr. X.
        
Ned has been drawn back to his hometown, Edgerton, Illinois, by a premonition that his mother, Star, is dying. Before she loosens her hold on life, she imparts to Ned the name of his father, never before disclosed, and warns him that he is in grave danger. Despite her foreboding, Ned's determination to learn as much as possible about his absent father ignites a series of extraordinary adventures that gradually reveal the heart of both his own identity and that of his entirely fantastic family: He discovers that he is shadowed by an identical twin brother who can pass through doors and otherwise defy the laws of nature; he becomes the lead suspect in three violent deaths; he investigates the secret shadow-world within Edgerton; he learns to "eat time" and remembers the one occasion when he and his sinister brother united into a single being. Finally, at the moment of battle, he must call upon everything he has learned to save his own life.
        
Brimming with the author's trademark wit, understated eloquence, vibrant characters, and brilliant sense of pace, Mr. X displays Peter Straub at the top of his form.

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