Peter Straub

Peter Francis Straub is an American author and poet. His horror fiction has received numerous literary honors such as the Bram Stoker Award, World Fantasy Award, and International Horror Guild Award.
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of The Talisman, “an intelligent…suspenseful page-turner” (The Wall Street Journal) from “two master craftsmen, each at the top of his game” (The Washington Post).

Twenty years ago, a boy named Jack Sawyer traveled to a parallel universe called the Territories to save his mother and her Territories “Twinner” from an agonizing death that would have brought cataclysm to the other world. Now Jack is a retired Los Angeles homicide detective living in the nearly nonexistent hamlet of Tamarack, Wisconsin. He has no recollection of his adventures in the Territories, and was compelled to leave the police force when an odd, happenstance event threatened to awaken those memories.

When a series of gruesome murders occur in western Wisconsin that are reminiscent of those committed several decades ago by a madman named Albert Fish, the killer is dubbed “the Fishman,” and Jack’s buddy, the local chief of police, begs Jack to help the inexperienced force find him. But are these new killings merely the work of a disturbed individual, or has a mysterious and malignant force been unleashed in this quiet town? What causes Jack’s inexplicable waking dreams—if that is what they are—of robins’ eggs and red feathers? It’s almost as if someone is trying to tell him something. As this cryptic message becomes increasingly impossible to ignore, Jack is drawn back to the Territories and to his own hidden past, where he may find the soul-strength to enter a terrifying house at the end of a deserted tract of forest, there to encounter the obscene and ferocious evils sheltered within it.
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.


From the Hardcover edition.
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