The incomparable master of horror and suspense returns with a powerful, brilliantly terrifying novel that redefines the genre in original and unexpected ways.
The charismatic and cunning Spenser Mallon is a campus guru in the 1960s, attracting the devotion and demanding sexual favors of his young acolytes. After he invites his most fervent followers to attend a secret ritual in a local meadow, the only thing that remains is a gruesomely dismembered body--and the shattered souls of all who were present.
Years later, one man attempts to understand what happened to his wife and to his friends by writing a book about this horrible night, and it's through this process that they begin to examine the unspeakable events that have bound them in ways they cannot fathom, but that have haunted every one of them through their lives. As each of the old friends tries to come to grips with the darkness of the past, they find themselves face-to-face with the evil triggered so many years earlier. Unfolding through the individual stories of the fated group's members, A Dark Matter is an electric, chilling, and unpredictable novel that will satisfy Peter Straub's many ardent fans, and win him legions more.
In this tour de force from bestseller Straub (In the Night Room), four high school friends in 1966 Madison, Wis.--Hootie Bly, Dilly Olson, Jason Boatman, and Lee Truax--fall under the spell of charismatic "wandering guru" Spencer Mallon. During an occult ceremony in which Mallon attempts to break through to a higher reality, something goes horribly awry leaving one participant dead. Decades later, Lee's writer husband interviews the quartet to find out what happened. In Roshomon-like fashion, each relates a slightly different account of the trauma they experienced. Straub masterfully shows how the disappointments, downturns, and failed promise of the four friends' lives may have stemmed from this youthful experience, and suggests, by extension, that the malignant evil they helped unleash into the world has tainted all hope ever since. Brilliant in its orchestration and provocative in its speculations, this novel ranks as one of the finest tales of modern horror. (Feb.)
Showing 1-4 of the 4 most recent reviews
1 . Just a mess
Posted December 02, 2013 by John R. , Los Gatos, CAI'm a big fan of Straub, so I'm sorry to say this is not his best work. A confused group of characters do confusing things with no real ending or insight. I finished the book last night, and even at the very end I wasn't sure which character was which. Nary a scare in this book, just a middle aged couple in severe need of marriage counseling. So many red herrings--like the plane crash they were mysteriously saved from--just left me scratching my head.
2 . 500 pages of confusion
Posted March 24, 2010 by Marti , Salt PointI'm now on page 169 and still do not understand what is going on .... at some point I believe I'm starting to understand this story .... and then again it goes off in different directions .... will probably just not finish this - sorry - very disappointed.
3 . What on earth was it even about?
Posted February 26, 2010 by Pam G. , Santa FeThis is an "everything but the kitchen sink" mess. I was so confused by the end of it, I wanted my money back. Not worthy of a read or even his name on it.
4 . Unreadable
Posted February 23, 2010 by Blake , LansingThis book was a waste of money. I could not finish it. One of the worst books I have ever purchased.
February 08, 2010
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