If You Could See Me Now Hardcover – May 1 1977
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“Suspenseful.” —The New York Times
“An electrifying finish: During the last forty pages my hands were as good as nailed to the book.” —Stephen King
“Straub is terrifyingly accomplished in the art of horror.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Peter Straub is a national treasure.” —Lawrence Block
“You expect the horrifying in the fiction of Peter Straub . . . and you get it.” —The New York Times
“More than a good storyteller with a talent for scaring readers. He’s a writer who transcends his genre.” —USA Today
“[Straub] is a master at blurring the supernatural, the real-world-scary, and the monsters in your psyche.” —The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
“Not since Edgar Allan Poe has an author taken such liberties with his readers’ nerves.” —Cosmopolitan
“Straub’s literary specialty . . . is not dreams but nightmares. . . . He’s particularly adept at the kind of creepy psychological yarn pioneered by Henry James and modernized by Shirley Jackson.” —Salon
“Straub is the master of subtle, smoldering dread.” —People
“Peter Straub is one of his generation’s best storytellers. . . . [Stephen] King goes for your jugular; Straub goes for your brain.” —Tor.com
From the Back Cover
"COMPULSIVE READING . . . MARVELOUS ATMOSPHERE, SUSPENSE, AND A TRULY GRAND GUIGNOL ENDING."
Author of Sleep in the Woods
"STRAUB IS TERRIFYINGLY ACCOMPLISHED IN THE ART OF HORROR."
"A FINE STORYTELLER."
--The Washington Post
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
When Miles returns to the scene of a horrifying "accident" after twenty years, we wonder when and if his beloved Allison will keep the vow she made those many years ago. If you've read a lot of this type of book, you pretty much know what the big revelation will be halfway through the book. Once you find that out, the story loses a little of its punch and the rest of the time, Miles is involved in finding out whodunit, although it's pretty obvious who did! At any rate, the novel moves along rather nicely, but the ending seems somewhat rushed, and the murderer's identity is something that is obscure and not fully fleshed out. Overall, though, if you are a Straub fan, this book fits nicely in your library, although "Ghost Story" and "Floating Dragon" are his best works.
Now, twenty years later, Miles has returned to honor the pact. With his return comes a shocking wave of serial murders and abductions - all of young girls of Alison's age and appearance. Suspicion falls upon him, and Miles has a knack for making it all worse. He's ruffling a lot of feathers, figuring out what really happened to Alison all those years ago. And before long, he's got much bigger worries than being the prime suspect in the most horrific crimes Arden has ever seen - because it seems someone is trying to kill him...
This is a flawed novel, but it's a great flawed novel. Written between his debut book, Julia, and his most popular work, Ghost Story, Straub's If You Could See Me Now is a bridge between his supernatural horror fiction and his later Blue Rose murder mystery trilogy. The suspense in this book is superior, never letting up and continually adding new surprises in plot development.
The book is thematically rich, and could easily become the subject of any number of contemporary literature research papers. It is mostly a murder mystery, and a well-written one at that. The supernatural element in the story is ill-explained and seems somewhat inconsistent, yet it works. Alison's motivations are not understandable, though in large part Straub seems to have intended her character to be enigmatic - her name, and her method of manifestation, suggest a change in her akin to becoming some sort of perverse nature elemental.
If you like suspense - supernatural, or more mundane crime melodrama - this is the book for you.
Straub is a master craftsman and a very good storyteller, but like I said his books sometimes get "wordy". However, here he has not encountered that and writes a great "short novel" about going home and dredging up the past.
This is an easy read and flows smoothly, however Miles is just clueless. He gets in all types of trouble and seems to have no common sense at all. He is not one of Straub's more memorable characters.
Still, two thumbs way way up!!!
At this point, I was wondering "gee, why is thistown so mean?" And I couldn't figure out why Miles wasn'twondering the same thing. Instead, he spends his time shoplifting andpretending to write his book while obsessing over his cousin. During aromantic interlude when they were 14, he and his cousin Alison hadmade a promise to meet again in the small town after exactly twentyyears, when they were all grown up. Now, here it is, just a few daysaway from that date. A trip to visit his spooky witchy spinster auntreveals the reason behind the townfolks' suspicions. It seems thatMiles has forgotten that his cousin Alison died during that veryromantic interlude, having been raped, beaten and drowned. ThoughMiles was never charged for the death, he was never welcome in thetown again.
Miles feels certain that Alison's murder is somehowconnected to the recent rash of murders. He wonders if it's the samekiller. But he also suspects his niece's creepy boyfriend, who has apenchant for sexual sadism, a cracked sense of intellectual vigor anda deep admiration for Hitler. Even though his neighbors arevandalizing his car and threatening his person he decides to stay intown until the anniversary of his date with Alison. He figures she'llreappear and be able to explain it all.
Essentially, the things thattake place in the novel have little to do with the plot.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I'd like to thank the reader from Los Angeles who completely spoiled this book for me and anyone else who hasn't read it. Read morePublished on Dec 28 2001
Having been an avid Stephen King fan since I was 13, I thought I should try reading Straub. I was very pleased that I did. From the first page, I was hooked. Read morePublished on Sept. 28 2001 by Jennifer
I was not convinced. Having tried Mr. X (it had such a "must have" look about it) and found it seriously wanting, again the main character is not persuasive enough. Read morePublished on Aug. 1 2001 by Mrs. Roni Hermony
The best thing about "If You Could See Me Now" is the eerie, dream-like atmosphere that Straub builds from the very beginning. Read morePublished on April 10 2001 by Jonathan May