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Night Has A Thousand Eyes [Mass Market Paperback]

Cornell Woolrich
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 12 1983

"Cornell Woolrich's novels define the essence of noir nihilism."-Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

One of Cornell Woolrich's most famous novels, this classic noir tale of a con man struggling with his ability to see the future is arguably the author's best in its depiction of a doomed vision of predestination.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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About the Author

From the 1930s until his death in 1968, Cornell Woolrich riveted the reading public with his unparalled mystery, suspense, and horror stories. Classic films like Hitchcock's Rear Window and Trauffaut's The Bride Wore Black and novels like Night has a Thousand Eyes and Rendezvous in Black earned Woolrich epithets like "the twentieth century's Edgar Allen Poe" and "the father of noir." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars terrific story-telling... Sept. 22 2001
By lazza
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Night Has A Thousand Eyes is my first Cornell Woolrich novel, and it surely won't be my last. It is a fascinating story of a rich father and daughter caught up into the rather incredible true predictions of a reluctant storyteller. When the predictions take a grisly turn the police are called in and ... the story really takes off (no spoilers here). Oh, and the ending is rather satisfying as well.
However the novel isn't perfect. The characterizations and the prose both lack depth. Clearly Cornell Woolrich is better storyteller than a novelist; I should think his short stories would be better than his novels. Regardless, it is most unfortunate that most of his works are out of print.
Bottom line: a fascinating, unique story. Not exactly fine literature, but a real 'page turner' nonetheless.
(Night Has A Thousand Eyes, presently out-of-print, shouldn't be hard to find on the used book market. I found an early 1980s US edition here in London.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Woolrich Fatal Thriller Jan. 27 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Night Has a 1000 Eyes is Cornell Woolrich's masterpiece. It is an epic of dread: the fear of the unknown of what lies behind the grave. It is also a story of urgency and hope, that rationality, human cooperation and even love can conquer the darkness that is ready to consume us. The story is simple: a man discovers the exact date and time and horrible means of his death a few days later and there is not a doubt in his mind that he is going to die even as his loved ones and the police try to thwart the efforts of a criminal mind (or is it fate?) It is agonizing to read as we hope somehow that the condemned man will somehow elude his fate. We cheer for the dectectives and yet are appalled by them as single mindedly and doggedly pursue an unknown villian. And not one character is left unscathed at the end of this emotionally draining and ,yes, life-affirming tale.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Woolrich Fatal Thriller Jan. 26 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Night Has a 1000 Eyes is Cornell Woolrich's masterpiece. It is an epic of dread: the fear of the unknown of what lies behind the grave. It is also a story of urgency and hope, that rationality, human cooperation and even love can conquer the darkness that is ready to consume us. The story is simple: a man discovers the exact date and time and horrible means of his death a few days later and there is not a doubt in his mind that he is going to die even as his loved ones and the police try to thwart the efforts of a criminal mind (or is it fate?) It is agonizing to read as we hope somehow that the condemned man will somehow elude his fate. We cheer for the dectectives and yet are appalled by them as single mindedly and doggedly pursue an unknown villian. And not one character is left unscathed at the end of this emotionally draining and ,yes, life-affirming tale.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A BLEAK AND SUSPENSEFUL THRILLER Nov. 15 2004
By s.ferber - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
On the cover of my Dell paperback edition of "Night Has a Thousand Eyes" (with a cover price of 25 cents), the author is listed as William Irish, with an asterisk next to the name. At the bottom of the cover, next to the footnote asterisk, is another name: George Hopley. This should not fool any prospective readers, though. Both names were pseudonyms of Cornell Woolrich, the author whom Isaac Asimov called "THE Master of Suspense"; whom his biographer, Francis Nevins, Jr., called "the Edgar Allan Poe of the 20th century" (hey, wait a minute...I thought that H.P. Lovecraft was considered the Edgar Allan Poe of the 20th century!); and who is considered one of the fathers of literary film noir. Many of Woolrich's novels and stories have been famously filmed, "Rear Window," "The Bride Wore Black," "Phantom Lady," "Deadline at Dawn" and "Mississippi Mermaid" being just a sampling. "Night Has a Thousand Eyes" (1945) was turned into a 1948 Edward G. Robinson movie that supposedly has little in common with the book. That's a shame, as the book is a marvelous piece of eerie suspense writing that could have made a smashing film. In Woolrich's tale, Detective Tom Shawn saves Jean Reid from a suicide attempt one night, and later hears her tale. She is in despair because the death of her wealthy father has been predicted by a man seemingly gifted with the power of clairvoyance; a man whose predictions have unerringly aided her father in his business many times before. Shawn and a squad of detectives investigate this death prediction, and try to avert the millionaire businessman from meeting his ordained end at the stroke of midnight "at the jaws of a lion." The reader will never guess how things turn out, or how Harlan Reid eventually winds up. Woolrich writes with a superabundance of detail, which slows things down a little but also ratchets up the suspense factor. We get more and more nervous as that midnight hour approaches, while Woolrich teases us by describing how the milk looks in one of the character's coffee, and by giving us the minutiae of a bridge game. Hitchcock himself could not have drawn more suspense out of the book's brilliantly sustained final third. It is a bravura example of a writer anticipating what his reader wants, and holding it tantalizingly out of reach...

I came to this book after having read of it in Newman & Jones' overview volume entitled "Horror: 100 Best Books." As "Night Has..." progressed, I found myself thinking that the book isn't all that scary; extremely suspenseful, yes, and in parts a bit eerie, but certainly not a horror book. But upon finishing the novel, the reader will inevitably realize that the characters in "Night Has a Thousand Eyes" have no free will at all. Everything is preordained, and human beings are trapped in this master plan. The thousand star-eyes of the title look down on us, mercilessly and aloof. No wonder poor Jean Reid can't bear to look at them. Woolrich's vision of a relentless, bleak and deterministic universe turns out to be a pretty horrifying thing after all!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Woolrich Fatal Thriller Jan. 26 2001
By Robert Meyers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Night Has a 1000 Eyes is Cornell Woolrich's masterpiece. It is an epic of dread: the fear of the unknown of what lies behind the grave. It is also a story of urgency and hope, that rationality, human cooperation and even love can conquer the darkness that is ready to consume us. The story is simple: a man discovers the exact date and time and horrible means of his death a few days later and there is not a doubt in his mind that he is going to die even as his loved ones and the police try to thwart the efforts of a criminal mind (or is it fate?) It is agonizing to read as we hope somehow that the condemned man will somehow elude his fate. We cheer for the dectectives and yet are appalled by them as single mindedly and doggedly pursue an unknown villian. And not one character is left unscathed at the end of this emotionally draining and ,yes, life-affirming tale.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars terrific story-telling... Sept. 22 2001
By lazza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Night Has A Thousand Eyes is my first Cornell Woolrich novel, and it surely won't be my last. It is a fascinating story of a rich father and daughter caught up into the rather incredible true predictions of a reluctant storyteller. When the predictions take a grisly turn the police are called in and ... the story really takes off (no spoilers here). Oh, and the ending is rather satisfying as well.
However the novel isn't perfect. The characterizations and the prose both lack depth. Clearly Cornell Woolrich is better storyteller than a novelist; I should think his short stories would be better than his novels. Regardless, it is most unfortunate that most of his works are out of print.
Bottom line: a fascinating, unique story. Not exactly fine literature, but a real 'page turner' nonetheless.
(Night Has A Thousand Eyes, presently out-of-print, shouldn't be hard to find on the used book market. I found an early 1980s US edition here in London.)
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Woolrich Fatal Thriller Jan. 26 2001
By Robert Meyers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Night Has a 1000 Eyes is Cornell Woolrich's masterpiece. It is an epic of dread: the fear of the unknown of what lies behind the grave. It is also a story of urgency and hope, that rationality, human cooperation and even love can conquer the darkness that is ready to consume us. The story is simple: a man discovers the exact date and time and horrible means of his death a few days later and there is not a doubt in his mind that he is going to die even as his loved ones and the police try to thwart the efforts of a criminal mind (or is it fate?) It is agonizing to read as we hope somehow that the condemned man will somehow elude his fate. We cheer for the dectectives and yet are appalled by them as single mindedly and doggedly pursue an unknown villian. And not one character is left unscathed at the end of this emotionally draining and ,yes, life-affirming tale.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two Eyes are Plenty Sept. 10 2012
By Cynthia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Cornell Woolrich is one of the principal `Film Noir' writers. Many of his idiosyncratic books have been filmed as was "Night has a Thousand Eyes". There are parts of this book that sparkle just like the title but there are other places that it slows down mostly in the police investigation sections when the main protagonist, police officer Tom Shawn, isn't involved. The first 30% of the book is bang on, a real page turner; vintage Film Noir. The scene: A rich beautiful girl in distress, under the moonlight, scattering money, precious jewels, and expensive cars until Shawn, the working stiff aka a policeman, comes to her rescue. The two retire to a Hopperesque diner to get out of the San Francisco fog and to discuss our heroine Jean Reid's plight.

Jean is desperate because of a horrible prediction about her father's fate. This is where Shawn and his buddies get to work to try and figure out the fortune hunter's angle, how he seeks to benefit from the Reids' vast wealth. And during the depression a lot of people will do a lot of things to survive. The cops need to find out quickly how to prevent Reid's preordained death. As often with Film Noir the themes are fate, the occult and the inevitability of a horrible death. I'm not sure how this book would have read to contemporaries (1945) but from a modern view point there are parts that seem very farfetched. Yet I can't help but reflect that some of the current genre books about vampires and zombies are just as fanciful. The vampires are just swapped out for different boogie folks in "Night" so suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride. This is a fun book. I'm glad Woolrich is being re-printed.

Included is a preface by Francis M Nevins revealing Woolrich's two other pen names and some of his personal back story, his years as a film writer in Hollywood and his retreat back to New York to live with his cantankerous mother, his brief marriage. His most familiar movie is Hitchcock's "Rear Window".

This review is based on an e-galley supplied by the publisher.
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