5.0 out of 5 stars Straub's best work yet!
Though I've had problems with his novels in the past, with his sixteenth (winner of the 2003 Bram Stoker award for best novel), Peter Straub has brought me back into the fold. Any writer who can combine all the best elements of mystery, horror, haunted house, serial killer, and literary fiction into an emotional rollercoaster with a heart, like lost boy lost girl,...
Published on Jun 29 2004 by Craig Clarke
3.0 out of 5 stars Not His Best, But Still Engaging
Peter Straub is an outstanding writer. He simply can't write a bad book. He doesn't have it in him. However, like the rest of us mortals, I think sometimes he just gets tired, and can't rise to the level of master of horror that he nearly always obtains. A book like "Lost Boy, Lost Girl" is the result of Peter Straub on an off day. It's a good book; but not...
Published on Jun 7 2004 by Marifrances
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gets your mind working,
By A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Straub's best work yet!,
When his sister-in-law dies "without warning" (which he finds is a euphemism for suicide), bestselling horror novelist Tim Underhill (Straub doppelganger and recurring character along with Tom Pasmore of the recent "Blue Rose" novels Koko, Mystery, and The Throat) flies back home to Millhaven, Ill. to be with his brother, Philip, and 15-year-old nephew, Mark. Not long after Tim returns home, he gets a frantic call from Philip with the news that Mark has disappeared. And evidence points to the idea that the long-empty house at 3323 North Michigan Avenue once owned by serial killer Joseph Kalendar may have had something to do with both.
Ever since Julia, Peter Straub has joined the ranks of subtle horror, patterning himself after the writings of masters like Henry James while retaining his own modern sensibilities. lost boy lost girl represents the peak of his craft's development. It takes after such supernatural thrillers as The Turn of the Screw while remaining firmly in the present day.
While telling an essentially linear story, Straub jumps back and forth from past to present and from one point of view to another. Tim Underhill is the central character but the emotional core lies in young Mark, whose life is the most affected by the events in the story. It is also he whose actions most affect the other characters as he explores the house (which he believes was responsible for his mother's suicide) and finds some unexpected contents that will change his life forever.
Straub uses many varying methods to tell his story: second-hand rememberance as Mark's best friend Jimbo talks to the police and Tim, Tim's journal kept during the period, third-person narration (both Tim and omniscient), and first-person non-journal narration from Tim's point of view. Yet, he somehow manages to make it all flow into a coherent narrative that any genre fan will love to dive into. lost boy lost girl is proof that one of the legends of the horror genre is not content to rest on his laurels, still choosing to develop his writing and remain deserving of his title.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not His Best, But Still Engaging,
The plot jumps a bit -- some things are not explained as well as they should be. Again, we have a "haunted" house; I wish sometimes he would move beyond this metaphor. We have a few character types that we have seen before as well; for example, here in this book we have another "Davey".
Yet this book is still a million times better than most of the other horror novels on the shelf these days. Read it, but don't expect TOO much. It's very light.
2.0 out of 5 stars Another fan of Straub's Blue Rose and Tim Underhill,
By A Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great storytelling,
By A Customer
Als recommended: BARK OF THE DOGWOOD by J.T. McCrae
5.0 out of 5 stars A review from Jamian Snow, author SHROUDED INSANITY,
4.0 out of 5 stars more suspense than horror,
always place in the horror section. He has written some
damn fine mysteries. And this book is a continuation of one of these characters.
This book is really a little bit of everything, but suspense covers it best.
I enjoyed this book on a number of levels. I read it in one sitting because I was really drawn right into the story. I think
The Story, in short is this. Tim Underhill's sister in law passes
Very entertaining read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Horror Written In Style,
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterwork of subtle horror and very real emotion.,
Straub's "lost boy lost girl" is a perfect example of this. It's the shortest book Straub has written in years -- just short of 300 pages -and yet it is at once his most unnerving and most poignant novel. And it gives a whole new meaning to the critic's cliche about a book "working on different levels."
Tim Underhill, a character who has appeared in several of Straub's other novels, including "Mystery" and "Koko," is returning to his hometown of Millhaven, Wisconsin. His sister-in-law has just died (only later does Tim realize that she committed suicide), and he is concerned about the well-being of his 15-year-old nephew, Mark.
That concern takes on an even greater urgency, when Tim learns that Millhaven is being plagued by a serial killer whose victims are all teen-aged boys.
Straub has incorporated into this short tale elements of just about every kind of thriller -- serial killer, ghost story, haunted house, the great detective, the master criminal, crimes of the past affecting the present -- and the sense of reality within this novel keeps shifting with subtle and disquieting shudders, as the atmosphere of the scenes fluctuate and point of view changes.
One can read "lost boy lost girl" as a dark fantasy, and come away from it completely satisfied. But that's not the very simple and tragic story really being told in "lost boy lost girl."
At one point, one character reacts to the fantastic aspects of this story by saying, "Yeah, that happens all the time. In books, maybe."
To which Tim Underhill, the novelist, replies, "Exactly."
And that's when you realize that what you've been reading maybe is not what you thought it was, that just as Mark Underhill tries to deal with his mother's suicide by delving into what might be a haunted house, so does his uncle try to create a story that relieves, or at least forestalls, the real horror of what has been going on in the city of Millhaven.
That's also when you realize that, in "lost boy lost girl," Peter Straub has written a masterpiece to rival his classic "Ghost Story."
3.0 out of 5 stars And the Climax would be where?,
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Lost Boy Lost Girl by Peter Straub (Hardcover - Jan 2004)
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