A Dark Matter

A Dark Matter

A Novel

Book - 2010
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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.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385516389
Branch Call Number: STR
Characteristics: 397 p. ;,25 cm

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d
deebitner
Feb 07, 2018

I had heard so many good things about Peter Straub, but I haven't read his famous ones - Ghost Story or The Talisman with Stephen King. This came up as available from the local library and the premise seemed promising, so I checked it out. I was saddened that I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped.

Let's get the best thing from my point of view out of the way: It's creative and not gory. I'm a horror fan, not a splatter fan. I want to be creeped out, not sickened. Straub did that well, with the few references to blood and guts mostly passing and not the focus of the scene. And I did love the creativity - this was well-thought-out, not simply another ritual goes bad story.

The trouble I had was that in the avoiding splatter, Straub seems to have gone so far into symbolism that even for someone who understands a lot of the underlying myths upon which he draws, it's not always obvious where he's going. Only one of the characters is really at all likeable, and I am not sure it's the one he wants us to be liking. The rest are so symbolically drawn that, while they manage to avoid being two-dimensional, they're not relatable. I didn't really care about them all that much, with one exception. Sadly, I found that I could have put this book down and just shrugged - "well, I'm not smart enough to get it." That's not a feel I want.

There are some simply gorgeously drawn scenes - I particularly liked one involving Lake Michigan - and the actual ritual itself is visited enough times to become more and more clearly delineated. I liked that for the most part. If only the characters had drawn me in more - maybe I'll try another one of his and see if I like it better.

Three of five stars.

b
Bourdon1966
Mar 06, 2014

Horrible book. Peter Straub has forgotten how to write.

k
kittybay
Jun 21, 2012

I found it to be extremely boring and hard to follow.

mikeyppl Nov 09, 2011

Excellent read.

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