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A Dark Matter Paperback – 3 Feb 2011

2.6 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (3 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753828820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753828823
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 535,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A gripping, mysterious piece of fiction (CATHOLIC HERALD)

A well written novel that uses its linguistic flourishes and scene setting to great effect (SCI FI NOW)

Book Description

Forty years ago, Spenser Mallon led a group of young students to witness a brutal, ritual murder. The survivors never recovered. Now, it seems, he's back...

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As per his mini-bio in the back of the book, Peter Straub has "written nineteen novels and won, multiple times, every award his expanding genre bestows," and so it follows that readers will come to A Dark Matter with a certain measure of anticipation. With what is perhaps his most ambitious fiction to date, however, Straub does not go about systematically catering to expectations. Far from it, in fact; though its tangled narrative stems from a seemingly simple premise - one man in the modern day must piece together the mysterious events that shattered and scattered his adolescent peer group - A Dark Matter is a difficult novel from the first page, wherein the semantic significance of the word 'obstreperous' brings a flood of difficult memories back to Lee Harwell.

Our protagonist is a reasonably popular novelist, treading water when we join him in search of his muse. He doesn't flounder for long: when Lee comes into possession of a late police detective's tell-all memoir, inspiration hits him like a ten tonne truck. To his surprise, the manuscript ties into the very events that his wife, the wonderful Eel, has hidden from him for decades. The desperate lawman's last-ditch attempt to expose a serial murderer represents something else to Lee, however: it is a way in, at long last, to the hidden history of an eventful few weeks in the 1960s.

All those years ago, Lee alone saw through Spencer Mallon, a wandering guru with so-called psychic abilities; the rest of his friends bought into the handsome stranger's supposedly spiritual powers wholesale.
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Format: Paperback
'Terrifying... Impossible to put down' said Stephen King on the front cover. Well, it wasn't and I did lots of times! The protagonist wasn't a likable character and was one dimensional as well as all the other characters and the final retelling, from the main character's wife, of the events that happened all those years ago was neither terrifying or intersting. I don't know why she took 40 odd years to retell her story and will tell it only once, without interruption, it was too long and boring.

I took this book on holiday expecting to finish it within a few days, it took two weeks and managed to finish it when the plane touched down. I didn't root for any of the characters and I found that there was no atmosphere to the story.

I give this novel one star, as it's a good pick for a holiday read, there's no way you'd finish it before you get back.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not sure what's happened Peter Straub. Love his earlier books and collaborations with Stephen King, but I've found his recent works difficult. I didn't care for the characters, the plot just meandered and went nowhere and it was all just so miserable. Really disappointing. Come on, get back to the class of Ghost Story.
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Format: Hardcover
Back in the '60s a group of teenagers take part in a black magic ritual orchestrated by a dubious guru called Spencer Mallon.The consequences are devastating for the rest of their lives. Peter Straub's novel explores the nature of evil, revisiting this 'dark matter' through the shifting perspectives of the different participants. Straub is a great stylist, subtle where Stephen King would use a sledge-hammer, and this book is full of brilliant set pieces.Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I was extremely disappointed by this book. I found it dull and difficult to get into.
The general idea was a good one but needed expanding to hold the reader's attention.
Synopsis
A group of high school students get inspired by the seductive talk of a couple of college men. They agree to join the group in a ritual in a local meadow(all except one boy who doesn't want to get involved as he doesn't trust the older boys)
Now 30+ years later, as an author, he is inspired to find out exactly what happened as all he knows is the ritual left one man dead and the rest of the group damaged in some way.
The book starts with this background but no details and as the story unfolds, one by one the rest of the group of his childhood friends are traced and give him an explanation of what really happened.
All of them have been changed in some way: one boy once a thief is now helping stores to avoid shoplifting; one boy institutionalised since the event is brought out of his condition by the arrival of the inquirer; one boy is living as a virtual tramp; one girl is now married to a politician and very much self centred, and his wife, another participant, is now blind but well balanced.
Each story is told from the same perspective, as a participant, but we are never really told what happened to the boy that died only that he was torn to shreds. Some of the descriptions are very well written but upon completion of the book the reader is none the wiser as to the actual plot.
I have read a lot of Graham Masterson and Stephen King books and with the odd exception they are gripping reads. Unfortunately I would not recommend this book to anyone.
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