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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (703 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Jackson Bennett Narrator: T. Ryder Smith Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2012 ISBN: 9781449815493
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It is the time of the Great Depression, and thousands have left their homes looking for a new and better life. But Marcus Connelly is not one of them. He searches for one thing and one thing only—revenge. 

Because out there, riding the rails, stalking the camps, is the scarred vagrant who murdered Connelly’s daughter. No one knows him, but everyone knows his name: Mr. Shivers.

In this extraordinary debut, Robert Jackson Bennett tells the story of an America haunted by murder and desperation, a world in which one man must face a dark truth. But how much is he willing to sacrifice for his satisfaction?

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A tale of quest anchored in dust-bowl desperation, Mr. Shivers creates a brutal new American mythology. Bennett weaves a modern combination of horror, historical fiction, and high-fantasy.”

    Scott Sigler, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Mr Shivers is a startling debut, a deft amalgam of thriller, cerebral horror, and American gothic, written with a stark and artful simplicity that complements the examination of struggling humanity pushed to its limits.”

    The Guardian (London)

  • “Bennett is clearly a writer to watch.”

    Times (London)

  • “Set during the Great Depression and reading like a collaboration between Stephen King and John Steinbeck, this remarkably assured first novel relates a good man’s desperate travels through the ruins of the American heartland on the trail of his child’s murderer…Bennett makes dark fantasy feel like gritty realism, achieving a rare laconic eloquence that will captivate horror readers hungry for new voices.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “A ravishing debut…Supremely chilling, it never loses its grip in its journey to the edge of the apocalypse.”

    Daily Mail (London)

  • “Bennett’s novel is as riveting in its slow-burning accumulation of tension as it is atmospheric in its period evocation…The economical, persuasive characterization and the sudden shocking outbursts of horror owe something to [Stephen] King, the master of contemporary horror, but the brilliantly realized picture of dustbowl America is firmly in the [John] Steinbeck tradition. It’s not stretching a point to say that, at times, Bennett’s stinging but hauntingly poetic prose aspires to the quality of that author’s best work…This terrifying odyssey through a blighted period in American history will stick in readers’ minds for a long time.”

    Daily Express (London)

  • “Sprinkled with hobo folklore, Bennett’s supernatural dust storm of a debut offers a killer premise and may remind readers of vintage Stephen King.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, January 2010

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Oglaigh na hEireann | 2/19/2014

    " Somthin about hobo's on a train track desperate to catch a part of hell incarnate just sucked me in "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 2/18/2014

    " I'm a little unsure about my feelings on this book. On the one hand, it was a quick, easy read, with decent characters, nice writing, and a fairly original plot (ableit very HBO Carnivale-eque). On the other hand, the pacing wasn't the best and I felt it could have been a lot more suspenseful and engaging, especially seeing as how it's touted as a horror/thriller. Moreover, while it did shed some interesting insight into both the daily trials ofthe Great Depression and hobo culture, I found its similarity to Carnivale, one of my favourite shows, to be quite distracting, and couldn't absorb myself in the story as much as I would have liked. Still, a decent read and a great debut effort from the author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kirsten | 1/19/2014

    " I wasn't planning on buying this, but it looked interesting. It was labeled as "horror," but I don't know that I'd really call it that. It wasn't overly gory (to me anyway). I he writing flowed well & it was a fast read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Josh | 1/17/2014

    " A horror journeyman tale set in the Great Depression amongst economic downturn and drought - the protagonist Marcus Connelly embarks on a journey in search of the madman who murdered his daughter, the infamous Mr. Shivers. Accompanied by hobos seeking the same form of vengeance they travel across wastelands and wild west towns inhabited by gunslingers and thieves ever inching closer to their quarry, leaving only a trickle of blood in their wake. Bennett's debut blended crime elements with the supernatural to form an entertaining and creepy tale with surprising character depth and no nonsense dialog. Connelly is the typical hard man with an outer shell of stone and a soft interior and was the perfect compliment to Mr. Shivers who together were a classic example of good versus evil. Started well before lulling midway but was ultimately redeemed with an ending I didn't see coming. 3 Stars. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 12/30/2013

    " I never thought I could say that I've read mythological dustbowl hobo horror, but -- now I have! Mr. Shivers is the first horror I've read in a long while, and it's appropriately skin-crawly and eerie. Its eponymous character/villain is constantly hinted at -- and pursued -- with a building mythos and word-of-mouth. I really liked the way the narrative dug into each layer of the legend, adding to it with each character's new story. The plot is very linear; Connelly experiences a sorta Odysseus-esque sequence of terrible events one after another (complete with possibly-faithful Penelope waiting for him at the end, possibly); the experiences become progressively more mythological/fantastical as the novel crawls away from realism, which especially hit me once you (briefly) meet the three 'bitches' (witches, Norns, fates, whatever you want to call them). Almost the entire cast consists of people wracked and driven to extremes by grief, so the body count rises and the novel gets progressively more grisly and harrowing. It's a very atmospheric glimpse into bleak, Depression-era America. From the premises of all Bennett's books, I'm pretty sure I'm in love with all of his concepts -- but since this one's his debut, there are some flaws. The characterisations aren't fleshed out very much, and about halfway through, I already figured out what the ending would be. But I liked his writing, and the real gut-punching edge-of-seat-sitting emotional crux, IMO, happens 2/3 through the book when (view spoiler)[Connelly and Mr. Shivers have their first face-to-face conversation (hide spoiler)]. So, accordingly, I've quoted pretty much the entire end of chapter 20 below because I loved it so much. (view spoiler)["I have walked in dark places where eyeless things of no mind and no soul gnaw the bottoms of mountains and eat rock and stone the likes of which mankind has never known and will never know. I have watched eons being devoured by crushing waves and as I watched I knew in my heart that I was the sole witness of their existence and their passing. I have stalked the forests that ring the top of this earth where snow is thick and silence has gone undisturbed for centuries, and lifetimes may pass before finding a single footprint in the snow. And I have walked toward the center of this vast spinning world, Mr. Connelly, where light has no meaning and all is consumed, and I looked at the great violation that makes this land's heart, that fills it with hunger, and on the sides of that black crack was my name written again and again and again. And again and again and again. Do you hear me, little man? Do you hear me?" He looked down on Connelly, eyes still blank. "I have done things which your mind cannot possibly comprehend, which you cannot ever approach. I am in all shadows and in no shadow, I am in every atom and I am in every heart. And I will not allow the new day to break. Night everlasting, if it may be so. And you must stop, Mr. Connelly. You must stop. You must leave me be and stop." Connelly said, "Then kill me." The gray man charged forward, his long white hands grasping out, but they stopped inches away from Connelly's neck. He saw the scarred man struggle, face contorted, like he was pulling against an unimaginable force. He shuddered, then withdrew, his chest heaving and a sheen of sweat across his pallid brow. "I could," said the gray man. "I could. I dearly wish to. But there are rules. There is order. Natures which cannot be denied." He looked down on Connelly. "You will die here. If you follow this path you will be destroyed. I know. And if you follow me any further, Mr. Connelly, everyone you know and everyone you trust will find their end here as well. Know that. Know that and do what you will, if you survive the next day." The gray man turned to walk away. He opened the iron door and as he stood in the hall light he looked like any tramp again, just a tired old tramp with a ruined face. "I want to know something," said Connelly. The gray man looked back, his expression inscrutable. "I want to know why you killed my little girl." The gray man cocked his head. There was no thought in his face or his posture. He regarded Connelly for a second and said, "So that she would die." The door shut. Connelly began screaming again. He screamed until the guards came and beat him and threw him back into his cell. (hide spoiler)] So, in conclusion: a good mythical read, bleak and unsettling, but v. linear and predictable; I'm stoked to check out his next books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ronald E. | 12/25/2013

    " Excellent first effort by Bennett! The chilling pursuit during the drought of the Dust Bowl of the US Southwest of a tragic, deathlike character by those seeking revenge from his murders, is well done! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katy | 12/16/2013

    " Great premise, ok book, crappy ending "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julia Shay | 12/15/2013

    " If you are looking for a horror novel, this would disappoint, but as a piece of mythology, it worked fairly well. I enjoyed the "furies" (three black women) in particular. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peter | 12/10/2013

    " really great debut about a man on a mission under the american depression! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Phil | 11/20/2013

    " Not bad, I read it, but the end was a bit predictable. Worth a read, echoes of Randall Flag in the baddie. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jenny | 11/15/2013

    " Hated this book. Kept reading so I could at least see how the story ended. Hated it even more once I got to the ending. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beth S | 11/4/2013

    " I wish I could give 1/2 stars... I would give this 2.5. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alex | 11/3/2013

    " Great up till about half way, then it kind of lost it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brent Weeks | 8/13/2013

    " Not my usual genre, but I enjoyed this quite a bit. I expect great things out of Mr. Bennett. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beth | 7/11/2013

    " This book is the very opposite of exciting. I admit I really only read about half. Skimmed the next quarter. Caught a couple words here and there of the rest. No interest at all in actually finishing. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Talkingtocactus | 5/10/2013

    " i actually gave up on this, which is quite unusual for me. i just couldn't get to grips with it. i thought the story had lots of potential, the premise etc, but the style didn't work for me at all and quite frankly it was a bit dull.... sorry :/ "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeremy Hepler | 3/22/2013

    " Like others stated it's slow from th emidpoint on. Good clear writing though, and I felt like I really knew the four main characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 G (galen) | 2/13/2013

    " i'll be shivering for a good long while now.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellen | 1/7/2013

    " I loved this book up to about 3/4 of the way through then realized just how predictable the ending was going to be. Oh well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jess | 12/6/2012

    " Maybe a 3.5. Pretty good. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lynne | 8/29/2012

    " The potential is there for a two and a half stars. Both Connelly and Mr Shivers are great characters and I loved the concept of the chase ... it's worth a read if you need a little horror. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 John Kues | 5/2/2012

    " When I got done reading it I wished I hadn't. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so stubborn to finish something I started. The writing was pretty good, the story..........not so much. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Loripdx | 4/7/2012

    " I feel this could've been SUCH a terrific book, but it ended up being simply okay. The writing itself was calm and lovely, but the story itself felt...cold. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jerry | 2/17/2012

    " I had no expectations going in but I came out feeling satisfied by this morality tale/Appalachian mythology tale of the mysterious Mr. Shivers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lani | 1/24/2012

    " I like that it was set in the great depression, but it was too slow-moving and not scary at all! I was hoping it would be. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Oglaigh na | 4/9/2011

    " Somthin about hobo's on a train track desperate to catch a part of hell incarnate just sucked me in "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christie | 3/15/2011

    " Started and finished Mr. Shivers the same day, I just couldn't put it down! Bennett is a skilled writer; in addition to some so-good-I-read-it-twice prose, he really has a gift for carrying the reader along and keeping the pages turning. Haven't enjoyed a novel this much in a long time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sc | 2/9/2011

    " Slow and dull - nothing original about it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brandon | 2/4/2011

    " Pretty good horror book. I really enjoyed the fact that is was set in the Great Depression. It worked well with everything. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ashley | 1/22/2011

    " This was a great thriller of the historical fiction variety. The end was a tad predictable though, and seemed to drop off leaving many unanswered questions. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andy | 1/9/2011

    " Not really my sort of thing - but I gave it a go anyway and quite enjoyed it.
    The idea of hobos - and supernatural - is appealling.
    Very violent - and not as fantastical as I had feared. Good fun! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 12/7/2010

    " Creepy and well-written. Supernatural serial killer during the depression. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 eric | 12/4/2010

    " Have I mentioned that I love Orbit Books? Everything they publish departs from standard genre conventions. "

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About the Author
Author Robert Jackson Bennett

Robert Jackson Bennett’s 2010 debut, Mr. Shivers, won the Shirley Jackson Award as well as the Sydney J. Bounds Newcomer Award. His second novel, The Company Man, won a Special Citation of Excellence from the Philip K. Dick Award, as well as an Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original. His third novel, The Troupe, was published to high critical and popular acclaim. Born in Baton Rouge, he now lives in Austin with his wife and son.

About the Narrator

T. Ryder Smith is an actor based in New York City. He has appeared on Broadway in Equus and in many off-Broadway shows including Passion Play, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, and Lebensraum, for which he won a Drama Desk Award. Smith has also made numerous television appearances on series such as Nurse Jackie, Blue Bloods, Law & Order: SVU, and others.