three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
15-Mar-Apr-2005
By: 
Peter Straub
user_rating: 
0

A-InNightRoomNovelist Tim Underhill is beset by demons. He’s still trying to cope with the memory of his nephew’s brutal murder when he begins receiving mysterious e-mail messages and visits from deranged fan. Complicating matters is female novelist Willy Patrick, who is also recovering from personal tragedy—and dealing with some demons of her own. As their stories converge, Tim and Willy find themselves enmeshed in a plot that connects thieves in the present to messages from the distant past.
Random House. 330 pages. $21.95. ISBN: 1400062527

Philadelphia Inquirer 4 of 5 Stars
"In the end, In the Night Room proves more poignant than frightening—though Straub remains adept at evoking the subtler shades of fear. … This is popular fiction of an intriguingly high order, deftly exploring how imagination not only draws on reality, but can actually shape it." Frank Wilson

USA Today 4 of 5 Stars
"In the Night Room, Straub’s 17th novel, is an impressive display of his ability to combine a twisting, fast-paced plot with intelligent writing. … A lot of characters and subplots compete for attention—at times too many for my taste—but the story never lags … " Bob Minzesheimer

Milwaukee Jrnl Sentinel 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Themes of fantasy vs. reality, artistic perfection and even the nature of gods are almost offhandedly explored, but never at the cost of narrative or story. Like every great writer, Straub knows the importance of a good story and solid characters, and In the Night Room has an abundance of both." Dorman Shindler

Daily Mirror 2 of 5 Stars
"Reading Straub’s horror is always a head-fry, and this is no exception. … The line between fiction and reality blurs and it’ll make more sense if you’ve read Straub’s last novel. But not much."
Andrea Henry

Critical Summary

Though most famous for his collaborations with Stephen King, Straub transcends the conventions of horror fiction. In the Night Room provides more than a good scare; it deals with themes like the nature of reality and the consequences of artistic creation. Despite his cerebral bent, Straub never sacrifices the entertainment value of his story—though one reviewer found its twists hard to follow. The novel, a sequel to his acclaimed lost boy lost girl ( 4 of 5 Stars Jan/Feb 2004), offers a combination of gripping plot, well-drawn characters, and philosophical depth. Critics hail In the Night Room as a rewarding read for horror junkies and deep thinkers alike.