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An “impressive” tale of psychic power, Native American mysticism, and an ancient evil in Alabama, from the New York Times–bestselling author of Swan Song (Associated Press).   Born and raised in rural Alabama, Billy Creekmore was destined to be a psychic. His mother, a Choctaw Indian schooled in her tribe’s ancient mysticism, understands the permeable barrier between life An “impressive” tale of psychic power, Native American mysticism, and an ancient evil in Alabama, from the New York Times–bestselling author of Swan Song (Associated Press).   Born and raised in rural Alabama, Billy Creekmore was destined to be a psychic. His mother, a Choctaw Indian schooled in her tribe’s ancient mysticism, understands the permeable barrier between life and death—and can cross it. She taught the power to Billy and now he helps the dead rest in peace.   Wayne Falconer, son of one of the most fervent tent evangelists in the South, travels the country serving his father’s healing ministry. Using his unique powers to cure the flock, Little Wayne is on his way to becoming one of the popular and successful miracle workers in the country. He helps the living survive.   Billy and Wayne share more than a gift. They share a dream—and a common enemy. They are on separate journeys, mystery walks that will lead them toward a crossroad where the evil of their dreams has taken shape. One of them will reject the dark. The other will be consumed by it. But neither imagined just how monstrous and far-reaching the dark was, or that mankind’s fate would rest in their hands during an epic showdown of good versus evil.   From the author of Gone South, Boy’s Life, and the Matthew Corbett series, a master of suspense who has won the World Fantasy and Bram Stoker Awards, Mystery Walk offers “creepy, subtle touches throughout [and] splendid Southern-town atmosphere” (Kirkus Reviews).


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An “impressive” tale of psychic power, Native American mysticism, and an ancient evil in Alabama, from the New York Times–bestselling author of Swan Song (Associated Press).   Born and raised in rural Alabama, Billy Creekmore was destined to be a psychic. His mother, a Choctaw Indian schooled in her tribe’s ancient mysticism, understands the permeable barrier between life An “impressive” tale of psychic power, Native American mysticism, and an ancient evil in Alabama, from the New York Times–bestselling author of Swan Song (Associated Press).   Born and raised in rural Alabama, Billy Creekmore was destined to be a psychic. His mother, a Choctaw Indian schooled in her tribe’s ancient mysticism, understands the permeable barrier between life and death—and can cross it. She taught the power to Billy and now he helps the dead rest in peace.   Wayne Falconer, son of one of the most fervent tent evangelists in the South, travels the country serving his father’s healing ministry. Using his unique powers to cure the flock, Little Wayne is on his way to becoming one of the popular and successful miracle workers in the country. He helps the living survive.   Billy and Wayne share more than a gift. They share a dream—and a common enemy. They are on separate journeys, mystery walks that will lead them toward a crossroad where the evil of their dreams has taken shape. One of them will reject the dark. The other will be consumed by it. But neither imagined just how monstrous and far-reaching the dark was, or that mankind’s fate would rest in their hands during an epic showdown of good versus evil.   From the author of Gone South, Boy’s Life, and the Matthew Corbett series, a master of suspense who has won the World Fantasy and Bram Stoker Awards, Mystery Walk offers “creepy, subtle touches throughout [and] splendid Southern-town atmosphere” (Kirkus Reviews).

30 review for Mystery Walk

  1. 5 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    I've been reading Robert McCammon's books in order of publication and this is the first book he published that feels like it was written by the Robert McCammon who wrote Boy's Life. Up until this point in his career he seemed to have latched on to current trends, and chased the success of other authors. Whether this was a conscious decision, a request from his publisher, or a plan to gain a readership, I don't know. But there is a drastic difference between his first four novels and this one, so I've been reading Robert McCammon's books in order of publication and this is the first book he published that feels like it was written by the Robert McCammon who wrote Boy's Life. Up until this point in his career he seemed to have latched on to current trends, and chased the success of other authors. Whether this was a conscious decision, a request from his publisher, or a plan to gain a readership, I don't know. But there is a drastic difference between his first four novels and this one, so much so that, at some point, I started considering the possibility that it was written by a different person. But, no, that isn't the case, because various McCammonisms have survived. McCammon has a tendency to use words in triplet for emphasis (e.g. the blood dripped dripped dripped, or the corpse wailed wailed wailed). He's also fond of exclamation points, in dialogue and narrative. While he doesn't do that near as much in this book, it is there. I think the strongest growth we see in this novel is the realistic dialogue. Before this book, McCammon had embraced the cheesy-horror-movie dialogue of the 80s, which stood out in sharp contrast against his lush, atmospheric prose. He's always been a fantastic writer, but something was underdone in those first four books, and I couldn't put my finger on it before now. Before Mystery Walk, McCammon's characters, all of them, felt like throwaways. They didn't feel real. They felt hollow and lifeless and just all around bland. He made me care about situations and not people. I cannot tell you the names of any one of the characters in his first four novels aside from Prince Vulkan (Vulcan?) in They Thirst, and only then because the name reminded me of STAR TREK. But in this one, his character's shine. Everyone felt alive and real and I gave a shit about what happened to them. I even hoped for the best for Wayne, even though I knew how his storyline was going to wrap up. Billy and his mother Romona were favorites of mine, but my favorite part of the book was (any of you who know me and have read this book know this is coming) Billy's time at the carnival. Fantastic stuff. The book, however, is not perfect. Shit, what is? I did have sections I didn't care for. For instance, Billy's time with the institute. That all felt like filler while McCammon built up Wayne's story. Had McCammon delved into that part further and got to know the people Billy interacted with there, I think I would have liked it much more, but when compared to the carnival chapters, the institute chapters fall horribly flat. In summation: MYSTERY WALK is the first good Robert McCammon novel, in my opinion. You got your fanboys who think they're all good, but I think to say such a thing is to deny McCammon's growth over the years. It was a real pleasure to finally see him find his voice, the voice that would bring us such terrific novels as Boy's Life and Gone South. Just know that if you read Baal, Bethany's Sin, The Night Boat, and/or They Thirst and find them not to your liking, please give his later books a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Final Judgment: McCammon comes of age.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    Mystery Walk is a book which, unlike similar novels about people with psychic powers, e.g. Firestarter or Alex, You're Glowing!, doesn't veer down the path such books often take where these people are persecuted by shady organizations. Instead, this great horror novel portrays things in a much more timeless and understood sense, and integrates it right into the ordinary world in a way I've only really seen done in the past with Stephen King's The Shining. McCammon's characters are incredible, an Mystery Walk is a book which, unlike similar novels about people with psychic powers, e.g. Firestarter or Alex, You're Glowing!, doesn't veer down the path such books often take where these people are persecuted by shady organizations. Instead, this great horror novel portrays things in a much more timeless and understood sense, and integrates it right into the ordinary world in a way I've only really seen done in the past with Stephen King's The Shining. McCammon's characters are incredible, and more than that, you never know what to expect from this book. Both thrilling and mystical, Mystery Walk incorporates elements of fantasy amidst the horror to create a story that isn't limited to just one genre. In a deep and unforgettable tale of good and evil, this book isn't your run-of-the-mill dime store paperback, but instead a hidden epic creation under the guise of a simple horror novel. Even readers who aren't big fans of horror would probably find Mystery Walk quite exciting and engaging.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Char

    MYSTERY WALK is a story involving the epic battle between good and evil and Robert McCammon does these types of stories better than almost anyone. I won't get into the plot much, as this book was written back in the 80's and hundreds of other reviews already do that. I will say that this is my fourth time reading this book, (I actually listened to it, courtesy of the narrator Nick Sullivan), and this time it affected me even more than it did previously. I'm not sure why that is-perhaps as I've g MYSTERY WALK is a story involving the epic battle between good and evil and Robert McCammon does these types of stories better than almost anyone. I won't get into the plot much, as this book was written back in the 80's and hundreds of other reviews already do that. I will say that this is my fourth time reading this book, (I actually listened to it, courtesy of the narrator Nick Sullivan), and this time it affected me even more than it did previously. I'm not sure why that is-perhaps as I've grown older I see more truth and depth in this tale? It could also be the fact that the narrator brought these characters alive for me. I easily pictured the small town of Hawthorn and both its hateful and sweet residents. I vividly pictured the tent revivals of J.J. Falconer and the bogus claims of healing from his son Wayne. (I had to try hard NOT to picture Wayne's first bout with healing, you'll see what I mean if you read this.) Mr. Sullivan's voicing worked really well for me here and for this reason I've bumped my rating of 4 and 4.5 stars from my previous reads to the full five. MYSTERY WALK is full of hope but at the same time does not shy away at all from the difficulties in life we all face. The wonderful prose of Robert McCammon is only improved by Nick Sullivan's narration. If you're in need of a little hope in your life during these difficult times, then I highly recommend giving MYSTERY WALK a listen. If you do, give Billy Creekmore a hug from me and tell him that Char said Hi. You can get your copy here: Mystery Walk *I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator, in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

  4. 5 out of 5

    Leo .

    Read this book when I was 20. Brilliant! Enough said.🐯👍

  5. 4 out of 5

    Apatt

    “SATAN’S GOT YOU!” Falconer roared, the veins of his neck bulging. “That cloven-hoofed, horned, fork-tongued Devil has got you right in his clawwwwws”— he lifted his right hand into the air, contorting it into a claw and twisting as if ripping flesh from the bone—“ and he’s gonna squeeze you and mold you and make you like he isssss! … And if you’re a guest in Satan’s house and you like the dark, evil place, then you don’t belong here tonight!” Evangelicalism is a major theme in this book. In the “SATAN’S GOT YOU!” Falconer roared, the veins of his neck bulging. “That cloven-hoofed, horned, fork-tongued Devil has got you right in his clawwwwws”— he lifted his right hand into the air, contorting it into a claw and twisting as if ripping flesh from the bone—“ and he’s gonna squeeze you and mold you and make you like he isssss! … And if you’re a guest in Satan’s house and you like the dark, evil place, then you don’t belong here tonight!” Evangelicalism is a major theme in this book. In the 80s Robert R. McCammon was one of my favorite authors. He wrote mainly horror novels then he found commercial success with Bradbury-ish childhood nostalgia fiction Boy's Life which I–at the time–found to be disappointing, as it is not what I wanted from him; it was a bit like your favorite rock band making a country album. He followed Boy’s Life with another mainstream book Gone South which I didn’t read, then he disappeared for more than ten years, and returned with Speaks the Nightbird. Anyway, while he was a horror author I was a fan, now we seem to have gone separate ways. Mystery Walk was published in 1983 while he was near the summit of his powers as a horror author, I think he hit his peak in the fantastic Swan Song, published four years later. I prefer to write short synopses than long ones, or avoid writing them altogether if I feel I can get away with it, but some books are densely plotted and the plot is integral to review. So, for the benefit of synopses skimmers like myself, I have made a clear division below so you can just jump to my opinionated nonsense instead! — ╮( ˘_˘ )╭ Synopsis begins ╮( ˘_˘ )╭ — Mystery Walk concerns a young man, Billy Creekmore of American Indian descent, living in Hawthorne in North Alabama With his parents. His mother, Ramona, has an ability to communicate with the dead, to help them cross over when they are tied to this world by some kind of traumatic death which their soul cannot come to terms with; and also the ability to see a “death aura” around people whose death is imminent. Unfortunately, Billy has inherited the same spooky abilities from his mother, and communicating with the dead is not really a fun thing to do, they don't seem to have much of interest to say, and often cause a lot of grief for the living. Knowing who is going to die is even less desirable as it is generally impossible to convince the doomed people, and their reactions are always hostile. One day Billy and his parents attend a tent revival (Billy’s father is a devout Christian undiscerning variety), the revival is by “Jimmy Jed Falconer”, self-proclaimed “The South’s Greatest Evangelist”. The evangelist is accompanied by his son Wayne who claim to have the ability to heal. Ramona can see from the aura of the people being “healed” that they are not going to get better, and are being given dangerously false hopes of miraculous cures and told not to go to doctors. Ramona confronts the evangelist with this, while Wayne Falconer feels an instinctive hatred toward both mother and son, who are summarily thrown out of the tent. The second encounter after a fire at Billy’s school (which he kind of foresaw but failed to prevent) makes matters between them much worse. At the same time, a demonic entity who feeds on fear and misery of souls is out to destroy both mother and son who are spoiling his unhappy meals. Then a supremely evil gangster with OCD enters the scene and things quickly go south for the good guys… — ヽ(・∀・)ノ Synopsis ends ヽ(・∀・)ノ — Symbolic representation of the struggle between good and evil, directly from the book. Horror fiction is often unfairly viewed with disdain, even more so than its distant cousins, science fiction, and fantasy. While the purpose of most horror fiction is to give the reader the heebeegeebees (in a good way), some of the best horror fiction have depths, subtexts, themes and motif you can chew on at your leisure, or ignore completely if you prefer. Mystery Walk is one of the more complex offerings of the genre. A certain type of evangelicalism prevailing in Alabama, and perhaps other southeastern regions of the US, is depicted here as charismatic orators exploiting the more gullible elements of fundamentalist Christianity. They not only generate fear and hatred for things that they deem sinful (like rock and roll, long hair etc.), and worse still convince sick people that they have been miraculously healed by The Lord through the evangelist’s gifts; and doctors are not needed. Going to the doctor after being “healed” may even be sinful. McCammon also explores the theme of death which is not a sin as some evangelists would have us believe. “I'm not saying I understand death, and I’m not saying I know what Heaven and Hell are going to be like, but death itself isn’t evil, Billy; it’s the call to rest after a long day’s work.” One of the most vivid scenes from the book The town of Hawthorne also suffers from racism and bigotry. “Things were even troubled right here in the Hawthorne Baptist Church; Reverend Horton did his best, but there was no fire nor brimstone in his sermons, and worst of all he’d been seen over at the church in Dusktown helping the blacks with their potluck supper. Nobody liked to shake Horton’s hand anymore” On the more positive side of life McCammon effectively portrays the loving relationship between father and son: “Time’s wastin’,” John said, and reached out to his son. They linked hands and John felt the immediate warm pleasure of contact with the boy. Billy was so alive, so alert and curious; some of his youth rubbed off on John when they could be together. In spite of the serious themes the narrative moves at a fast pace and is never dull. My only complaint is that the hero Billy Creekmore spends most of the book being rather naïve and ineffectual. Only towards the end does he manage to put his supernatural talent to good use and come to terms with his mission in life (his “Mystery Walk”). McCammon is really a terrific storyteller, I really wish he would return to the horror genre, though he seems to be finding success with his current series of historical crime fiction. Perhaps I will start reading that one day when I am in the mood for such things. In the meantime, if you like horror fiction, especially if you are a Stephen King fan, I highly recommend that you explore some of McCammon’s back catalog. Penalized half a star because the hero is a bit of an idiot. This is the version I have, a good distillation of the book's major themes.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Char

    Review edited 10.14.13. I am a HUGE Robert McCammon fan. Since his older works are all becoming available as e-books now, I'm trying to re-read everything of McCammon's that I read as a teenager. Lucky for me, these stories stand the test of time. Mystery Walk is the story of two boys. One of Choctaw blood that can see and speak to the dead. The other, the son of a famous evangelist, can heal the sick. The stories of these boys on their way to manhood is fascinating. How they discover the gifts wh Review edited 10.14.13. I am a HUGE Robert McCammon fan. Since his older works are all becoming available as e-books now, I'm trying to re-read everything of McCammon's that I read as a teenager. Lucky for me, these stories stand the test of time. Mystery Walk is the story of two boys. One of Choctaw blood that can see and speak to the dead. The other, the son of a famous evangelist, can heal the sick. The stories of these boys on their way to manhood is fascinating. How they discover the gifts which they harbor within, and how they learn how to deal with said gifts was the most interesting part of the book to me. I didn't wholeheartedly embrace the ending, though I did think it was ok. The characters grew throughout the book, so I enjoyed the character development. I have always admired McCammon's prose. The man knows how to weave words together to form a complete fabric for the story. All in all, I would recommend this book and I would give it, if allowed, a 4.5 rating. ***Revision 10.14.13.-A third read of this book has led me to change a couple of things about this review. This time around I thought the ending was perfect. In fact, I can't see another ending that would have worked. Also, I'm not sure if the e-book version has been updated, but I think it has because I did not see the errors this time around that I found the first time. There were still a few typos, but nothing more than one would normally see in a print book. It must be a sign of a good writer when the author can change a reader's mind about the ending all these years and two reads later. I enjoyed the hell out of this book and if it sounds interesting to you, or if you're a fan of Mr. McCammon, give it a shot. I think you'll like it! Highly recommended!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Horace Derwent

    Early McCammon's are really insidious and macabre, so loving them!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Paul O'Neill

    Great book by a fantastic author. I need to read more of his books and you do to :) The closest you'll get to Stephen King. He even does some things better than the mighty one... Each scream was seemingly louder than the one before, each one freezing his spine a little harder.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Adam Light

    What can I say about Robert McCammon? The man can write like just about no one else in the business. Boy's Life, Swan Song, Stinger? All certified classics in my opinion. Now Mystery Walk. Wow! This book sat on my shelf for years, just not calling to me at all. Probably something to do with the horrid cover art. It never asked me to read it. Not once. Then, I wanted to read one of his that I haven't gotten to yet, and this one won. I'm glad it did. This book is non-stop from the first chapter al What can I say about Robert McCammon? The man can write like just about no one else in the business. Boy's Life, Swan Song, Stinger? All certified classics in my opinion. Now Mystery Walk. Wow! This book sat on my shelf for years, just not calling to me at all. Probably something to do with the horrid cover art. It never asked me to read it. Not once. Then, I wanted to read one of his that I haven't gotten to yet, and this one won. I'm glad it did. This book is non-stop from the first chapter all the way to the crazy finale and it is a story that will stay with me for a long time... just like all his other novels I have read. Highly recommended. 'Nuff said!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Nash

    Reading McCammons books in order made this experience all the more special. Whilst his first 4 novels arent bad, they're more 70s/80s trashy horror. An author getting into his groove whilst tackling all of the different tropes in the horror genre. This though, this book right here is definitely the start of the genius McCammon i've heard so much about. Here is where he matured, big time. Its like reading a totally different author. Mystery walk is a coming of age tale about Billy Creekmore, who Reading McCammons books in order made this experience all the more special. Whilst his first 4 novels arent bad, they're more 70s/80s trashy horror. An author getting into his groove whilst tackling all of the different tropes in the horror genre. This though, this book right here is definitely the start of the genius McCammon i've heard so much about. Here is where he matured, big time. Its like reading a totally different author. Mystery walk is a coming of age tale about Billy Creekmore, who is born with a powerful gift, to see the dead and to put to rest their souls. Billy has to get to grips with his powers at an early age with the help of his mother and grandmother whom he inherited the gift from. The first and best half of the book in my opinion, is mainly of Billy growing up and finding it hard to lead a normal life, which is all that he wants, and trying to use his powers for the good and understand them. To see where they take him. To follow his mystery walk. With his father and classmates being against him many parts of Billys life were so sad to read. In particular one bit at the school prom completely broke my heart as Billy plays up to what people think he is after just wanting to fit in and be like everyone else. Someone was definitely cutting onions nearby whilst i was reading that scene. I definitely preferred the story when it stayed low key and was mainly about the Creekmores. Whilst not being at all bad, the second half we are introduced to another character who's to cross paths with Billy, and a pretty unbelievable gangster story that is very cliche. I believe that without the inclusion of this mob the story still could have gotten to where it needed be. That being said there are still some cool grisly bits and the final chase scene across the desert is very memorable and creepy. So why 5 stars then? The whole book is very readable and never ever boring, and Billy is seriously one of my favourite characters in all of fiction. His story is superb and i imagine i will revisit this one again and again.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Obsidian

    Well this was really good! I was pleasantly surprised since I have only really loved one of McCammon's books, "Boy's LIfe." "Mystery Walk" brought back some of that feeling of magical realism along with horror that I liked in the previous book. We also get introduced to some pretty epic characters (Billy Creekmore and his mother) and I ended up wanting to read more about Billy after the conclusion of the book. "Mystery Walk" begins with a pregnant Ramona Creekmore who has a gift. She can see the Well this was really good! I was pleasantly surprised since I have only really loved one of McCammon's books, "Boy's LIfe." "Mystery Walk" brought back some of that feeling of magical realism along with horror that I liked in the previous book. We also get introduced to some pretty epic characters (Billy Creekmore and his mother) and I ended up wanting to read more about Billy after the conclusion of the book. "Mystery Walk" begins with a pregnant Ramona Creekmore who has a gift. She can see the dead that have not peacefully passed on and she can set them free. Her husband John is a God fearing man (more on that later) who hates that Ramona is different. He believes her gift is a sin. When the book follows them years later after Ramona has given birth, they have their son Billy who they both love. Billy though appears to have taken on his mother and grandmother's gift and John is even more upset that his family appears to be "walking" with the devil. The book also follows Wayne Falconer and his father. Wayne's father is a tent revivalist and he claims his son can heal people. Something in Wayne allows him to feel things in certain people, but he really wants to do good and heal. However, something darker seems to have gotten a hold of him. Billy and Ramona were the highlights of the book for me. I despised John Creekmore. A man using the Bible to incite terror in his son and wife and then also use the robes of the Klan to inspire fear in others was not someone that I sympathized with at all. I understood though why Billy and Ramona loved him though I puzzled at Ramona. Ramona is a Choctaw Indian and I don't get how her race wasn't seen as a deterrent to John though he had a lot of words to say about African Americans and how the world was going to end soon. Billy wants to be what his father wants him to be, but his mother's blood calls out for him to do what she does, to help those who have a hard time letting go of life pass on. The first time this happens to Billy gave me shades of "Boy's Life" and I shuddered a lot. I think at times though that Billy's character was quite naive. He wants to be like everyone else, but his mother and his own actions have made it hard for him to blend into the small town. When Billy realizes he has to move on (first to a carnival and then to an institute which can study him) he realizes he is going to get to see more than he could ever thought possible. I felt sorry for Wayne and honestly disliked his sections. I went back and re-read though when we get a reveal I didn't see coming. Everything made sense at that point and I realized I hadn't picked up on anything. That said, I didn't feel sorry for Wayne. His whole character is just a hot mess and when we finally get to him and Billy meeting again I wondered at how it would go. Most of the setting of the book takes place in a small town in Alabama. You get a sense of the town and the secrets it holds. Also for the ugliness at times when you get into how the Klu Klux Klan was running around and beating up and abusing anyone that didn't fit. The storyline following the preacher was horrific. I wish that McCammon had followed up on him. The book also shows Billy working at a carnival and I really enjoyed that whole setting. It was interesting and it reminded me a bit of Stephen King's "Joyland." When things moved to Billy at the institute I just found myself getting a bit bored. I will say the ending read as a bit off to me. I don't know. Maybe because I wanted some epic final battle or something that I felt a bit letdown by it. And though I was happy with how things are left with Billy, I did want to follow him a bit father along his mystery walk.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    4.5⭐ "Everybody's on their own kind of Mystery Walk, following the trail of their days and doing the best with what life throws at them. Sometimes it's mighty hard to figure out what's right and wrong in this mixed-up world." Mystery Walk is my first McCammon book, and I was not disappointed. This was a buddy read with Twitter friends, and I really enjoyed the book. It actually reminded me of The Dead Zone by Stephen King, but not in a way like one of them was copying the other - they just expres 4.5⭐ "Everybody's on their own kind of Mystery Walk, following the trail of their days and doing the best with what life throws at them. Sometimes it's mighty hard to figure out what's right and wrong in this mixed-up world." Mystery Walk is my first McCammon book, and I was not disappointed. This was a buddy read with Twitter friends, and I really enjoyed the book. It actually reminded me of The Dead Zone by Stephen King, but not in a way like one of them was copying the other - they just express similar sentiments. This is an intriguing coming-of-age story with paranormal elements. It's set in Alabama in the 80s, and there were a lot of dark things happening. Obviously it was super racist, and bad people in the story claimed to do evil acts for religious purposes. Being from the south, I can relate to some of the villains of this book being shitty evangelicals who believe they're doing the right thing. Robert McCammon does a great job with in-depth character studies while still creating interesting settings and storylines. My main complaint, and why it's 4.5 stars instead of 5, is because there were so many cool storylines, and not enough time was able to be spent on all of them. I kind of wish this book would have been a series. There's the weird town with a murder house, a carnival, the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning (not really, but close enough), etc. I would have liked to spend more time in certain aspects of the story, and I feel like some plot points just dropped off since it moved onto the next big setting pretty quickly. Some parts were a little too over-the-top, and some just didn't have enough going on. I loved this book, and I will definitely be reading more McCammon.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    McCammon's name drew me to this title far more than what I knew about the plot. I am wary of "supernatural" fiction i.e. anything that focuses on ghosts and spirits and what-not. If I'm going to read some horror fiction, I'd rather that the fantastic elements have teeth, claws, or at least the rotten flesh of the undead. Monsters are my thing, all the way. Here, McCammon does offer up a monster of sorts, but he takes his time doing it while spinning a longish tale of a family that is touched by t McCammon's name drew me to this title far more than what I knew about the plot. I am wary of "supernatural" fiction i.e. anything that focuses on ghosts and spirits and what-not. If I'm going to read some horror fiction, I'd rather that the fantastic elements have teeth, claws, or at least the rotten flesh of the undead. Monsters are my thing, all the way. Here, McCammon does offer up a monster of sorts, but he takes his time doing it while spinning a longish tale of a family that is touched by the supernatural through the Mother and her son. The real ramifications of Billy and his Mother's gifts are explored, and McCammon made me feel their sorrow as well as their wonder. Along these lines, McCammon dangles the cliche of a god-fearing, abusive Father, and I was prepared to endure this stereotype the same way that I put up with Stephen King's brand of Christ-loving Crazies; but then McCammon switches things up and reveals a man who loves his family while fearing the supernatural abilities that touch them. This thread teased the most miles out of my blood pump, a fact which made it one of my favorites. (view spoiler)[After all the years of hardship and soul searching occupying hundreds of pages, the story's climax comes down to the possessed corpse of a rich, obese madman lurching after our protagonist and his brother, both of whom have been wounded by a recent crash-landing. The corpse stumbles across the desert floor, waving a razor-studded set of brass knuckles, while the boys help each other towards the foot of a low hill. Will the evil spirit reach his prey through the lumbering ambulation of its heavy host? Please--this is horror fiction! Some may find this too cheesy after all of the drama and introspection that came before; me, I grinning and actually saying "hell yeah" aloud on my living room couch. The fact is, I was ready for a serving of some pungent, cheese-like substance and an overweight animated corpse armed with a sharp knuckle-duster more than fits that bill. Besides, the big realizations that Billy and his brother (have you cottoned to the fact that I can't remember his name? It's bugging me!) have been chasing are finally in their grasp, and each stands on the threshold of inner peace. Soon as they dispatch the Final Zombie Boss, they're home free. (hide spoiler)] Since reading and loving "The Five" last year, I've enjoyed cherry-picking through McCammon's huge catalogue. I've got "Night Boat" sitting on my shelf, ready to deliver some zombified goodies next October (I usually dive into the horror genre in that month), while I've got my eye on "Swan Song" for some future stretch of time that begs for a pulpy read. I've also been following McCammon's website for a number of months, and I am excited by his news of an epic science fiction and horror novel. Whatever follows, I'm going to pay attention, because McCammon writes his stories with heart and then leads you through its paces so that you, too, can hear it beat.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Miss Kim

    4 1/2 stars I do think if you are a big Stephen King fan, that you will enjoy McCammon as . McCammon writes... simpler? King has admitted him self that he has verbal diarrhea. Do you love a great Good Vs. Evil story? This is a good one. I couldn't put it down for hours on the first day I picked it up, but then I lost my momentum for skipping reading for a week... I do not advise that! This is a great read with a twist that I didn't see comin...it hit me in the forehead... awesome.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Layton

    4.5 stars.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tobin Elliott

    As I make my way through McCammon's novels, his growth as a writer is obvious. This is hands down his best book of the first five he's written. Yes, it still has some irritants: The title for one thing. "Your mystery walk is not yet over." "He was not yet finished with his own mystery walk." Meh. The term sounds like some BS term a carnival barker...say, someone named Dr. Miracle, for example...would come up with. There's also the fact that Dr. Miracle searched all over the state to find Billy, a As I make my way through McCammon's novels, his growth as a writer is obvious. This is hands down his best book of the first five he's written. Yes, it still has some irritants: The title for one thing. "Your mystery walk is not yet over." "He was not yet finished with his own mystery walk." Meh. The term sounds like some BS term a carnival barker...say, someone named Dr. Miracle, for example...would come up with. There's also the fact that Dr. Miracle searched all over the state to find Billy, and only used him as a normal carnival worker. He could have found anyone to do that. The fact that he sought out Billy means he felt the boy had more to offer. Yet he never explored it. A wasted plot point. And Wayne felt just a touch too stereotypical in his religious villainry (yes, I know that's not a word. I just made it up. Just go with me here, okay?). And finally, the ending was a touch disappointing. I expected Billy to play a larger role than he did. It was his story, for the most part. Having said that, there was much to love here. The paranormal sequences, the truck with the tree, the screaming saw, the fire, all of them...just beautiful. This is where McCammon really shines. And the fun thing for me, with this particular novel, was seeing McCammon break new ground in terms of storytelling landscape, and yet I saw the footprints of both Stephen King and John Farris there. This is not to say McCammon was aping them, or borrowing from their handbooks. He definitely was not. But for a time at least, he walked the path of those that came recently before him. I enjoyed this one.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    I don't remember anything about this book, except that I enjoyed it tremendously at the time I read it. The story was no doubt good - but the main reason for my enjoyment was that I read it on the day I finished my engineering finals. I was no longer a student, but a professional! No more exams or practicals!! I stayed up to half-past four in the morning, reading it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jen (Book Den)

    Mystery Walk has everything I love in a story: coming of age characters, good vs. evil, ghosts, suspense, scares... Like all of McCammon's works, Mystery Walk is a huge story I was able to lose myself in.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brian Schwartz

    In another step in his maturity as a writer, McCammon takes on theology, modern religion and prejudice and a character with grey motives and ideas. McCammon does an excellent job in developing his protagonist and antagonist early. We learn that Billy Creekmore is a good person with nothing more than a desire to do what his right with the gift he’s been provided. Wayne Falconer is confused about his self-discovery because he feels ill-used and is unsure of himself. McCammon sets these two characte In another step in his maturity as a writer, McCammon takes on theology, modern religion and prejudice and a character with grey motives and ideas. McCammon does an excellent job in developing his protagonist and antagonist early. We learn that Billy Creekmore is a good person with nothing more than a desire to do what his right with the gift he’s been provided. Wayne Falconer is confused about his self-discovery because he feels ill-used and is unsure of himself. McCammon sets these two characters up to be used by a stronger power in his evil machinations. However, that never quite develops. While McCammon does quite well at taking the respective boys on their Mystery Walks and letting them discover things about themselves, the shapeshifter’s nature and motivations are never revealed. We know not why he desires to manipulate these two boys. We don’t even know who he is. It would have been easy for McCammon to make Christianity itself the tool of evil. It would have also been cheap. McCammon doesn’t do that. The goodness of Christianity McCammon sees can be found in Billy’s father. Billy and Romona’s powers are repugnant to him as a Christian. But he never quits loving them and never quits supporting them. He is a weak man at times. But his faith never devolves into a tool of evil. Wayne Falconer’s doubt also shows that it was not Christianity itself McCammon was putting on trial in this novel. Wayne is riddled with doubt about the faith healing he is supposed to be doing. He questions in his own mind his dad’s hatred for the Creekmores. Billy and Wayne are presented as adversaries throughout the book while they are leading separate lives. McCammon gives us sufficient information to know how this rivalry developed and was perpetuated. He also gave us enough information as to why the two ought to come together to fight the evil shape changer. Unfortunately, that evil being was just too much of an enigma with seemingly no motivation other than to be the evil thing to be fought. Greater development of the shapechanger would have made this a much better book. Robert McCammon’s prose alone make this an enjoyable book to read. McCammon can write phrases, sentences and paragraphs that grab the reader. He writes words that inspire the reader to want to read more. He is a gifted writer. But when all the words have been read and the story is done, the reader is left feeling that he read a good story, but a story that could have been better had he put forth just a little more effort in defining the evil menace of his story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tamora Pierce

    There are two boys/young men born with paranormal gifts. One is the son of a woman who puts down restless ghosts and demons at a cost to herself. She has Native American blood and the gift has come to her through her family line, along with the monster that hunts the people of her family, trying to get them to destroy themselves once they've begun their careers. The other boy is the grandson of a revival preacher, a healer who is terrified of the people he heals and of his power to heal them. He There are two boys/young men born with paranormal gifts. One is the son of a woman who puts down restless ghosts and demons at a cost to herself. She has Native American blood and the gift has come to her through her family line, along with the monster that hunts the people of her family, trying to get them to destroy themselves once they've begun their careers. The other boy is the grandson of a revival preacher, a healer who is terrified of the people he heals and of his power to heal them. He is also terrified of the woman and her son; his grandfather has told them they are demonic, and he believes. Like a lot of McCammon, this is a compulsive read. I would have liked a lot more ghost-busting and less of the religiosity, but hey--I'm not the writer!

  21. 5 out of 5

    11811 (Eleven)

    A decent story that I can't help comparing to some of the author's later works which I find to be far superior. In such a context, 3 stars is pushing it for this one. It read like a warm up for the awesomeness of Gone South.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Lucia

    Just as powerful the second time around, and I think one of my favorite McCammon novels, in retrospect. It's ironic how, the first time around, I was initially hoping it would be more like BOY'S LIFE (even though this was published first, I didn't get to it until after I read BL), was briefly disappointed in how it WASN'T like BL, especially considering how Billy and his mother Ramona were treated by the town of Hawthorne (the name of the town seems doubly apt, on a second reading) and Billy's f Just as powerful the second time around, and I think one of my favorite McCammon novels, in retrospect. It's ironic how, the first time around, I was initially hoping it would be more like BOY'S LIFE (even though this was published first, I didn't get to it until after I read BL), was briefly disappointed in how it WASN'T like BL, especially considering how Billy and his mother Ramona were treated by the town of Hawthorne (the name of the town seems doubly apt, on a second reading) and Billy's father, but then the idea of the Mystery Walk, the tragically late redemption of both John Creekmore and Wyane, and Billy's quest - developing on the opposite end of Wayne Falconer's - swept me away, as most McCammon novels usually do. I think McCammon's portrayal of the wildly popular - almost cult-like - evangelist Fakconer and how easily Wayne is taken in by the devious and decadent businessman Krespin at the end is still timely. Especially considering how much of a "big business" Christianity has become.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Russ

    McCammon's books for me always end up being much more than I expect. He is so good at packing a lot into a small(ish) book. For 400 pages this book is a long journey.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cyn

    Robert McCammon is a master storyteller. It doesn't seem to matter that his books are ginormous ... they're always so engaging that the length is inconsequential. At least, that's been my experience with his books so far. The characters he creates are SO real that they just come alive on the page. Mystery Walk tells the story of two boys who are inexplicably drawn to each other by an unknown (preternatural) force. The novel details their lives and their encounters with each other along the way. Robert McCammon is a master storyteller. It doesn't seem to matter that his books are ginormous ... they're always so engaging that the length is inconsequential. At least, that's been my experience with his books so far. The characters he creates are SO real that they just come alive on the page. Mystery Walk tells the story of two boys who are inexplicably drawn to each other by an unknown (preternatural) force. The novel details their lives and their encounters with each other along the way. Recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sjgomzi

    4.5 stars

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bogdan

    Overall not a weak book, but I was expecting something more impressive in the ending zone of it. Still very strong characters, a good atmosphere, good dialogues, in short, this guy knows how to write and to impress the reader. Also the pacing it`s kind of slow sometimes, maybe not for the tastes of a lot of people, but I wasn`t so affected. There is a special tone to this novel, like a lot of McCammon works so this is a must, not only for his fans out there, but also for the readers that want a sm Overall not a weak book, but I was expecting something more impressive in the ending zone of it. Still very strong characters, a good atmosphere, good dialogues, in short, this guy knows how to write and to impress the reader. Also the pacing it`s kind of slow sometimes, maybe not for the tastes of a lot of people, but I wasn`t so affected. There is a special tone to this novel, like a lot of McCammon works so this is a must, not only for his fans out there, but also for the readers that want a smart and a very well made book in hand.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Well then. I have a feeling that this probably wasn't the best of McCammon's books to start with... or, at least I hope that's the case. I was less than impressed with this one for much of the time it took to get through it, and while I guess it was interesting enough (as in I was interested enough to continue on and see what happened), I didn't really ever feel invested in the story or the characters. Perhaps it was the fact that I listened to this as an audiobook, a recording from tape circa 1 Well then. I have a feeling that this probably wasn't the best of McCammon's books to start with... or, at least I hope that's the case. I was less than impressed with this one for much of the time it took to get through it, and while I guess it was interesting enough (as in I was interested enough to continue on and see what happened), I didn't really ever feel invested in the story or the characters. Perhaps it was the fact that I listened to this as an audiobook, a recording from tape circa 1983 or so. The reader was... distracting. He kept reading in a much different tone than I felt that the particular scene or situation warranted. Usually someone sounded wheedling or manipulative or threatening in this man's voice, when I feel that I'd have read the scene without the overtones of menace. Sometimes a question is just a question, not an unspoken threat. There were a lot of "Am I right?" and "Is/isn't that right?" questions and every time - EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. - he read one of them, I'd picture the asking character with their head tilted inquiringly, a fake smile plastered on their face daring the person to contradict. Go ahead. See what happens. And then there's the pronunciations. Oh man. Grimace was always "Grim Ace" and La Mesa was always "Luh Meesa". Luh Meesa. Really. It was just distracting. Because every time I'd picture fucking Jar Jar Binks. Ye gods, whatta meesa sayin'? Ohgodmakeitstopnow. Yeah, so... aside from that stuff... I don't have much to say about this. I wasn't shocked by the revelations in this story. Rather than being a twisty mountain road with sharp, unexpected turns, this was more like a go-cart course - predictable and tame... I may not have been on THIS particular course before, but they are all pretty much the same. I've seen the twists, the symbolism, the circular references, the good vs evil, the religiosity all before. This story just felt formulaic, and so it wasn't really scary or particularly impressive. Maybe it's because the book is almost as old as I am and I've read a lot of other (better) horror before this. That's plausible, but then I think of stories like Richard Matheson's "I Am Legend", William Peter Blatty's "The Exorcist", or Ira Levin's "Rosemary's Baby", stories that are just as old (older, actually) and still amaze and terrify. This didn't. But I finished it and overall didn't loathe it, so... 2 stars. Maybe Swan Song will be better?

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    The only other McCammon story I have read other than this one was Swan Song. I thought it was amazing. I should have read this one first. It was really good but I kept comparing it to Swan Song and it fell a little short. It was a standard issue good vs evil story with a slight twist. Nothing really new here but the writing draws you in. In my limited experience with his writing, I've found he's able to keep you reading 'just one more chapter' better than most authors I've read. The story reminds The only other McCammon story I have read other than this one was Swan Song. I thought it was amazing. I should have read this one first. It was really good but I kept comparing it to Swan Song and it fell a little short. It was a standard issue good vs evil story with a slight twist. Nothing really new here but the writing draws you in. In my limited experience with his writing, I've found he's able to keep you reading 'just one more chapter' better than most authors I've read. The story reminds me of the old Stephen King books...you know, the ones that must have been edited because they didn't drag on and on with descriptiveness. Billy can see dead people. It was something most in his maternal family line could do. Unlike the movie The Sixth Sense, this gift didn't end there. These ghosts were trapped here and had to be helped to move on from this world. This was where Billy's gift/curse came in. Now this was not a skill that was embraced by the other residents of his small town. A lot of the story revolved around the way the family was treated. Bigotry and fear ran rampant through backwood towns like this in the 50's and 60's. It didn't make for a great childhood for Billy. I'll leave it at that. There's obviously a lot more that happens but I can't spoil the fun for you. Suffice to say, if you're a King fan you will probably be a fan of McCammon.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    It's been awhile since I read a good horror story, so I was pleased to find myself immersed in this one. The characters were fairly well-developed and the premise was good. No surprises, but still a well-told tale.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Lucia

    Absolutely awesome. I can't say it enough, I love Robert McCammon's work - it beats with a heart and soul so much work is missing today....

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