Peter Francis Straub (born March 2, 1943) is a popular American writer and poet, best known for his horror fiction. He has had two novels adapted for film—Full Circle was based on his 1974 novel Julia, and his novel Ghost Story was adapted with the name unchanged. He has also co-authored two novels with horror legend Stephen King. He has won the Bram Stoker Award several times, and his novel Koko won the World Fantasy Award.
Works with a page on this wiki:
- Marriages (1973; non-horror)
- Under Venus (1974; non-horror)
- Julia (1974)
- If You Could See Me Now (1977)
- Ghost Story (1979)
- Shadowland (1980)
- Floating Dragon (1983)
- Koko (1988; first in the loosely connected "Blue Rose Trilogy")
- Mystery (1990; second in the loosely connected "Blue Rose Trilogy")
- Mrs. God (1990; expanded from a novella)
- The Throat (1993; third in the loosely connected "Blue Rose Trilogy")
- The Hellfire Club (1995)
- Mr. X (1999)
- Lost Boy, Lost Girl (2003)
- In the Night Room (2004)
- A Dark Matter (2010)
- Houses Without Doors (1990; includes novella version of Mrs. God)
- Magic Terror (2000)
- 5 Stories (2007)
- The Juniper Tree and Other Blue Rose Stories(2010)
- Interior Darkness (2016)
Tropes in his other works:
- Ambiguously Gay: The Hellfire Club has the villain Serial Killer, Dick Dart, who exhibits a bunch of Camp Gay tendencies. He speaks rather effeminately, has the best fashion sense of all the characters in the book, and is big on makeup. In fact, one moment slightly hinted that he was jealous of women, and quite possibly even wanted to be one. The only thing is... he's only shown to rape women, and claims that he "adores" them.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: In The Hellfire Club, the villain Serial Killer Dick Dart is repeatedly stated to have this. He's awfully proud of it, too, saying that his name was rather appropriate. He claims that women are crazy about him because of it, and he's shown to get very frustrated when he can't make Nora climax.
- Birds of a Feather: In The Hellfire Club, this is the reason why villainous Serial Killer Dick Dart claims he loves and adores Nora. Because of a misunderstanding on his part where he thought she had kidnapped a woman and tortured her horribly for several days, he comes to believe that they are alike. He even comes out and says that he's so happy he found a female version of himself. In wit and many other ways, they are shown to be a worthy match... the only thing is that Nora is not fond of killing people in bloody ways.
- Chekhov's Gun: In Ghost Story, Stella Hawthorne makes use of a Chekhov's Hatpin. Oddly, despite being a somewhat obvious example of the trope, it doesn't really affect the overall story very much.
- Conveniently Interrupted Document: In The Throat, the protagonist, who is looking for a murderer, finds a scrap of paper with a name and a town written on it, only the town name is slightly damaged and looks like "Alle_town". The protagonist misreads it as Allentown, which leads him to entirely the wrong man; the real murderer was in Allertown.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Florence de Peyser, who is ostensibly the aunt of the creature calling itself Alice Montgomery, Alma Mobley and other names, but is not involved in the events in Milburn in Ghost Story.
- Enemy Eats Your Lunch: In the novella "Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff", a rich man hires two eccentric hitmen to kill his wife and her lover. When they arrive at his home, they quickly polish off his lavish breakfast and tell him to make himself some toast.
- I'm Melting!: In Floating Dragon, the nerve agent DRG-16 is accidentally released from a Department of Defense chemical plant, and causes a number of people to meet this fate.
- Let's Split Up, Gang: Played absolutely straight in Ghost Story. Heroes enter evil house, decide they need to split up for very minor reasons, and things go badly. A tiny lampshade is hung, but it's still idiotic.
- Magicians Are Wizards: Shadowland is based entirely upon this trope, and derives much of its power from the distorted and unreliable perceptions of the main characters as to what is really magic, what was merely illusion, and what "really" happened/is happening at any one point in the action.
- Mister X and Mister Y: Those Two Bad Guys in the novella "Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff."
- Passed-Over Inheritance: When Toby Kraft dies in the novel Mr. X, he leaves nearly everything to his stepdaughter's son Ned (except for three shares going to charity), to the dismay of his late wife's sisters and brother-in-laws, who are obviously expecting a portion. Subverted by Kraft's stepdaughter Valerie - he had actually named her his primary heir, with the stipulation that Ned got everything meant for her if Valerie predeceased Kraft (which is what happened). As it happens, Ned chooses to split the inheritance with his aunts anyway, and also gives away a portion to one of his mother's friends.
- Repulsive Ringmaster: The novel Ghost Story features a creepy Ringmaster as part of the horror that descends upon the town of Milburn.
- Serial Killer: In The Hellfire Club, Dick Dart is most definitely this, despite how much he hates being called this by the media.
- Sex Tourism: The backdrop of Koko is the sex-tourism fueled underbelly of Bangkok.
- Stalker with a Crush: In The Hellfire Club, the villain Serial Killer Dick Dart acts like one towards Nora. He latches on to her due to a misunderstanding that she had kidnapped and tortured a woman, which caused him to believe that he finally found his worthy match and someone who was just like him. As a result, he kidnaps her and repeatedly rapes her, taking her along as he commits crimes all the while thinking of her as his accomplice. When she escapes from him, he stalks her and kidnaps her again, actually admiring her even more for managing to trick him.
- Theme Initials: A major clue in Ghost Story.
- True Craftsman: In Koko, the carpenter Conor is working for is such a craftsman, and Conor is learning a lot about house-building. But then the carpenter is obligated to hire on a worthless in-law and Conor has to be let go just in time for him to join the main plotline. Toward the end of the book, the in-law is divorced from the family and Conor is rehired.
- Unexpected Inheritance: Used twice in the novel Mr. X, first when Ned Dunstan reads an anthology by his biological father, including one story telling of a retired professor who unexpectedly inherited a mansion and its library from another professor; the inheritor ends up reading one of the books, summons a strange creature and is killed by it. Later, Ned's step-grandfather Toby Kraft dies and leaves nearly everything (save for three shares that went to different charities instead) to his stepdaughter Valerie, with the condition that if she pre-deceased him (which she did), her share would go to her son Ned. Ned himself is quite astounded by this - Kraft had promised to take care of him, but Ned thought he just meant a job in Kraft's pawn shop and had no idea he was in Kraft's will. Ned gets another unexpected inheritance when it comes out that his father was Cordwainer Hatch, older brother of Corben Hatch and uncle of Stewart Hatch, and as such Ned is heir to the Hatch family trust fund. As before, he promptly splits it with a family member, in this case creating a trust fund which Stewart's young son will inherit a portion of when he turns 21, getting two more portions that make up the rest when he turns 25 and 30.