4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2012
I really enjoyed this one.
Part creepy ghost story, part Lovecraft style nightmare, part sci-fi monster romp, with a strong message against technology that loses sight of humanity. The monsters, and there were plenty of them in all shapes and sizes, were nasty, deadly, and creatively imagined. The plot and structure were tight and propelled toward the finale. The characters were well drawn and acted in a very realistic fashion. Koontz even managed to fit in a couple of Golden Retrievers (all Dean Koontz books must have a good dog in there somewhere) before it was all said and done.
What is not to like with this novel? Nothing. Well written, compelling, and fun. Nothing wrong with that.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
In the nineteenth century, Pendleton built the luxurious Shadow Hill. After the tycoon died, his palatial abode was broken into apartments in which only the one tenth of one percent of the affluent can afford to reside there. In 1888 the disappearances of his wife and their two children broke Andrew North Pendleton's spirit. Every thirty-eight years since, people simply vanish from this grandiose building never to be seen or heard from again.
In the 1970s, the impossible begins again with fluctuations that enable the current residents to glimpse into the history of this imposing edifice. The security cameras pick up images that cannot exist and communication in tongues that seem arcane as no one understands them. The cycle of darkness that has engulfed this magnificent mansion has begun once again in 2011and those inside will soon feel abandoned as hell has come to them.
This exciting haunted mansion thriller rotates perspective between several characters so that the reader obtains a variety of views as to what is happening inside their current residence. However that technique proves somewhat confusing as the transitions are choppy and no one stands out except for 77 Shadow Street until late in the story line. Still Dean Koontz provides his fans with a tense horror thriller as fans will wonder who will be left standing on this plane and why those who are not were chosen.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2011
77 Shadow Street is by far the best Koontz I've read (even given the psychology bias towards Odd Thomas [guess what the T in my name is...]) and I'm not a fan. Koontz shows exceptional skill at quickly building attachable characters and establishing the 'rose red' haunted house setting.
Of course the genre is so hastily established, one suspects some theme-bending twists and Koontz does not disappoint. After all the blurb says it all (look yourself I don't want to spoil anything.)
Despite this I find an old complaint of mine resurfacing. Despite his best efforts Koontz can't seem to keep his own personal opinions out of his writing - I guess half the motivation of being a famous author is to get your point of view some page-time, but it doesn't serve the story when towards the end of the book when the big reveal happens you feel like Glenn Beck wrote the part of the 'bad-guy' and I find myself wanting to correspond with Koontz just to tell him that science isn't quite as bad as he makes out.
Diverting from hypocrisy I also have a reviewerly reason for not giving 77 S.S. 5 stars - Koontz weighs his story down with an overdose of characters. The book is probably a good 100 pages too long, due to needing to flesh out each introduced person, which also makes the plot a little repeditive as we have to see each person's first experience of the 'supernatural' and ultimately only a few of the characters are vital as P.O.V.'s the rest could have be demoted to minor, as an unfortunate side effect of over-populating your narrative is a sense of pleasure each time someone dies so you don't have so many people to keep track of. This is particularly obvious when Koontz switches from having a P.O.V. per chapter to labelling paragraphs with the central character's names, much slowing the pace and reducing the empathy.
That all said, 77 Shadow Street was an epic ride, and a highly original piece (a rare find these days!)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2013
This is a lot like Stephen King's The Shining meets Stephen King's Rose Red, rolled into a sic-fi / horror story.
The writing is unbelievable. The story contains a wide range of characters from two old spinster sisters and a slimy Senator to a hitman for hire and an intelligent young boy. The writing shows a vivid difference in the voice for each character and Koontz switches seamlessly between writing on a child's thought level to writing as a former military man.
All of the characters are residents of The Pendleton luxury apartments, formerly the Belle Vista mansion, located at 77 Shadow Street - an address with a sordid history. All of them will have to ban together if they intend to make it out... Every 38 years, something shifts in the house and bad things begin to happen. To date, 77 Shadow Street has been just another house with mysterious history. This time things will be different. The truth is coming closer, along with the end...
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Having read all of Koontz' novels, I have often lamented at the rise of the neo-Koontz with his emphasis on families, children, and magical dogs as opposed to his stunning early work in horror and the supernatural. In "77 Shadow Street", he returns to his early themes of horror and supernatualism and, ultimately, without a dog as a major character. His return to earlier horror is a major step for this reader even though it comes with mixed results.
A huge century old mansion sits atop Shadow Hill where it has been converted into high end luxury apartments. Koontz spends considerable time introducing each resident character and providing readers with a view of each character's perspectives, hopes, and beliefs. A series of startling, scary, and inexplicable sightings begins to lower a curtain of fear and horror over the tenants of "77 Shadow Street". Strange shadows appear and disappear, alarming changes to the building begin occurring often accompanied by frightening sounds. Ultimately, tenants begin dying and disappearing.
A resident historian has discovered that every 38 years terrible and deadly occurences have been chronicled at the Pendleton. As the current tenants begin discovering their vulnerability, the horror is ratcheted up. Soon it becomes apparent that they must battle not only for their own survival but also for the survival of the future as they know it.
Koontz had produced a novel that contains elements of haunted houses, time travel, a space-time trapdoor, ghost stories, mad scientists, good versus evil, innocents versus depraved, as well as a study in morality and spirituality. The quibbles that I reserve for this novel deal with my disappointment at feeling little attachment for any of the characters EXCEPT Winny and Iris, two children that clearly receive much of Koontz' attention and support. Equally, although the themes were horrific and ghastly, I felt somewhat detached from things rather than overwhelmed by them, almost as if Koontz was writing in a documentary fashion that seemed to omit the passion one usually feels for his characters.
But, ultimately, it is a good read and a welcomed return to his earlier subject matter. You will find yourself guessing at who dies and who survives as well as agonizing every time one of the children is threatened. Koontz remains a most capable writer who in "77 Shadow Street" makes a concerted effort to break free from the lock step of some of his recent material with a conscious effort to turn back the clock.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2012
I must say I read this book and did love it's idea. It's not that it's insane, but has an element of sci-fi splashed into fantasy, horror and mystery. What I find annoying in reading the reviews were that people complained about the lack of being able to bond with the characters. I found Winny and Iris easy to bond with, but, then again, that is only shown within the last 150 pages of the book which most only sped through. I notice, just from the few books I've read of Dean Koontz, that his books are slow and build into the final climax in the end where the characters true personalities shine through as did with Winny and Iris. "I barely read the last 100 pages just to be done with it" If you're not even going to read a quarter of the book then you shouldn't feel the need to write a bad review when you didn't even give the ending a chance.
Writing is art, as is painting, drawing, or pottery. Giving a book bad reviews based on it's characters is like judging a painting for it's abstract elements. The character explanations were vague, but the point of the book wasn't based around the characters and their history. It was the idea in the book itself which hardly anyone seems to realize. The point of the book was to point out the downfall in humanity based on their scientific dreams for the human race. It gave everyone a part to play and it slowly merged them all together as one to face evil. It showed element of how humans, no matter how different their lives are, can rise up against the common enemy. It was obvious that you weren't suppose to be become ultimately attached to anyone, you were watching everyone as a whole and, in my opinion, is a lot more real when it comes to books.
The fact is, the art of imagination is completely ignored and overshadowed by his lack in characterization, which was the whole purpose of his novel. His imagination went far and beyond and it didn't even get a single recognition because everyone is too far into the issues with characters. The novel is about the plot, not the characters, the characters are to make and explain the plot, therefore they weren't needed for people to "get close to" They were all only supports for the story, not the story itself. Really, this book isn't about lives in a time shifting apartment, it's about the mystery of whats happening what caused this and how to fix it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2014
I was fascinated to see that the number of readers assigning a five-star rating was almost identical to the total of one-star reviews. Obviously the book struck folks in a widely disparate fashion.
Personally I find the incredible scenarios emerging from the admittedly weird imagination of Mr. Koontz keep me in a perpetual state of awe. The fact that each of his stories is so idiosyncratic ensures I will return to check out another creep-o-rama from time to time...and the horror genre is not even one of my favorites.
The storyline can be found in dozens of other reviews. I particularly liked the child character "Winny" and found his struggles to meet an absent father's "manly" expectations to be quite poignant but also entertaining. The killer-for-hire, Mickey Dime, was exceptionally well done with his hang-ups on scent and sex added to an already peculiar outlook on the world stimulated by a totally off-the-wall maternal upbringing. Fans of "Doctor Who" will smile to hear the Daleks' injunction to "exterminate, exterminate" directed toward numerous humans.
I have always liked books that outline an assortment of characters from the get-go and allow a reader to tune in and out of their personal stories. Although the book tended to go on a whit too long with the cast of building occupants roaming up and down the mysterious "Pendleton," their perambulations did help build suspense.
Count me in the pro-Koontz camp on this endeavor.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2012
by so many negative reviews of this book. This is the first Dean Koontz novel I've ever read, and now that I've finished it cover to cover relatively quickly, I'm excited to read his other books. If you use the diagram of the house plans as a guide and label them with characters' names, it's easier to follow. It's not a scary book, and sometimes, it's---someone else here said it first---campy: esp. when the voice from the monitors say, "Exterminate." It's funny 'cause we all know it from the tv show "Dr. Who."
Maybe I just got into it so much because I've been listening to "Coast to Coast AM" radio show for two decades, and this book seems to be an homage to the show, where conspiracy theories, shadow people, alien-like grey creatures, parallel universes, time warps, ghosts, dangerous fungi, "Mel's hole," unexplained disappearances, suspicious deaths of bio-engineers, and other weird subjects, are discussed for four hours every night. Koontz throws all of it into one book, and maybe that's why some readers are put off. Give the book another chance, folks. Check out the radio show's guest archives for Dean Koontz interviews. I've heard Ian Punnett, one of the radio show hosts, interview him about his books, and he actually reads the books written by guests he interviews on the show. Fun to see Ian and the radio show mentioned in the book.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
What is up with my favorite authors and the need to fill what's supposed to be a scary and suspenseful book? The last Stephen King book was so filled with description(800 pages-plus)that I found I could skip huge swaths of writing, and still get the picture. Now Dean Koontz does the same thing with 77 Shadow Street. I really liked the novella-lead up to 77 Street, so maybe Koontz needs to think short, and tight, on his next book.
77 Shadow Street is a story about a huge mansion built in the 1800 that has periodic hauntings, and lots of killings, one that drove the owner mad with grieve until he finally killed himself.
In 2011, the Pendleton is now an upscale apartment building with lots of interesting tenants, and it's getting ready to rock and roll again with the weirdest haunting imaginable. Being that it's a Dean Koontz novel, the monsters will be frighteningly possible, and there will be hope in shape of something, or someone innocent, a child, a dog, or a wounded hero. An ex-marine Baily Hawks takes the lead in dealing with the horror that threatens the tenants. Hope comes in the shape of young Winny, a boy who wants so badly to be strong, a hero, anything other than his famous dad, a country-western star who has mastered taking the easy way out.
Koontz is outstanding at getting into the minds and motivations of his realistic characters, something I always enjoy in his writings. But in 77 Shadow Street, there is so much internal dialogue, and description of the monsters, that it actually made this a somewhat tedious read. Not that I didn't enjoy most of it, but getting to the reason for the monsters took a bit too long for me.
Also there were so many characters that weren't that interesting, and in fact, the 2 most interesting characters, the married radio jocks, spent the whole novel in a restaurant talking. I couldn't help wishing they were in the Pendleton fighting the monsters. These two would have rocked the novel.
The ending was very satisfying, though ironically, it seemed too short. I wanted to hear more detail because for me, the ending held the entire meaning of the novel.
Though this wasn't my favorite Koontz book, he's still a master story-teller and can still scare you socks off with glimpses into a future that is all too possible.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2012
I don't have a lot of money, so saying that first off should be indicative. I never felt I wasted anything in the expenditure.
Horror is, by it's very existence, fairly formulaic and derivative. Our society makes it so since there are certain pockets of existence that scare us.
Look at the genre and you'll realize that we have certain categories it plays against: The Slasher, Torture-Porn, The Dead Teenager, J-Horror, Ghost Stories...
This book takes a category that's long been ignored since it's so out of fashion, yet is one of my favorites: The good old-fashioned Ghost Story. From there it plays with it.
Here we are not offered any pat answers of origin. It could be a haunting. It could be aliens. It could be the cause of existence primeval...
I've also seen complaints that it shirks scares in lieu of character-studies.
My answer to this is? Caring of character in THIS format is all we got! Lose the interest in individual personalities and there's nothing left: No curiosity. No caring. No pathos...
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. For up for an interesting good read that can leave their pretensions at the door I recommend it highly!