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Night Chills Mass Market Paperback – September 15, 1986

140 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dean Koontz was born in Everett, Pennsylvania, and grew up in nearby Bedford. He won an Atlantic Monthly fiction competition when he was twenty and has been writing ever since. Mr. Koontz's books are published in 38 languages. Worldwide sales total more than 175 million copies, a figure that currently increases at a rate of more than 350 million copies a year. Dean and his wife, Gerda, live in southern California.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (September 15, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425098648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425098646
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Theresa W on March 29, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although this book was written in the 1970's, and during several parts it's obvious (especially when he says, "it's the 70's..."), however the book still stands up fairly well today.
I've read 95% of Koontz's books and have been a huge fan for over 10 years. I tend to enjoy his earlier works more than his later, they're all good, but the earlier books are more of a "fun" read. They're not extremely long and they're really more pure horror. I love it, definitely a guilty pleasure.
Nigh Chills is about a scientist that has discovered a way to brainwash people, to open their minds using subliminal ads and then program them to do what you'd like. The concept is chilling. The story is interesting and you're kept on the edge of your seat most of the time. And the characters are enjoyable. If you're a fan of Koontz's earlier works, you'll enjoy this.
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69 of 76 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 7, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Night Chills is a look into the human mind and what drives it. The novel is about an intelligent man named Ogden Salsbury, a misogynist at the same time, who has developed a drug that, when ingested, will allow him to control a person's mind. With the help of multi-millionaire Leonard Dawson he dumps it into a town's water supply. With one simple phrase he can control whoever drank the water's mind.
I was surprised by this book. There are some extremely startling and disturbing scenes such as when Ogden controls a blond woman named Brenda and forces her to masturbate in front of him. There's also the fact that Koontz develops the villains in this novel more than the good guys. And while that was an intriguing aspect it also hurt the story. I felt like I wanted to root for Paul, the novel's "hero". You certainly want Salsbury to pay for all the people he hurt and killed but there wasn't enough characterization of Paul to actually like him.
There is certainly a lot of sexual material in this book concerning rape and will offend, possibly even repulse, many people. However, for those who can handle the material may find it a thought-provoking, albeit flawed, but still interesting novel about the human psyche.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By T.G. on February 3, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This one is not recommended for the faint of heart. Koontz doesn't hold back on telling what could happen when virtually godlike power falls into the wrong hands. Basically an exploration of how absolute power corrupts absolutely... and there's plenty of explicit corruption detailed herein. The book doesn't end on an "up" note either, like many of Koontz's others -- it's definitely a downer, albeit a highly entertaining one. Although it's one of my personal favorites (and thankfully doesn't involve the supernatural or aliens, a recurring Koontz theme), I'd recommend the typical Koontz fan go into this one knowing that all is most definitely *not* peaches and cream. The "good guys" do win, but the damage is done... and there's no easy-breezy escape via a "touched by an angel" golden dog. Not what I'd call light entertainment, but entertaining nonetheless.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Will Culp on August 19, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
(Actual Rating- 4.5 Stars)

Night Chills(1976). A Novel By Suspense/Thriller Writer Dean Koontz.

In the Late-50's, many companies experimented with the use of subliminals to make people go out and buy their products. While a big controversy at the time, the public soon forgot about it, yet, to this day, companies still use subliminal advertising to try and get people to buy their products. Although subliminals aren't visible to your conscious mind, your sub-conscious mind fully comprehends the hidden messages, and almost on instinct, 70% of the time the person will buy that product. Although the ads never technically "forced" anybody to buy the product, Dean Koontz explores in 'Night Chills' the scary possibility that someone could use subliminals to the point of total mind control. Since I was intrigued by the original and disturbing storyline, I decided to pick up 'Night Chills'. So, much like Koontz's other novels, was 'Night Chills' a masterpiece or a sorry state of affairs? Read on to find out!


In the peaceful logging town of Black River, population 400, things are about to get out of hand. Scientist Ogden Salsbury, after discovering a drug, that combined with subliminals, can induce total mind control, hurriedly seeks out millionare Leonard Dawson to be his partner in taking over the world. To test the drug, they choose to wreak havoc on the peaceful town of Black River. After putting the *mind-control* drug in the town's water supply and exposing the townspeople to a TV show filled with subliminals, Salsbury goes in to see if he can control the townspeople. With just the mention of the code-phrase "I am the key", he unlocks the townspeople's minds to his every wish, and they can't help but go along.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jessie on August 29, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was Dean Koontz number 21 for me. Hideaway was my first, but Intensity will always be my favorite. Night Chills is about a single father named Paul Appendale who's vacationing in the small village of Black Water with his young son Mark and his daughter Rya. Little do they know that three power hungry men are testing mind control methods on the town by using subliminal messages in television programs and even junk mail. These men can control and manipulate anyone in town with the simple phrase, "I am the key." Needless to say their intentions are anything but good, and in the case of one of the men, perverse.

When Rya runs into a family friend commiting a brutal murder, the truth finally comes out and as the only ones unaffected by the subliminal messages, it's up to the Appendale's, Paul's girlfriend Jenny Edison, and her father Sam to find these men and put a stop to their terrifying abuse of power.

One thing I like about Koontz is that 95% of the time (with the exception of Intensity), he gives information as to the history of the villians, as to how the grew up to be the people they are now. He can take seemingly one dimensional horrifying monsters and let us peak into what makes them tick; what changed them into the people they are today.

Night Chills is not one of my favorites, and in fact, I gave up and had to come back to it once or twice. But it is, like all of Koontz's books that I've encountered so far, an enjoyable read. It's definetely on the lower end of my favorites list, but those on the bottom are still good reads.

My top favorites from Koontz would be INTENSITY, WATCHERS, WHISPERS, and THE VOICE OF THE NIGHT.
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