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The Kolchak Papers: The Original Novels Paperback – November 20, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Moonstone, which has published two collections of short stories and an original novel featuring journalist/supernatural sleuth Carl Kolchak, has reissued the two 1970s novels, in one of which he made his debut. The first, The Night Stalker, chronicles the Las Vegas reporter's first brush with the otherworldly, as his probe into a series of murders convinces him that an actual vampire is responsible. His theorizing, predictably, runs afoul of the local authorities, who seem more concerned with the risk to the tourist trade than solving the crimes. Kolchak's acerbic and cynical first-person narration is engaging, and the action is fast-paced. The second novel, The Night Strangler, which Kolchak creator Rice actually adapted from a Richard Matheson teleplay, is derivative of the first. The venue is now Seattle, but Kolchak, along with most of his supporting cast from Las Vegas, is again butting heads with his superiors and the police as he attempts to track down a killer draining blood from young women. Fans of the cult TV series starring Darren McGavin, as well as its better known successors like "The X-Files," should enjoy the author's blend of horror and humor.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Moonstone (November 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933076291
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933076294
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,584,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By D. O'Dell on December 27, 2007
As soon as I heard that the Kolchak novels were back in print I ordered them. I have been a Nightstalker and Kolchak fan since I was a kid and enjoyed both of these novels, but I could only give this edition three stars because of so many typos. It looks like nobody proofread it before it was published. They must have used a spellcheck on it because the mistakes were spelled correctly, they were just the wrong word, or a word was left out. The mistakes were very distracting and I would catch myself looking for the next mistake instead of just enjoying the book. I don't know if I will be willing to buy another book published by Moonstone.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By JET on November 28, 2007
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I love the fact that these books are back in print but for crying out loud run them by an editor!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Parker on February 24, 2008
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This edition combines the two early short novels by Jeff Rice, the "Night Stalker" and the "Night Strangler". The book is a worthy read and quite entertaining, even though it may tend to veer off a little too far to describe what Kolchak has for dinner or his cover-up gripes (a common theme for our hero).
That being said, the story of a vampire in 1970 Las Vegas is filled with mood and puts the reader firmly in the time and place of Kolchak's journal, and the action is well written and well paced.
Moonstone books have carved a great niche by reviving great pulpy characters from the past such as the Spider, the Phantom and Carl Kolchak,and their library is worth checking out. My two main complaints about this edition though, are the abundance of typos throughout the book as well as the cover design and finish, which are good but do not match the other Kolchak collections by the same publisher, so this edition will not look as good next to it's cousins on your bookshelf.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Genevieve Hayes on February 14, 2009
According to the cover, this book contains both of Jeff Rice's "original" Carl Kolchak novels, "The Night Stalker" and "The Night Strangler". The term "original" is used somewhat loosely in this situation. Although "The Night Stalker" is an original novel (which was ultimately adapted into the TV movie of the same name by Richard Matheson, best known for his novel "I Am Legend"), "The Night Strangler" is, in fact, a novelization based on the second Carl Kolchak TV movie (which also had a script by Richard Matheson). Having said that, even though I usually hate novelizations on principle, "The Night Strangler" is actually the better of the two stories.

Essentially both "The Night Stalker" and "The Night Strangler" have the same plot. In both novels, journalist Carl Kolchak is trying to catch a supernatural serial killer. In the first book, this killer is a vampire operating in Las Vegas, while in the second book, it's a ghoulish creature operating in Seattle. "The Night Stalker", however, is written in a very passive manner (being a journalist, Kolchak is often not involved in the action, but receives reports of it from people whom he interviews), while in "The Night Strangler", Kolchak is more actively involved in the story and the story is a lot faster paced (presumably this is a by-product of its television roots). The stories themselves are interesting enough but nothing great. The original "Night Stalker" was a good idea, but is primarily famous for giving rise to the TV movie and for inspiring Chris Carter who later went on to create "The X Files". I, personally, found Kolchak to be annoying, and the fact that no one ever seems to believe him, in spite of strong evidence, just made me want to hurl the book across the room.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Teller on June 1, 2009
I'm a Kolchack fan from long ago, and appreciate reading the books that started it all, but come on!! The typos and general lack of any editing make it a very distracting read. Please get someone to proofread this before the next edition.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tim Lasiuta on January 18, 2008
Moonstone Books have done a great service to Kolchak fans. The original novels, Night Stalker and Night Strangler, are presented to modern fans as companion pieces to the Moonstone comic line.

They are not perfect, with slightly more than average typographical errors. For modern readers, used to spell check, many of the mis-spellings would slip by. More mature readers will catch them however.

Story-wise, Kolchak is at his best on the streets, investigating the paranormal crimes he fist so well. After reading this, it is clear why Kolchak still has a following today. If you like this, give the comics a try!

Jeff Rice's creation will never die.

Tim Lasiuta

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