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Lightning Hardcover – January 12, 1988

4.5 out of 5 stars 765 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Laura Shane leads a troubled life: she is orphaned, nearly molested twice and loses one of her closest friends in a tragic accident, all before her 13th birthday. Even worse events would have befallen Laura if not for the mysterious guardian angel who periodically appears with a bolt of lightning to miraculously rescue her. The "angel," Stefan, is in fact a time traveler who rides the "lightning road" through time to follow Laura throughout her adult life; unfortunately, Stefan himself is being chased through time by a pack of equally mysterious villains, and their pursuit of Stefan and Laura spans the second half of the novel. The secret of the lightning road provides an intriguing mystery early on, but once it is revealed midway through the book as a complicated hybrid of borrowed science-fiction and political-thriller conceits, the narrative runs out of ideas. In the lightning road, Koontz has created the kind of sci-fi puzzle whose convoluted logic must be explained at every turn, and the momentum of the central, fairly standard chase suffers thereby. The drama of an innocent bystander forced by events to run for his or her life is familiar to Koontz readers, but this time he leaves out a vital ingredient; while his evil predators are often his most interesting characters (as in this year's Watchers, or the earlier Whispers), the villains of Lightning tend toward cliches. The reader senses that the author got too caught up in the trick of the lightning, and inadvertently stole the thunder from the rest of this potentially intriguing tale.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

On the night of Laura Shane's birth, a stranger appears from the lightning to prevent her delivery's being botched by an alcoholic physician. Throughout Laura's childhood the stranger reappears at times of danger. He protects rather than threatens, yet menace seems to follow him. Thirty years later another storm flashes and the stranger collapses, shot, at Laura's door. Now Laura protects her erstwhile guardian from mysterious hunters. He reveals that he and the hunters are time travelers. Laura, quick-witted and brave, leads the way to a bloody showdown. The paradox in time travel's tampering with history provides an interesting twist in this gripping thriller by a popular writer. Literary Guild selection.A.M.B. Amantia, Population Crisis Committee Lib., Washington,
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 351 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (January 12, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399133194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399133190
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.3 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (765 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By DanD VINE VOICE on August 5, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Laura Shane has been a haunted woman all her life. From a violent delivery in a stunning thunderstorm, to her mortifying days in the orphanage. Someone has been looking out for her, keeping her safe and out of danger, from the womb...but what are these stranger's intentions? Does he really mean her well? Just where does he come from, and why doesn't he seem to age?

Now, Laura is a happily married woman with a somewhat happy life. But that's all about to change, because now someone has come to kill her...and the stranger, her guardian angel, will expose himself for who he really is. Will Laura believe him? Can she trust him? Will he actually keep her safe this time?

Dean Koontz scores yet again. "Lightning" is a science fiction/suspense/romance thriller to top all others. No one writes like Koontz, no one can hope to write like Koontz, and "Lightning" is a perfect example of his craftsmanship. A rivetting novel that'll leave you glued to the pages and wanting more.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I got two Dean Koontz books for X-mas, because I heard he was a good Suspense/Horror writer, and I was tired of just reading Stephen King. I am sure glad I took a chance on this guy! The first book I read was Intensity, which is still my favorite of the two. The very day I finished that book, I opened up my second gift, Lightning, and got sucked into the characters and the mystery surrounding them. I read this book in about 8 days which is very fast for me, and I had trouble putting it down most nights. Some of the reviews here state that the second half wasn't nearly as good as the first, but I actually liked the second half better. Not only was it more action oriented (I'm a guy!), but it took the time travel ideas to a whole new level that I didn't see coming. Some of the time traveling issues did get so confusing that I found myself re-reading certain sections over again to finally make some sense of it. The characters are fleshed out extremely well, especially Laura and Stefan. I agree that most pre-teen girls and eight-year-old boys are not gonna talk in the manner or the intelligence of these kids, but the dialogue is so amusing I can overlook these minor flaws. Since reading these two novels, I now consider myself a Koontz fan and have bought four more of his most popular novels. If your into Sci-Fi, Action, Drama, Romance, or WWII history, give this novel a try. Its got a bit of everything for everyone. And go read Intensity if you haven't yet. Now it's time for me to start my third Koontz novel, Phantoms.
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I'm a big fan of Dean Koontz, and some people consider LIGHTNING to be one of his best novels. I've seen some people even describe this book as the best Koontz novel ever. I respectfully disagree.

LIGHTNING starts off very well. Laura Shane, the protagonist of the book, is one of Koontz' most likable characters, and her remarkably tough childhood makes her very sympathetic. But she changes pretty dramatically in the second half of the book, and becomes more of an two-dimensional action hero.

The second part of this novel is basically one large chase scene with a lot of shootouts. It's reasonably entertaining, but I didn't feel it measured up to the first half of the book.

I also found much of the dialogue in this book to be remarkably unrealistic, especially from the children. There is an eight-year old child in this novel, for example, who talks like a miniature adult. Koontz injects a lot of humor in the dialogue, but much of it seems forced and unrealistic. I like humor in a novel, but I don't like characters that talk like stand-up comedians.

Again, I love Koontz, and strongly recommend books like WATCHERS, MR. MURDER, INTENSITY, ODD THOMAS, VELOCITY, and THE HUSBAND. This book is reasonably entertaining, but I wouldn't recommend it as your first Koontz novel.

Please keep in mind, though, that some people just adore this novel, so it just shows how tastes can differ. The great thing about Koontz is that not all of his books are the same, so you never know what to expect.
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...and it doesn't stop there! This book is one of the many Koontz books I've read, and it is one of the best. It deals with several issues: time travel, the human emotions, and motivation.
In the midst of it all is an intriguing love-story between a mysterious character--who's always at the right place at the right time!--and the lady who is so innocent of her fate. It is about believing in what can be done, and finding the will to change it, however impossible it may seem.
The book is a success in itself, and luminates many fields of science, too. It demonstrates Koontz's fabulous knack at writing great fiction, even if the book isn't one of his longer novels.
If you don't like this book because you listened to it on audio, wrong choice! You have to read the books. It is completely different in your mind. If you're not a regular Koontz fanatic, try this one on for size, and you'll be hooked.
The characters are excellent, the dialogue is fantastic, and the plot is astounding. It divulges the evils of Man, and what we're capable of.
And about the ending? Well, read it and find out!
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