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Showing 1-10 of 261 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 534 reviews
on August 30, 2015
I enjoy Dean Koontz and as retired teacher, I can testify that many non-readers become readers when introduced to his books - especially young men. They are drawn to the struggle of good verses evil and the plot line that suggests some connection to ancient rituals, mystic forces or government misdeeds. His characters are easy to identify with and the heroic nature of the conflict(s) seems to be a good mix for the reluctant reader. I am a dog lover so, of course, he appeals to me. Teachers may want to think about this as YA in some cases, but with parental permission. I found my students like to feel that they are making adult choices when it comes to choosing reading material, but parents are still in the loop. Koontz was my go to for many years and I gave away many copies of his books and got feedback that it turned some students into readers.
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on September 7, 2016
The story starts off with a quick taste of fear and danger, then slows things down with a car ride conversation between two sisters. This is the pattern the author adopts for much of the story; a brief moment of true terror, followed by a long cool down. Characters spend large portions of the story sharing anecdotal stories about themselves as they try to cope with the stress of what’s happening. These backstories help to lull the reader, preparing them for the next fresh scare.

The scares themselves are vivid and well done, with careful attention to graphic details that bring the horror to life.

Unfortunately that’s all the story ever amounts to. At first the rationed scares help to populate every shadow with an unseen threat, but over time it becomes clear that a true attack will only come once an allotted span of time has passed, and some characters cannot die.

To his credit the author makes a valiant effort to make every character feel real, and it is in the characters that this story shines, but the central plot of the novel runs a bit thin. Large portions of the book are spent waiting. The story masterfully manages information, providing just enough o spark new questions, but once the mystery is solved the answer turns out to be simple and rather crude. The resolution feels less like a climax and more like an obligatory cleanup afterwards.

Phantoms is a good demonstration of suspense, but suspense also builds up expectations. The greater the hype around a question, the stronger the answer must be.

+Strong Suspense
+Strong Description
*Complex Characters
*Slow Pacing
-Weak Plot

2/5
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Two sisters are returning to Snowfield California located in a ski area of the mountains. Jenny, the older sister, is a doctor in the small town. When they get there it is strangely quiet. In fact everyone is dead or missing. They have found some mutilated bodies but most of the people and animals are just gone.

They are finally able to contact the police from another town to come help them and the government sends in a biological disaster team to assist. The only clue to the murders is the name Timothy Flyte written on a mirror. Timothy is a scholar who wrote a book about The Ancient Enemy who is a mythological creature whose existence is the speculative cause of mass vanishings of life during ancient history.

Timothy is summoned to the town and an investigation begins to determine the cause of the deaths and missing people....

This story is one of the creepiest and most spine chilling books I have ever read. Dean Koontz can create some terrifying images in his books and this story is a masterpiece of horror. The Ancient Enemy is a sentient creature of immortal age with supernatural powers of survival and predatory capability.

This is one of my favorite books and it is one of the stories that got me addicted to reading Dean Koontz. If you like scary stories then this is the one for you!
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on May 3, 2014
The same scenario happened here which happens with so many Koontz and King books. So often their books start out with a few stunning chapters, clever, scary and promising, preventing the reader from putting the book down. Here, the ancient premise of timeless, Earth-haunting Evil is used, and I was soon drawn into the story. The characterization is excellent, as always with both Koontz and King.

But (and I really mean: this happens with several of their books) it's as if they reach a point where they're not sure where to take their story to: how to end it believably.

I always feel that their books should be edited to be slightly shorter. Although the slowly-unravelling end was scientifically clever, I could eventually no longer suspend my disbelief ... This creature or creatures, or millions-of-years old "thing", was simply too implausible. If this had happened in a science fiction story playing out on an alien planet ... yes, it might be better. Here, on Earth, it was all a bit much.

However, I do like Koontz and I did finish the book. If you have a lively imagination (I do have it too!) you will enjoy it. Even if the last part is a bit hard to swallow.
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on May 9, 2013
This book hooks you from page 1. I downloaded it to my kindle after my son recommended it. He was right. This book is engrossing and creepy and the premise is really cool. I won't spoil it, but it has to do with why there are periodic mass disappearances of entire towns (think Roanoke Island). The characters are endearing, the story moves quickly and the chapters are short. I like that because I usually just read in bed for about 20 minutes to wind down, and that's about how long it takes me to get through a chapter.
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on November 20, 2012
Not all of Dean Koontz's books are of the horror genre. But most of his books have a monster feel to them. He is very good at making humans appear as monsters. His book Intensity scares me immensely. It probably was the first book, and maybe only, that had parts that made me sick to my stomach. It wasn't the gore that made me sick but the acts that one man could do.
Phantoms is more of a science fiction book. A whole town in California has disappeared. Jenny is a doctor who has picked up her sister to bring back to Snowfield, California to live with her after her mother has passed on. The whole town is either dead or missing. Jenny cannot even come up with a cause of death for the bodies they can find. The local Sheriff in Santa Mira is called to come investigate. Lisa and Jenny do not leave because they are unsure if a biological agent or disease has caused all of these deaths.
The first half of this book is truly frightening. You don't know if the devil or a man-made disease has caused the death of a whole town. It truly has a creep factor and at times I was actually scared while reading it. The last half wasn't as scary as the true monster is brought into life. I do not want to give any spoilers to this book so I won't go into that.
This book closely resembles The Mist, which is a 1980 novella by Stephen King. I have not finished this novel but the vibe is kind of equivalent. I think the ending could have been better but overall Phantoms was a very enjoyable read.
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on April 25, 2013
The idea for this story intrigued me years ago, when I heard about the movie. Recently, I came back to it and decided to read it. Note: this is my first Koontz book. I've been reading Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft for years--I'm a big horror buff--and wanted to expand my horizons.

According to one reviewer who said "It took 200 pages to get to the monster," yes, that is true. But damn, does it ever build up to the monster. You don't know what the monster is, or what it's going to look like, or how it did what it's done.

I tried to imagine what the "monster" would be. Boy, was I thrown for a loop. It's quite original, and it ties into certain "facts" about history--mass disappearances. It's actually one of the most creative "monster" concepts I've ever read; and yes, it has a Lovecraftian feel to it. In fact, the word "Lovecraftian" is actually written in the story.

If you love a good monster story that feels real, and could presumebly happen--hell, if you love a good scare, period--stop reading my review and read Phantoms. You won't be sorry.
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on January 31, 2016
There are many Koontz books that I love, including this one now. It's incredibly entertaining and well written; as much as any and more than most of his books I've read to date. I finished it very quickly. Not a boring moment. The heavy supernatural element to this book is great, something I wish the Author would always embrace. Within the last month I've also read Ashley Bell (One of Koontz's newest) and Lightning (another of his classics). Both of which are great, but Phantoms is better! This is why I've been a fan for a decade.
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on November 11, 2012
Forgive me for saying this book completely blew my socks off! It was so enjoyable in so many ways. As a fan of horror and suspense novels this book added another element by linking a physical embodiment of evil with both science fiction and religion. To me Koontz was able to perfectly combine modern day science with religion to create one stunner of a horror/suspense novel.

Some of the reviews of this book I have read say the book can be slow in some areas. I did not find this to be the case whatsoever. Dean Koontz's style of writing makes it impossible to put any of his books down - they are all "page turners." Expect to have a few sleepless nights while reading this book. Both because of how frightening it is and because you just can't put it down. He always leaves me wanting to find out what happens next.

So far, my two favorite books written by Dean Koontz are WATCHERS and PHANTOMS. In that order. Only because to me, PHANTOMS was extemely scary. While I like to be scared, WATCHERS, encompasses to a greater extent the idea that good will conquer evil. In PHANTOMS, the evil is scary, is very realistic and is everywhere!

In summary, buy this book! You won't regret it!
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on June 29, 2015
Amazingly scary. Easily the creepiest of his books I have ever read. I adore it and have for years. It's the kind of book you remember details about years and years later. Typically when you hear a weird gurgling sound coming from the floor drain in the bathroom at work. (Shudders) So in light of this, if you are easily scared maybe pass on this one for now. He has many others that are creepy. But this one takes it to a whole different level. If you love a good scare and haven't read Koontz or this book, in particular, get it, get it now! And have fun staying up all night to finish it! Great, scary fun!​
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