Sunday, May 20, 2012

77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz


Synopsis: I am the One, the all and the only. I live in the Pendleton as surely as I live everywhere. I am the Pendleton's history and its destiny. The building is my place of conception, my monument, my killing ground. . . .
 —The Pendleton stands on the summit of Shadow Hill at the highest point of an old heartland city, a Gilded Age palace built in the late 1800s as a tycoon’s dream home. Almost from the beginning, its grandeur has been scarred by episodes of madness, suicide, mass murder, and whispers of things far worse. But since its rechristening in the 1970s as a luxury apartment building, the Pendleton has been at peace. For its fortunate residents—among them a successful songwriter and her young son, a disgraced ex-senator, a widowed attorney, and a driven money manager—the Pendleton’s magnificent quarters are a sanctuary, its dark past all but forgotten.

But now inexplicable shadows caper across walls, security cameras relay impossible images, phantom voices mutter in strange tongues, not-quite-human figures lurk in the basement, elevators plunge into unknown depths. With each passing hour, a terrifying certainty grows: Whatever drove the Pendleton’s past occupants to their unspeakable fates is at work again. Soon, all those within its boundaries will be engulfed by a dark tide from which few have escaped.

My Thoughts: This book was a revisit to Koontz's earlier horror type books which was a nice change of pace from the last few that I've read by him. I don't want to get into the plot of the book because to explain it I'd have to be way too detailed than I want to be at 3am but here are some pluses and minuses of the book...

Minuses---

A lot of characters (this is a big city condo building and this book is about the people in the building....there were close to 20)

Very wordy (one of the characters is a conspiracy theorist...I ended up skipping whole paragraphs when the book was focused on him)

Often times the book read a bit complex to where I was confused and had to back track and read parts again (sometimes whole pages)

Ended with some questions unanswered (however the ending was a plus overall)

Big bad evil creatures had a name that annoyed me (granted that is just a weird quirk of mine)

Pluses---
Interesting characters (not all of them but a large portion) a couple of which had some really good banter between them

Time travel (not a big fan of time travel but the way Koontz carried it out was very interesting)

Ultimately the ending (despite the fact that I still have some unanswered questions) was actually wrapped up nicely. Not too quickly wrapped up and it was quite satisfying.

The book is written in a way that I can only describe as each set of characters having their own television channel and we, the readers, are flipping through the channels which are being broadcasted live as the Pendelton building is going through some crazy stuff. So chapter two might have a heading that says Bailey Hawks then in a few pages it will skip to Winny and Twyla. Does that make any sense? There are also very short chapters scattered through the book italicized and titled as The One. These chapters are from the big bad evil's point of view. I think this way of writing this book was excellent especially with the number of characters involved. We were never wondering whose storyline we were reading about at any given moment.

I do wish the book had been at least 100 pages shorter (this book was hardcover at 450-ish pages) but I honestly don't know what he could have cut (other than some of his more elaborately descriptive passages).

Overall this book was an ok read. I think the build up took a long time despite the creepy happenings. Once I got to page 250 or so it sped up. But that is a long time to wait.

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2 comments:

Chrizette said...

I agree - I have always been a bit Dean Koontz fan and was happy to find this book that seemed to step back to the formula of his earlier books. I love horror :)

Christina said...

I enjoy a good horror now and again too! Besides Stephen King, John Saul is one of my favorites (I tend to enjoy him more than King and Koontz on some days.) I don't read horror that often anymore so I am happy to say I have tons of great books left from all of these authors!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my review!