Newest Review: ... hopes in this offer from Koontz. ***77 SHADOW STREET*** The Pendleton stands as an icon to one man's determination and indulgence in ar... more
That dog loving Pennsylvanian has properly wound me up
77 Shadow Street - Dean Koontz
Member Name: Stewwydablue
77 Shadow Street - Dean Koontz
Advantages: It starts off well
Disadvantages: A poor offering from someone who can be so good
Somehow, I've decided to read every Dean Koontz book ever written. It's been a journey with highs and lows, a bit like being a Man City fan from 1978 until the present day - there's been long periods of mundane, uninspiring dourness (the Alan Ball years or Koontz's Demon Seed) peppered with the odd flash of genius (THAT Aguero goal or Koontz's The Watchers). This book, 77 Shadow St is a bit of mid table mediocrity (the Sven years or Breathless). I'll try to back this up below.
On Shadow Hill stands the Pendleton, a converted 19th century mansion now serving as luxury appartments. There is a variety of characters living within, all with their own back story and all are thrown together into adversity when strange things begin to happenin a single night.
The source of these strange things seems to be an old volcanic vent hole buried in the building's basement - a vent hole that is somehow also acting as a doorway to the supernatural underworld. As the events of the night get more sinister, the residents are picked off liked spots on a teenager's face. Apparitions become more real, the walls start to talk, rooms go back in time and past residents of the Pendleton are seen as they were more than a hubdred years ago.
Do all the residents make it through the night? What or who exactly is behind the supernatural and scary events?
I enjoyed the book in the same way that I would enjoy driving home from the dentist - acutely aware that I've just been through a bad experience but relieved when it has finally finished and the sound of the dentist's drill has finished ringing in my ears and the last page of the book was read. I despair sometimes with Dean Koontz - he's either brilliant or so bad I wonder if he's writing parodies of his own work as an intellectual exercise.
The book actually started off well and I thought quite a few times how different and fresh this felt as a relatively new book (2011) compared to his older books, which are often stuck in a formulaic rut going back some 20 years or more. I was kept interested by the different characters covered in the early chapters as I knew something was going to happen that would tie them all together, and I was eager to find out exactly what that would be.
When the part of the plot was developed that revealed what the house was doing, there were too many unanswered questions for me to keep it credible. Don't get me wrong, I know this particular story has a large dash of fantasy in the mix (some might say science fiction, but that's a matter of opinion) but even so there wasn't much to the storyline that I could believe in.
Also, what could have been a killer blow as a finale was more of a limp-wristed slap which served to be a rusty nail in a sub-standard coffin - think MDF rather than Brazillian Ebony and solid iron bolts. The public spirited side of me is itching to reveal the ending so that others don't have to endure its ludicrous climax. What it did reveal to me was, sadly, that Mr Koontz has lost his mojo and perhaps I should stop reading any more of his books - my therapist does say that I don't handle disappointment very well. Perhaps my expectations would have been better managed if the book had been advertised as a mildly spooky farce rather than the sinister scare fest I was expecting.
A below average book deserves a below average score, 2 stars. No more.
Summary: A bit of a stinker from Mr Koontz