77 Shadow Street review

I have completed this book and before I start my review, let me share what Goodreads says about it:

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.

I was so excited to get this book and start reading it.  The anticipation over its release had made me sure, positive, that it would be written by Koontz-of-Old instead of the New-and-Improved-Koontz.  You may ask me what the difference is between the two…well, let me see if I can explain.

My favorite books of Koontz are “Watchers”, “Whispers”, “Phantoms”, “Midnight”, etc.  These were all books that were spooky and quick on the action.  He did not spend numerous pages describing things that took one’s focus off the storyline.  I understand he does it to bring the reader more into his world – we can understand each character’s intimate life which I suppose is to make us feel like we know them.  The first books, before he improved himself, were full of action, fun and supernatural.  These are the types of books I loved and was hoping beyond hope that this one was like that.  Sigh.

Let me say the book is NOT horrible by any means but he does jump from character to character a lot – sometimes having 50 or more pages elapse before you find out what was going on with the person who was in the grips of the demon.  It was all delayed, drawn out and involved.

At first I thought it would be more like the Shining but it wasn’t.  I think Koontz kind of meant it to be but if lacked the eeriness of the Shining.  The writing is good, every room in the building is seared to your brain not only because he describes them (both current and how they looked 35 years earlier) but because he also has floor plans so you can really get the essence of the place.

I am sure there are those that will herald this as a great masterpiece and maybe it is.  But I am a simple reader who enjoys simple things.  This book was at the extreme opposite of “simple” on the complexity scale.  By the middle, I felt I was plodding through with no hope of seeing the ending.

However, just because the book did not impress me, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good story.  Though Koontz has slipped further down on my top 100 authors list, I still list him in the top 20.

Because this book repeatedly drowned me in extraneous details, I give it a C.


9 thoughts on “77 Shadow Street review

  1. Well, there went that book purchase. I don’t like the New Koontz, either. I’m more of a Lightening kind of gal.

  2. Thank you! I thought I was alone in not liking the New, ‘look for ‘heavenly’ peace and message in this book’ Koontz. I got hooked on his books when I first read ‘Lighting’ & ‘Watchers’. When I see that there is a new novel, I am not longer excited, but sad, because I just KNOW it will be more of the same ‘New Koontz’ junk.

  3. ‘Watchers’ and ‘Lightning’ are 2 of my favourite books. For years I kept buying Dean Koontz books even though I’d pretty much stopped enjoying them – hoping beyond hope as you say. No more! I also really dislike Koontz’s new writing style, (so tedious) and I’ve crossed him off my favourite author list completely.

  4. I’m just about halfway through and I’m contemplating just pitching it. The last 50 pages I’ve read have been nothing but tedium. It reminds me of the third in the series of Frankenstein books. Squishy, ugly creatures coupled with characters that are fairly one dimensional. I don’t think I’ll take another chance on Koontz – there just isn’t another Watchers in his arsenal.

  5. I totally agree with what everyone has written. I will not be buying anymore of Dean Koontz books. 😦

  6. I am not a Koontz fan. However, the man is a literary classic and this book is of his better tributes. I loved it.

  7. I have long been a faithful fan, but something is going wrong . . .Long long long rambling descriptions that sometimes feel they are written because they seem clever. I found the same fault with the later Odd Books.

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