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Phantoms by Dean Koontz

Phantoms (original 1983; edition 2002)

by Dean Koontz

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2,687312,208 (3.69)31
Authors:Dean Koontz
Info:Berkley (2002), Edition: Reissue, Mass Market Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library

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Phantoms by Dean Koontz (1983)



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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
This is one of my favorite books that I read years and years ago. Every summer in junior high and high school I would hit the yard sales and the one used book store we had in town to buy horror novels. I'd spend the entire summer reading Koontz and King and any other ghost, goul, vampire book I could find.

Phantoms, the first time I read it, scared me so badly I couldn't sleep! I would start reading around midnight and not be able to fall asleep until 3 a.m! I passed the book around to a few friends and we chuckled to ourselves at how scared we were after reading it.

I saw the book again at the bi monthly Gainesville Book Sale sale (sorry for the double whatever), and I had to buy it. I read through that book like there was no tomorrow. And yeah, while the creepy factor isn't as strong at 34 as it was at 17, it did give the me the heebie jeebies.

Phantoms is basically a theory about what causes mass disappearances such as the Roanoke Colony. Stephen King did something similar with The Storm of the Century mini-series. But both come back to a basic theory: there is evil in the world and that evil destroys. Phantoms the evil is a biological creature that is eons old. It kills by absorbing life: mammals, insects, anything. And it learns from what it absorbs. The more it absorbs, the more it learns. Except that after it absorbed the hundreds and thousands of people it has absorbed over the years it never did learn compassion or mercy. It only learned more about death and torture.

It's a great summer read (I'm in Florida, it's almost summer so might as well get my summer reads on), great beach read. And be sure to only read it at night when you'll get the biggest creep out! ( )
  wendithegray | May 1, 2017 |
It could be anything.

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 ( )
  adamg211 | Sep 7, 2016 |
I read this book when I was 13 and it gave me nightmares, lol. It was my first Dean Koontz book and I waited till high school before I read anymore. However, I love his writing and this is still one of my all time favorites. ( )
  gloryfindel | Jun 15, 2016 |
If there is a person out there that would not find this book eerie, I'd be surprised.

Koontz writes fiercely here, keeping the sentences devoid of overabundant words and pretty phrases. Instead he just delivers the goods, action from page one. His writing style is not overdrawn, but instead is kept minimal to complement the story alone.

The villain is frightening, complex, and powerful. There's enough imagination and depth to it that it stays with you after the last page has been closed. Supporting characters seem real and are easy to care about. They don't chase their tails attempting daring, stupid moves, but instead seem to be genuinely driven. There are slight cliches here and there in terms of characterization, but only obvious cliches where they deserve (and are expected) to be, nothing cheap.

This is one of those books where if you're reading through it, it's hard to imagine how on earth the strings can be tied together to make sense at the end, but somehow Koontz accomplishes this. It's all wrapped up in a satisfying way, and the road on which I traveled to get there was exquisite. The plot is as complex as its villain, each character keeping it flowing instead of weighting it down, the heart and soul of the novel always kept alive by a steady supply of imagination and intrigue.

Filled to the top with suspense, horrid imagery, truly bizarre and horrifying deaths, gory details, a pure mystery, science and intelligence, well-drawn out fear and even small glimpses of hope, this is a horror book that EVERY horror reader owes it to themselves to read. Koontz really made a name for himself, and this is one of the works that accomplished that feat.
( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
9.2, graded by jscomics
  howie | Aug 28, 2015 |
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Fear came upon me, and trembling.
The Book of Job, 4:14
The civilized human spirit ... cannot
get rid of a feeling of the uncanny.
Dr. Faustus, Thomas Mann
This book is dedicated to
the one who is always there,
the one who always cares,
the one who always understands,
the one like whom there is no other:


my wife and my best friend.
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The scream was distant and brief.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0425181103, Mass Market Paperback)

The lights are on in Snowfield, California, a cozy ski village nestled in the Sierra Madres, but nobody seems to be home. When Dr. Jenny Paige returns to the small town, she finds tables set for dinner, meals being prepared, and music playing in living rooms, but there's no trace of the people who put the water on to boil or set an extra place for company at the dinner table. As she explores the town, Paige finds friends and neighbors felled by a mysterious force--the bodies show no visible signs of violence or disease, and no known plague kills victims before the ice in their dinner drinks has time to melt. But the deep quiet that surrounds her offers few clues about the fate of the town's inhabitants. Dean Koontz's Phantoms strikes fear in readers from the very beginning. The mystery deepens, paving the way for a chilling journey toward the truth. If you plan to catch the film version, starring Ben Affleck and Peter O'Toole, remember that you'll be experiencing this terrifying story in a dark theater. So bring an arm to grab!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:01 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

When 300 residents of the little town of Snowfield, California, disappear and 150 others die suddenly, a doctor and a dedicated county sheriff, aided by government authorities and scientists, pursue the terrifying mystery.

(summary from another edition)

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