77 Shadow Street (Unabridged)
by Dean Koontz
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Enter the world of the Pendleton: The original owner became a recluse - and was rumored to be more than half mad - after his wife and two children were kidnapped in 1896 and never found. The second owner suffered a worse tragedy in 1935, when his house manager murdered him, his family, and the entire live-in staff.... Craftsmen and laborers working on renovations disappear or go mad.... For years, the Pendleton is a happy place, until a bad turn comes again.... Voices in unknown languages are heard in deserted rooms, everywhere and nowhere.... Disturbing shadows move along walls but have no source.... Images on security monitors show strange places that exist nowhere in the building or its grounds.... A young boy talks of an imaginary playmate - who turns out to be terrifyingly real.... A figure like a man but clearly inhuman is glimpsed in the courtyard gardens at night and in other locales, perhaps a hoaxer of some kind, seemingly oblivious of those who see it - until it suddenly takes an interest in one of them....
Well *I* liked it.
I almost passed on this book due to its rather lukewarm rating - and that no-one had written any kind of review at the time I bought it. But I’m glad I did get it, and the other review now gives me some inkling maybe as to why others didn’t like it.
I AM a “liberal” - and though science is at the root of the horror in this book, I did not find it political at all. Unforeseen negative consequences of poorly thought-out science is an old and common theme in sci-fi and horror - this is just a classic use of that theme.
“77 Shadow Street” is a melange of classic sci-fi/horror themes. It’s like “Hellraiser” and “The Matrix” get together at the Overlook Hotel. With a bit of time travel tossed in. Its characters are well-drawn, they’re all likable, even the “bad” ones. The book has a high Cree Value, very atmospheric, lots of nightmarish imagery.
The downsides of the book as I see them, are that some people may not be interested in the depth of the character development. Also - (trying to avoid spoiling) - the rough, gruesomeness of the book shuts off rather abruptly, which might make some people, (like me) feel they missed something at the end of it all.
Altogether, I thought it was good. But it seems like I may represent the minority vote of 152 so far. So suit yourself, I found it worth the risk.
Rather than picking apart the book for hidden meanings, political inferences, I listened to the book as read by Peter Birkrot for the pure joy of a good mystery. I found it quite an enjoyable Koontz novel, all 13 plus hours and thought both Dean & Peter brought the story and characters to life. Kudos!
Entertaining for a long drive, but not the greatest ending.
Based on the description of this book, I was expecting more of a horror than a sci-fi story (I'm not much of a sci-fi fan). The plot has elements of both, but the ending was just a bit too sci-fi heavy for me.
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed listening to this during a 23 hour drive. Koontz is a phenomenal writer. One thing readers/listeners should be prepared for is some disturbing content. I recommended this to my dad, and he said he quit less than a quarter of the way into it for that reason.