Book Review: 77 Shadow Street

77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz

Suggested for Koontz fans, King fans, and other horror lovers.

This is the first Dean Koontz book I’ve picked up in several years. It was somewhat nostalgic. I’ve not been reading as much fiction lately.

This is a horror novel. Not a sci-fi thriller, not a slice-of-life vignette. It’s like taking Elegance of the Hedgehog and injecting it with the DNA from aliens. It reminds me strongly of Phantoms and Strangers.

That being said, I enjoyed the hell out of it.

Taking place in an upscale condo community, 77 Shadow Street has a tight, claustrophobic feel. The perspective is firmly on the residents of the mansion that was remade into expensive condos. The characters, from the autistic Iris and tween boy Winny, to the killer Mike Dime and the brilliant doctor Ingis, are well-drawn and properly contained and constrained by their own stories within the larger plot. Everyone has some challenge to overcome, and they do it in the crucible of a condo house out of time.

Not everyone survives. This is a horror novel and if you can’t stomach some death, don’t even try it. The story builds relatively slowly from an atmospheric creepiness to an out and out terror out of time. Nothing feels overly rushed or as if it moves too slowly.

All in all, I was glad to find that I still enjoyed Mr. Koontz, after the disappointment I’ve felt with other authors I used to devour in high school. A recommended read for horror fans.

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