77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz
Harper Collins (e-book), 2012
BLURB FROM THE COVER
Heart-stopping thriller from the master of suspense. Bad things are starting to happen at the Pendleton, an eerie building with a tragic past.
The Pendleton stands on the summit of Shadow Hill, a palace built in the late 19th century as a tycoon’s dream home. But its grandeur has been scarred by episodes of madness, suicide and mass murder. Since being converted into luxury apartments in the 70s, however, the Pendleton has been at peace. For its fortunate residents – among them ex-marine Bailey Hawk, songwriter Twyla Trahern and her young son Winny – the Pendleton is 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. It seems that whatever drove past occupants to their unspeakable fates is at work again.
As nightmare visions become real, a group of extraordinary individuals hold the key to humanity’s destiny. Welcome to 77 Shadow Street.
Bitter and drunk, Earl Blandon, a former United States senator, got home at 2:15 A.M. that Thursday with a new tattoo: a two-word obscenity in blue block letters between the knuckles of the middle finger of his right hand. Earlier in the night, at a cocktail lounge, he’d thrust that stiff digit at another customer who didn’t speak English and who was visiting from some third-world backwater where the meaning of the offending gesture evidently wasn’t known in spite of countless Hollywood films in which numerous cinema idols had flashed it. In fact, the ignorant foreigner seemed to mistake the raised finger for some kind of friendly hello and reacted by nodding repeatedly and smiling. Earl was frustrated directly out of the cocktail lounge and into a nearby tattoo parlour, where he resisted the advice of the needle artist and, at the age of fifty-eight, acquired his first body decoration.
77 Shadow Street is an example of why Koontz is no longer one of my favourite writers. He’s an uneven writer. He can write great books like Intensity and Mr Murder and he can write some shit like the final three volumes in his Frankenstein series. 77 Shadow Street offers the best and worst of Koontz as a writer. I found the first couple hundred pages of 77 Shadow Street pretty awful. There were too many characters and none of them very well written. Koontz insisted on waffling for pages and pages about the background of each new character that was introduced. Every thought that stumbled through the badly written characters mind appeared on the page. The text was full of clichés and was over-written. The first couple of hundred pages were a jumbled mess. 77 Shadow Street got a lot better when the Pendleton starts to transform into some other sinister world full of monsters and the residents start to mutate and change when they are attacked by various creatures and slithering monsters. I actually enjoyed the last couple of hundred pages. There are some creepy, sad and unsettling moments and the ending is happy without being nauseating. Unfortunately, the first couple of hundred pages are so awful this brings the overall enjoyment of 77 Shadow Street right down. Oh, and 77 Shadow Street has no connection to the novella The Moonlit Mind despite the novella being marketed as a prelude.
314 by A.R. Wise (e-book)