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77 Shadow Streetby Dean Koontz
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/i>/i>
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.
Dean Koontz transcends all expectations as he takes readers on a gripping journey to a place where nightmare visions become real—and where a group of singular individuals hold the key to humanity’s destiny. Welcome to 77 Shadow Street.
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“One of the master storytellers of this or any age.”—The Tampa Tribune
“Koontz writes first-rate suspense, scary and stylish.”—Los Angeles Times
“A rarity among bestselling writers, Koontz continues to pursue new ways of telling stories, never content with repeating himself. He writes of hope and love in the midst of evil in profoundly inspiring and moving ways.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“A master at spinning dark tales . . . Koontz knows how to dial up the terror.”—Associated Press
“Koontz is a superb plotter and wordsmith. He chronicles the hopes and fears of our time in broad strokes and fine detail, using popular fiction to explore the human condition [and] demonstrating that the real horror of life is found not in monsters, but within the human psyche.”—USA Today
“Koontz . . . is a master storyteller and a daring writer. . . . He gives readers bright hope in a dark world.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Dean Koontz . . . has the power to scare the daylights out of us.”—People
“Dean Koontz is not just a master of our darkest dreams, but also a literary juggler.”—The Times (London)
- Random House Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 9.52(w) x 8.52(h) x 1.43(d)
Read an Excerpt
77 Shadow StreetA Novel
By Dean Koontz
Random House Large PrintCopyright © 2011 Dean Koontz
All right reserved.
The North Elevator
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 parlor, where he resisted the advice of the needle artist and, at the age of fifty-eight, acquired his first body decoration.
When Earl strode through the front entrance of the exclusive Pendleton, into the lobby, the night concierge, Norman Fixxer, greeted him by name. Norman sat on a stool behind the reception counter to the left, a book open in front of him, looking like a ventriloquist’s dummy: eyes wide and blue and glassy, pronounced marionette lines like scars in his face, head cocked at an odd angle. In a tailored black suit and a crisp white shirt and a black bow tie, with a fussily arranged white pocket handkerchief blossoming from the breast pocket of his coat, Norman was overdressed by the standards of the two other concierges who worked the earlier shifts.
Earl Blandon didn’t like Norman. He didn’t trust him. The concierge tried too hard. He was excessively polite. Earl didn’t trust polite people who tried too hard. They always proved to be hiding something. Sometimes they hid the fact that they were FBI agents, pretending instead to be lobbyists with a suitcase full of cash and a deep respect for the power of a senator. Earl didn’t suspect that Norman Fixxer was an FBI agent in disguise, but the concierge was for damn sure something more than what he pretended to be.
Earl acknowledged Norman’s greeting with only a scowl. He wanted to raise his newly lettered middle finger, but he restrained himself. Offending a concierge was a bad idea. Your mail might go missing. The suit you expected back from the dry cleaner by Wednesday evening might be delivered to your apartment a week later. With food stains. Although flashing the finger at Norman would be satisfying, a full apology would require doubling the usual Christmas gratuity.
Consequently, Earl scowled across the marble-floored lobby, his embellished finger curled tightly into his fist. He went through the inner door that Norman buzzed open for him and into the communal hallway, where he turned left and, licking his lips at the prospect of a nightcap, proceeded to the north elevator.
His third-floor apartment was at the top of the building. He did not have a city view, only windows on the courtyard, and seven other apartments shared that level, but his unit was sufficiently well-positioned to justify calling it his penthouse, especially because it was in the prestigious Pendleton. Earl once owned a five-acre estate with a seventeen-room manor house. He liquidated it and other assets to pay the ruinous fees of the blood-sucking, snake-hearted, lying-bastard, may-they-all-rot-in-hell defense attorneys.
As the elevator doors slid shut and as the car began to rise, Earl surveyed the hand-painted mural that covered the walls above the white wainscoting and extended across the ceiling: bluebirds soaring joyously through a sky in which the clouds were golden with sunlight. Sometimes, like now, the beauty of the scene and the joy of the birds seemed forced, aggravatingly insistent, so that Earl wanted to get a can of spray paint and obliterate the entire panorama.
He might have vandalized it if there hadn’t been security cameras in the hallways and in the elevator. But the homeowners’ association would only restore it and make him pay for the work. Large sums of money no longer came to him in suitcases, in valises, in fat manila envelopes, in grocery bags, in doughnut-shop boxes, or taped to the bodies of high-priced call girls who arrived naked under leather trench coats. These days, this former senator so frequently felt the urge to deface so many things that he needed to strive to control himself lest he vandalize his way into the poorhouse.
He closed his eyes to shut out the schmaltzy scene of sun-washed bluebirds. When the air temperature abruptly dropped perhaps twenty degrees in an instant, as the car passed the second floor, Earl’s eyes startled open, and he turned in bewilderment when he saw that the mural no longer surrounded him. The security camera was missing. The white wainscoting had vanished, too. No inlaid marble underfoot. In the stainless-steel ceiling, circles of opaque material shed blue light. The walls, doors, and floor were all brushed stainless steel.
Before Earl Blandon’s martini-marinated brain could fully absorb and accept the elevator’s transformation, the car stopped ascending—and plummeted. His stomach seemed to rise, then to sink. He stumbled sideways, clutched the handrail, and managed to remain on his feet.
The car didn’t shudder or sway. No thrumming of hoist cables. No clatter of counterweights. No friction hum of rollers whisking along greased guide rails. With express-elevator speed, the steel box raced smoothly, quietly down.
Previously, the car-station panel—B, 1, 2, 3—had been part of the controls to the right of the doors. It still was there, but now the numbers began at 3, descended to 2 and 1 and B, followed by a new 1 through 30. He would have been confused even if he’d been sober. As the indicator light climbed—7, 8, 9—the car dropped. He couldn’t be mistaking upward momentum for descent. The floor seemed to be falling out from under him. Besides, the Pendleton had just four levels, only three aboveground. The floors represented on this panel must be subterranean, all below the basement.
But that made no sense. The Pendleton had one basement, a single underground level, not thirty or thirty-one.
So this could not be the Pendleton anymore. Which made even less sense. No sense at all.
Maybe he had passed out. A vodka nightmare.
No dream could be this vivid, this intensely physical. His heart thundered. His pulse throbbed in his temples. Acid reflux burned his throat, and when he swallowed hard to force down the bitter flood, the effort brought tears that blurred his vision.
He blotted the tears with a suit-coat sleeve. He blinked at the indicator board: 13, 14, 15. . . .
Panicked by a sudden intuitive conviction that he was being conveyed to a place as terrifying as it was mysterious, Earl let go of the handrail. He crossed the car and scanned the backlit control board for an emergency stop button.
As the car passed 23, Earl jammed a thumb hard against the button for 26, but the elevator didn’t stop, didn’t even slow until it passed 29. Then rapidly yet smoothly, momentum fell. With a faint liquid hiss like hydraulic fluid being compressed in a cylinder, the car came to a full stop, apparently thirty floors under the city.
Sobered by a supernatural fear—fear of what, he could not say—Earl Blandon shrank away from the doors. With a thud, he backed into the rear wall of the car.
In his storied past, as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he had once been to a meeting in the bunker far beneath the White House, where the president might one day try to ride out a nuclear holocaust. That deep redoubt was bright and clean, yet it impressed him as more ominous than any graveyard at night. He had some experience of cemeteries from his earliest days as a state lawmaker, when he had thought that in such lonely places, from earth and graves and dust, no one could be raised up to witness the paying of a bribe. This quiet elevator felt far more ominous than even the presidential bunker.
He waited for the doors to open. And waited.
Throughout his life, he’d never been a fearful man. Instead, he inspired fear in others. He was surprised that he could be so suddenly and completely terrorized. But he understood what reduced him to this pathetic condition: evidence of something otherworldly.
A strict materialist, Earl believed only in what he could see, touch, taste, smell, and hear. He trusted nothing but himself, and he needed no one. He believed in the power of his mind, in his singular cunning, to bend any situation to his benefit.
In the presence of the uncanny, he was without defense.
Shudders passed through him with such violence that it seemed he should hear his bones knocking together. He tried to make fists, but proved to be so weak with dread that he could not clench his hands. He raised them from his sides, looked at them, willing them to close into tight knuckled weapons.
He was sober enough now to realize that the two words tattooed on the middle finger of his right hand could have made his insult no clearer to the clueless third-world patron in the cocktail lounge. The guy probably couldn’t read English any more than he could speak it.
As close to a negative self-judgment as he had ever come, Earl Blandon muttered, “Idiot.”
As the car doors slid open, his enlarged prostate seemed to clench as his fists would not. He came perilously close to peeing in his pants.
Beyond the open doors lay only a darkness so perfect that it seemed to be an abyss, vast and perhaps bottomless, into which the blue light of the elevator could not penetrate. In this icy silence of the tomb, Earl Blandon stood motionless, deaf now even to the pounding in his chest, as if his heart were suddenly dry of blood. This was the quiet at the limit of the world, where no air existed to be breathed, where time ended. It was the most terrible thing he had ever heard—until a more alarming sound, that of something approaching, arose from the blackness beyond the open doors.
Ticking, scraping, muffled rustling: This was either the blind but persistent questing of something large and strange beyond the power of the senator’s imagination . . . or a horde of smaller but no less mysterious creatures, an eager swarm. A shrill keening, almost electronic in nature yet unmistakably a voice, quivered through the blackness, a cry that might have been of hunger or desire, or bloodletting frenzy, but certainly a cry of urgent need.
As panic trumped Earl’s paralyzing dread, he bolted to the control panel, scanning it for a close door button. Every elevator offered such a feature. Except this one. There was neither a close door nor an open door button, neither one labeled emergency stop nor one marked alarm, neither a telephone nor a service intercom, only the numbers, as if this were an elevator that never malfunctioned or required service.
In his peripheral vision, he saw something loom in the open doorway. When he turned to face it directly, he thought the sight would stop his heart, but such an easy end was not his fate.
From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz Copyright © 2011 by Dean Koontz. Excerpted by permission of Random House Large Print, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
The books of Dean Koontz are published in 38 languages, and worldwide sales top 400 million copies. Eleven of his novels have risen to number one on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list, and several have been adapted into feature films and TV miniseries. Dean and Gerda Koontz live in southern California with their golden retriever, Anna, grand-niece of the famous and beloved Trixie.
- Newport Beach, California
- Date of Birth:
- July 9, 1945
- Place of Birth:
- Everett, Pennsylvania
- B.S. (major in English), Shippensburg University, 1966
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I purchased this book even though there seemed to be many people who posted negative feedback about it. I am glad that I did not listen to them. Each story an author writes is always different than the one before it. I have never read a book hoping it will be just like all the others by a writer. The joy of reading is finding a story that is different, one that takes an imagination on a journey. This one does just that. A really good book.
Not up to par for Koontz....and im a big fan. Not enough banter between characters that Koontz is famous for. I found myself just skimming through pages looking for excitement. On the Dean Koontz scale of 1 to 10....I rate 77 Shadow Lane maybe a 5 at most. Sorry......just saying.......
This is the Best Koontz Book since THE FACE ten years ago, (maybe not counting ODD THOMAS). Longer than his recent books, and more detailed (meaning longer and juicier chapters/paragraphs), Koontz piles up characters without ever losing a grip on their intricate stories and relationships, all while building the suspense to a massive crescendo from the very first chapter. He goes for some solid scares with this one, and scores big time after time, right up to the point where this book can be ranked as one of those that can keep a person up late at night with the bedside light on, and "armpits like sweat faucets." I was shocked and chilled as equally as I was delighted and intrigued. I say this is "Classic-Style Koontz" because he goes back to some supernatural thriller/horror roots with this, but then puts his signature "plausible twist" on the whole thing and weaves in a bundle of flawless social themes and commentary, all through great dialogue and internal monologues from his biggest cast of characters since STRANGERS, back in the 80's (or maybe ever). This book is a big accomplishment and should not be missed by any fan of Koontz, from any era of his long and successful career. Hopefully this also signals a shift in direction, and there will be more books like this one to come.
I've read just about everything Dean Koontz has written and have loved them all. What I love about his books besides that they freak you out is his character development. He makes you care about the people in his books because they have such in depth personalities. So, skipping the fact that this book didn't freak me out in the least, I was highly disappointed in the characters. They were all flat and I didn't connect to any of them. I pretty much finished the book because I paid for it and was therefore going to darn well finish it. In "Strangers" Koontz also has multiple characters but in that book he took the time to develop them and you could connect with the many different people in the book. To me this was a waste of my money and I'm so disappointed that he didn't bother to take the time to flesh out the characters. Save your money and hope the next book is back up to his usual standards.
I have been a Dean Koontz fan as far back as The Watcher, and I have only one question about 77 Shadow Street: where is Dean Koontz and what have you done with his word processor? This book is absolutely TERRIBLE!! When I got to page 234 and realized there was still almost another 153 pages to read, I almost screamed. I kept reading, thinking, "This has to get better; this is Koontz!" But, it just never did. There is no cohesion in this book. The device of multiple narrative viewpoints can be often an effective one, but in this case, it just served to pull the story apart. I never knew which character to invest in, interest-wise. I found myself scanning several pages at a time, looking for plot development, engaging dialogue, heck...anything even resembling a plot at all, but to no avail. Instead, I was treated to endless, repetitive exposition. Okay, I GET that the Pendleton was rumbling, I GET that there was weird, almost snakelike stuff growing all over everything that was pulsing and undulating, and (in Sally's case) nasty-flavored. I even get that there is some nasty entity called the One who hates humankind's guts and has something diabolic planned for the world. But pages and pages of the same descriptions, the same thoughts, the same wandering from floor to floor, apartment to apartment while all the while staying clear of the elevator was SOOOOOOO tedious. Even the bad "thing's" periodic riffs on how much it despises our kind left me thinking, "Here we go again...yawn!" Reading this made me think it was sort a cross between the often-remade horror film classic "The Thing" and Stephen King's The Shining, with all the faults and none of the good stuff. The only way a Koontz fan might enjoy this would be if they had partaken of some of those mushroom things that were growing all over the walls of the Pendleton. Do yourself a favor: skip this one and instead, re-read one of your favorite GOOD Koontz's novels. Time much better spent.
I love dean koontz and i adore most of his work, but this one just bored me. There were so many characters that you never really connected to any of them. I ended up skimming most of the second half because i just wasnt interested in the paragraphs of details describing how hideous the creatures were. Definately not what i expected...
Can't believe this is a Koontz book! I have read them all. Would not have anyone else read! Sad!!
I almost didn't buy this book after reading the numerous negative reviews on this web site, but I am SO glad I did! It is quietly terrifying and subtly nuanced with the complexity and consistency of a game of 3D chess. It reminded me over and over of one of my favorite Koontz books, "Seize the Night" (by the way Mr. Koontz, where IS that next Christopher Snow book?). I am astounded by the reviewers who repeatedly said they didn't find it exciting enough. Well, I suppose we are completely over stimulated by today's entertainment. Anything that requires time and thought and reflection doesn't get good press. This book may not be "in your face", but I will long remember many of it's scenes, often in my dreams. Well done, as usual, Mr. Koontz! I can't wait for your next book!
I hope it pained him as much writing this book as it did me reading it.
Nope, can't read this while watching TV, cooking dinner, working on the computer or participating in any other mundane task---you have to focus! If you do, you will find a story that will transport you to the scary scenes of tension, fearful anxiety and astonishing complexity, rooting for the good guys. Hope this makes it to the big screen with its very imaginative environment and astounding but not so crazy concept regarding the 'improvement' of mankind with nanotechnology.
I am a die hard Koontz reader. I have read everything of his. I had a lot of trouble with this book. There were too many characters to follow, and lots of them were not very important to the story. Sure they all played a part, but it was tedious trying to fit them all into the story. The radio couple, the blind guy, the senator, the autistic girl and her mother, the landlord, the girl who works the lobby, the security guards...you could have moved the story without them. The premise was ok. I found myself skipping paragraphs of useless detail about the characters and trying to get back to something, ANYTHING that would further the story. One thing I really dont get is that The Moonlit Mind was advertised as "a taste of what's to come in his new novel 77 Shadow Street" I dont see the correlation between the two. Read if you have to read everything he rights, but skip it if you occasionally enjoy the stuff he writes.
This book is scary. It was scarier than expected. I have read lots of scary books that have not put me on edge the same way that 77 Shadow Street did. Koontz can really write unique stories that keep the reader turning the pages. Yes, the one fault I have with this book is that Dean Koontz can get "wordy." He tends to over-describe which lots of readers hate. It does not ruin the story, but it can be distracting. The book probably deserves a 4 due to the "wordiness" but the abundance of scary moments earns the book a 5.
One of the best books dean has put out. very spooky, and fast paced. must read this one you wont be sorry you did
For Dean Koontz fans this is a good book. You get more characters and he keeps track of them - none fall off the radar at all. He does stress and describe the fungus repeatedly BUT it makes it more realistic to one's mind. The story is futuristic to a degree and I find that interesting. He takes the story full circle so you really don't have any unanswered questions except did they live happily ever after? And for most, this was answered. This is an excellent book - read it when you have time it's not a quick read. While it helps to answer some questions from the short novella it doesn't answer all of them.
I'm not a fan of horror novels but I mostly enjoyed this one. I missed the usual Koontz character development but feel he did well with so many characters involved. I don't hold the number against him because the story takes place in an apartment building with both tenants and staff. For someone who doesn't have children, Koontz writes them beautifully. I loved the social themes and the subtle way he handles them. I also loved the greater page count in this novel. My main criticism is the varied forms of the "monsters"; seemed like he was trying too hard there. Just a couple of variations would have sufficed.
I've read almost every Koontz book written but didn't enjoy this one. Could not get into the characters. Hope his next one is back on this author's track
,i love dean koontz but this was a big misstep for him. He moved more into the "heavy" science fiction/meta-physical area (similar to recent king novels) and it just did not work. No comraderie among the characters, the plot was so convoluted i could barely follow it - but yet it somehow also managed to be not exciting or scary either. Just a miss, all around. A real shame, because koontz is typically great. Just feels like he never had a clear vision for this book.
Never disliked a Koontz book before. Stopped reading at page 256, and it has been months since I tried to start up again. I hate not finishing a book, but this book is not good. Does not have the feel of a Dean Koontz book to me. Very disappointed. Hopefully will start reading it again so can finish. Hopefully will find out it has a great ending but not likely.
I never rate & review a book. But I'm so mad for how much of my time I lost reading this horrible book I had to tell others. I had to skipped so many pages that went on about nothing just to get through it. Worst book I've ever read. I forced myself to read it because I feel guilty not finishing a book, and I kept hoping it would get better. It never did!!! As I said DON'T BOTHER!!!
I'm a huge fan, read all his books (and re-read), and have never posted anything negative about any of them. I didn't hate this book, but I didn't love it either. There are too many characters all doing their own thing for most of it. The story drags until the last quarter of the book. The novella to go with this book was so good, I was expecting a great story, and was disappointed. It was hard to get into the story. The ending was good, but overall just an ok book.
Must read to like
Way too many people are ignorant of the word review on here. Review not preview. Had lots of high marks but didn't think to look at the dates so I guess that's my fault but the only good reviews were before the book was out. Way to give a bad book decent reviews when you've never read it and before it's out. Last Koontz book I'll buy every year same disappointment.
Sadly, I had to "borrow" this from the Amazon site: Product Description 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. Dean Koontz transcends all expectations as he takes readers on a gripping journey to a place where nightmare visions become real-and where a group of singular individuals hold the key to humanity's destiny. Welcome to 77 Shadow Street. Sounds like a good read....had to choose a rating...haven't read it yet (obviously) just wanted to post the correct product description for everybody who's interested.
Best book ever well one of them
I don't know what book the other reviewers were reading ,but I Really liked this story,it does take some getting use to with all the jumplng around ,but well worth it, Great book Koontz does It again as always