4.4 338
by Dean Koontz, Peter Marinker

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A bolt of lightning brings a blond-haired stranger into Laura Shane's life. But is he the guardian angel he seems? The devil in disguise? Or the master of a haunting destiny beyond time and space?


A bolt of lightning brings a blond-haired stranger into Laura Shane's life. But is he the guardian angel he seems? The devil in disguise? Or the master of a haunting destiny beyond time and space?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Since the night she was born, Laura Shane has been continually saved by a mysterious guardian who appears and disappears without a trail. Through the years, these random encounters prove more and more life-threatening, sending Shane down a dark path to which her savior, Stefan, has unintentionally led her and her family. But as Shane realizes "when" not "where" Stefan is from, she must scramble for her life as her enemies seek her out. Her only hope is in the knowledge that when lightning strikes, her enemies are near. Koontz isn't the first author to incorporate lightning with time travel, but he certainly shines new light on the subgenre of time travel. Koontz's 1988 novel gains new life in this unabridged production. Christopher Lane captures listeners with a stern and serious voice that can still lighten up, especially when voicing Shane's son, Chris, or other colorful characters. Lane's vocalizing of characters proves impressive, authentic and even amusing for everyone but Shane, whose voice is adequate but fades in comparison to the other characters. Regardless, Lane's narration improves upon the book by adding a tonal edge that will keep listeners' attention throughout all 14 hours. (May)

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Laura Shane leads a troubled life: she is orphaned, nearly molested twice and loses one of her closest friends in a tragic accident, all before her 13th birthday. Even worse events would have befallen Laura if not for the mysterious guardian angel who periodically appears with a bolt of lightning to miraculously rescue her. The ``angel,'' Stefan, is in fact a time traveler who rides the ``lightning road'' through time to follow Laura throughout her adult life; unfortunately, Stefan himself is being chased through time by a pack of equally mysterious villains, and their pursuit of Stefan and Laura spans the second half of the novel. The secret of the lightning road provides an intriguing mystery early on, but once it is revealed midway through the book as a complicated hybrid of borrowed science-fiction and political-thriller conceits, the narrative runs out of ideas. In the lightning road, Koontz has created the kind of sci-fi puzzle whose convoluted logic must be explained at every turn, and the momentum of the central, fairly standard chase suffers thereby. The drama of an innocent bystander forced by events to run for his or her life is familiar to Koontz readers, but this time he leaves out a vital ingredient; while his evil predators are often his most interesting characters (as in this year's Watchers, or the earlier Whispers), the villains of Lightning tend toward cliches. The reader senses that the author got too caught up in the trick of the lightning, and inadvertently stole the thunder from the rest of this potentially intriguing tale. (January)
Library Journal
On the night of Laura Shane's birth, a stranger appears from the lightning to prevent her delivery's being botched by an alcoholic physician. Throughout Laura's childhood the stranger reappears at times of danger. He protects rather than threatens, yet menace seems to follow him. Thirty years later another storm flashes and the stranger collapses, shot, at Laura's door. Now Laura protects her erstwhile guardian from mysterious hunters. He reveals that he and the hunters are time travelers. Laura, quick-witted and brave, leads the way to a bloody showdown. The paradox in time travel's tampering with history provides an interesting twist in this gripping thriller by a popular writer. Literary Guild selection.A.M.B. Amantia, Population Crisis Committee Lib., Washington, D.C.
From the Publisher
Praise for Lightning

"Brilliant…a spine-tingling tale…both challenging and entertaining."-The Associated Press

"Mr. Koontz quickly grabs the reader's attention…There are enough imaginative twists here, along with likable characters, to win him new fans and please old ones."-The New York Times

"Romance, action, and suspense…holds the reader through the sheer momentum."-The Washington Post

"Crackles with excitement from beginning to end…impossible to put down."-The Orlando Sentinel

"A master of terror…a page-turning thriller. The twists and turns are titillating, exciting and combined with surprises that make for a good read."-The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Thought-provoking fun and pulse-pounding thrills."-The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Lightning sizzles. Wow! It's a mix to tingle any reader's fancy."-New York Daily News

From the Paperback edition.

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Abridged Audio, 2 cassettes, 3 hrs.
Product dimensions:
4.53(w) x 7.05(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Dean Koontz is the author of more than a dozen New York Times No. 1 bestsellers. His books have sold over 500 million copies worldwide, a figure that increases by more than 17 million copies per year, and his work is published in 38 languages. He was born and raised in Pennsylvania and lives with his wife Gerda and their dog Anna in southern California.

Brief Biography

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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Lightning 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 338 reviews.
Country_Boy9 More than 1 year ago
My Mom let me read this book (after she read it first) when I was twelve years old. This was back in '89. I've been, like a lot of people who've reviewed this book, a loyal Dean Koontz reader ever since. For sentimental reasons, because this was my first book of his, it still ranks as my favorite. This story has everything. Dean Koontz created characters that have endured over all the years. I can still recite the cast and lines from memory after all this time. Mostly because I've re-read it dozens of times, literally. This period of time, for me, represents Dean Koontz best writing. I'm still loyal after all these years and I still read all of his new books as soon as they come out. However, his novels from the 80's and early 90's are the ones I always go back to when I'm looking to pass the time with a good book. They are as comfortable as being around a good friend. Lightning started it all for me. Thank you Dean Koontz.
angeleyesAS More than 1 year ago
This book is an all-nighter, thoroughly engaging, enchanting, riveting, thought-provoking, heart-wrenching, and heart-racing. This one keeps you guessing throughout with many unexpected surprises and witty humor. Koontz is dealing with the here and now, on the border between real and science-fiction. Some of his concepts are not easy to grasp but the powerful, enticing and mind-boggling suspense will keep your eyes glued to the pages. This is a clever story of time travel and romance, of a German scientist in WWII, who has, along with his comrades, perfected time travel in order to see who will win the war. It starts with a flash of lightning, where a doctor, overly indulging his intake of scotch, receives a phone call from the hospital, informing him that a baby is ready to be delivered. The intoxicated doctor is grabbed by a handsome stranger and is tied up to prevent him from arriving at the hospital. Laura is born successfully but loses her mother. Years later, lightning flashes again where the reader meets a young Laura and her father who run a small convenience store, being held at gunpoint by a robber. Suddenly, the same handsome stranger appears and saves the day. Hmmmmm! Sound interesting? The evil of Man, and what Man is capable of is frightening. This story is gripping and action-packed; the characters are believable and engaging; there is love, passion and dedication. Thoroughly entertaining!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was my first Dean Koontz novel that I ever read. My brother had read it before me and when I read it, I labeled it as my favorite and still do. To anyone who had never read Dean Koontz's novels before, this is the first one I reccommend right away. The feelings it extracts from its readers is phenomenal - my eyes have welled up at parts, a smile presides at others. An anger with the need for the justice for Laura Shane's hard life is forever present as she takes one hit after another. The way Stephan helps her through the course of the book is genuinely heartfelt and you can't help but love the man for it. I've read Lightning many times and I never get tired of it. It's a great place to start and it will hook you in right away.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been a Dean Koontz fan for many years, after an older brother told me that Koontz was his favorite mystery/suspense/sci fi author, and lent me a few of his paperbacks. I now own and have read practically everything Dean Koontz has written, and I can't name a book by him I didn't enjoy. In my opinion, his strength is more in how he begins (rather than ends) a story, capturing the reader quickly & completely with vivid descriptions of people and events that put you in the midst of the action. Koontz does come on strong with "Good vs. Evil" in many endings, but this doesn't alter my ranking of him as #1 in his genre. And of the few dozen Koontz books, "Lightning" may be the best story of all. I'm not the type who rereads books, but with his "Lightning" novel, every few years I feel the urge to read it again....if only I could find it in hardcover.
just_b_n_real More than 1 year ago
My all time favorite book. Have read this story twice, and will read it again. It's that good. Interesting characters, great plot twists, must read to the end. Also recommend dean Koontz's cold fire. It's a close second.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this book many years ago and was instantly enthralled with it. A unique take on time travel that was refreshing. A good read and reread.
mollieme More than 1 year ago
It took me a few tries to get into this book, but once you read it, it really sticks with you. I first read this book years ago, and several time over the years. It's one of my go to books when I need to read. Read it, I hope you like it. One of Koontz best books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read hundreds of books and this one is still in my top five. I could not put it down. I highly recommend this book. Not scary, but it is so thrilling. Set aside time because you may not be able to put it down. Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I haven't read many Koontz books, but so far from what I've read they've not been as good as I thought they would be. First I read the Taking, which I'll admit was interesting, but seemed to stall half way through. Next I read the Husband, which I liked a lot. I tried to read "In the Light of the Moon" after that, but found that after about 70 pages I was bored out of my mind, and I just couldn't find the spirit to finish it (And usually I don't mind boring reads). So after quitting that book I decided to give one of his older books a try. I heard great praise for this one, people called it his best. So naturally when I saw it for a dollar at a garage sale I picked it up. The first 200 pages were awesome. They told the tragic story of Lauras life, the characters were vivid and believable, and they were mysterious, you wanted to read on, you wanted to find out why the "angel" had picked Laura in the first place (BY THE WAY, SPOILER'S AHEAD!!!!!!!!)When Koontz described Lauras father you knew he was a kind loving man, when he wrote of the orphanage and the eel you were disgusted, you grew attached to the character. The height of the goodness of the book was when Laura married the awkward Danny, you could really sense love there, it was smart and clever. (AGAIN, SPOILERS!!!!) But when Danny died it all went down hill from there. Perhaps by the 250th page the book is nothing but shoot-outs and complicated time travel jargon from there on. As soon as Danny dies, Koontz seems to take the heart and wonder out of the story, turning it into nothing more but a shoot-out piece of fiction. And the secret to Laura and her importance with Stefan? Absolutely nothing, It turns out that Stefan is just a time traveler (from Nazi Germany of all places)who, when jaunted back in time, encountered Laura signing her books in a store, and fell in love. That was probably the biggest upset of the book itself, how Laura had no destiny (Unless you count as helping kill the nazis as destiny, which Stefan did the most of anyways.) In the first could hundred pages you feel like she's mystic, important in the future of the world, but really she wasn't. After the 200 pages it all turns into a big overwinded bore-fest, and I never thought a shoot out could be boring, but Koontz makes it that way. What I've found with the other books by him which I've read (which isn't enough to givve up on him entirely) is that he can very easily get bogged down in the details, instead of keeping it simple, he tells everything, the type of plants at the sight, the temperature, everything (By the end of this book I was so tired of hearing about plants and the desert). Instead of concentrating on the story alone, Koontz seems to try and squeeze every little detail out of everything, in the end the action is very minimal, but is described in way to much detail. The thoughtfullness and care for the characters were totally abandoned after the infamous apex of the book. Characters that I used to like seemed cardboard to me. The whole time travel thing seemed worn out, and the loopwholes in his explanation of it were huge (That of course is common in all time travel literature, but was ridiculous in this particular case). But there were good things about the book, besides the first two hundred pages (after the overblown action sequence occupying most of the middle) the rest of the book wasn't terrible. The last thirty pages are okay, the ending is a happy one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lightning is an unbelievably good book! I couldn't believe how fast I read that one. I stayed up well into the morning to keep on reading, and I have to say that Lightning is definitely one of the better Dean Koontz books--even though each and every one of them are out of this world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been an avid fan of Koontz for the past few months when my mom introduced Lightning. At first, I couldn't wait to toss it by looking at the back, but once I got into the book, it wasn't one I could put down. I took it to school with me as much as I could, and got caught several times reading it. I stayed up late hours with a flashlight reading it, and got in trouble. When I finished it, I couldn't wait to move onto the next Koontz book. I have read his others, and they would also recieve some of the top scores. Keep up the good work Dean Koontz!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lightening Is a sci-fi thriller that is one for the record books. It is the story of a German scientist in WWII, who has, along with his comrades, perfected time travel. So he and several others make many jaunts into the future, to see who will win the war. Stefan, however, is a traitor. He hates Hitler with a passion. On one of his travels, he sees a crippled author. So he begins to make several jaunts into her past, so that he can save her. Soon, he is discovered. SS man are sent after the girl and Stefan. This is a great book that combines thrills with suspense. The plot is thick, and secritive. By the end of the book, you fell like you personally know the characters. I would recommend this book to all sci-fi and thriller readers. This is one of Koontz's best books.
Anonymous 4 days ago
Anonymous 6 months ago
Knocks on the door. "I wonder who was yelling."she said to herself.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Dead. XD
Anonymous 6 months ago
Oh wait, no, you didn't, because your dirty mind is filled with nothing but dirt.
Anonymous 6 months ago
My second time around after years, still great
Anonymous 7 months ago
Well done Dean Koontz. Have not read every book but am a long time fan of this author. I was telling my husband last evening that it was different than other stories I'd read by Koontz but I was enjoying the time travel aspect and the two time periods. Some of the time travel concepts were difficult for me to follow, so I felt like Laura in this aspect; thank goodness she had Chris. Not the best book I've ever read, but right up there. -JDL
Anonymous 9 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Started of sloe then it got good and it kept me reading then once again slow. It wasn't suspenful like his usual books
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another awesome book by Dean Koontz.
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