Phantoms

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A tale of an abandoned town and the unimaginable truth behind its silence...

Now with a new afterword, Dean Koontz explains the impact Phantoms had on his career.

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Overview

A tale of an abandoned town and the unimaginable truth behind its silence...

Now with a new afterword, Dean Koontz explains the impact Phantoms had on his career.

Read More Show Less

What People Are Saying

Stephen King
Phantoms is gruesome and unrelenting. It has atmosphere, character, and story. I couldn't put it down until I was done. It was well-realized, intelligent, and humane.
From the Publisher
Phantoms is gruesome and unrelenting…It’s well realized, intelligent, and humane.”—Stephen King

“Scary and stylish.”—Los Angeles Times

“Stunning. Phantoms is an instant classic.”—Chicago Sun-Times

“Koontz has outdone himself.”—Philadelphia Daily News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399126550
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/1983
  • Pages: 352

Meet the Author

Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.

Biography

He is one of the most recognized, read, and loved suspense writers of the 20th century. His imagination is a veritable factory of nightmares, conjuring twisted tales of psychological complexity. He even has a fan in Stephen King. For decades, Dean Koontz's name has been synonymous with terror, and his novels never fail to quicken the pulse and set hearts pounding.

Koontz has a lifelong love of writing that led him to spend much of his free time as an adult furiously cultivating his style and voice. However, it was only after his wife Gerda made him an offer he couldn't refuse while he was teaching English at a high school outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that he had a real opportunity to make a living with his avocation. Gerda agreed to support Dean for five years, during which time he could try to get his writing career off the ground. Little did she know that by the end of that five years she would be leaving her own job to handle the financial end of her husband's massively successful writing career.

Koontz first burst into the literary world with 1970's Beastchild, a science fiction novel that appealed to genre fans with its descriptions of aliens and otherworldly wars but also mined deeper themes of friendship and the breakdown of communication. Although it is not usually ranked among his classics, Beastchild provided the first inkling of Koontz's talent for populating even the most fantastical tale with fully human characters. Even at his goriest or most terrifying, he always allows room for redemption.

This complexity is what makes Koontz's work so popular with readers. He has a true gift for tempering horror with humanity, grotesqueries with lyricism. He also has a knack for genre-hopping, inventing Hitchcockian romantic mysteries, crime dramas, supernatural thrillers, science fiction, and psychological suspense with equal deftness and imagination. Perhaps The Times (London) puts it best: "Dean Koontz is not just a master of our darkest dreams, but also a literary juggler."

Good To Know

Shortly after graduating from college, Koontz took a job with the Appalachian Poverty Program where he would tutor and counsel underprivileged kids. However, after finding out that the last person who held his job had been beaten up and hospitalized by some of these kids, Koontz was more motivated than ever to get his writing career going.

When Koontz was a senior in college, he won the Atlantic Monthly fiction competition.

Koontz and Kevin Anderson's novel Frankenstein: The Prodigal Son was slotted to become a television series produced by Martin Scorsese. However, when the pilot failed to sell, the USA Network aired it as a TV movie in 2004. By that time Koontz had removed his name from the project.

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Koontz:

"My wife, Gerda, and I took seven years of private ballroom dancing lessons, twice a week, ninety minutes each time. After we had gotten good at everything from swing to the foxtrot, we not only stopped taking lessons, but also stopped going dancing. Learning had been great fun; but for both of us, going out for an evening of dancing proved far less exhilarating than the learning. We both have a low boredom threshold. Now we dance at a wedding or other celebration perhaps once a year, and we're creaky."

"On my desk is a photograph given to me by my mother after Gerda and I were engaged to be married. It shows 23 children at a birthday party. It is neither my party nor Gerda's. I am three years old, going on four. Gerda is three. In that crowd of kids, we are sitting directly across a table from each other. I'm grinning, as if I already know she's my destiny, and Gerda has a serious expression, as if she's worried that I might be her destiny. We never met again until I was a senior in high school and she was a junior. We've been trying to make up for that lost time ever since.

"Gerda and I worked so much for the first two decades of our marriage that we never took a real vacation until our twentieth wedding anniversary. Then we went on a cruise, booking a first-class suite, sparing no expense. For more than half the cruise, the ship was caught in a hurricane. The open decks were closed because waves would have washed passengers overboard. About 90% of the passengers spent day after day in their cabins, projectile vomiting. We discovered that neither of us gets seasick. We had the showrooms, the casino, and the buffets virtually to ourselves. Because the crew had no one to serve, our service was exemplary. The ship dared not try to put into the scheduled ports; it was safer on the open sea. The big windows of the main bar presented a spectacular view of massive waves and lightning strikes that stabbed the sea by the score. Very romantic. We had a grand time.

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    1. Also Known As:
      David Axton, Brian Coffey, K.R. Dwyer, Deanna Dwyer, John Hill, Leigh Nichols, Anthony North, Richard Paige, Owen West, Aaron Wolfe
    2. Hometown:
      Newport Beach, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 9, 1945
    2. Place of Birth:
      Everett, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.S. (major in English), Shippensburg University, 1966
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 280 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(156)

4 Star

(81)

3 Star

(28)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 280 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2007

    Please don't watch the movie!

    I can honestly say that this is the only novel so far that has gave me chills. I have to say that the part where the police officer goes into the freezer realy did it for me. That image should be stuck in readers minds forever (read the book and you'll get it.) There are also many references to God, which really add to this paranormal experience. The dark tone of the story and the town being completely 'deserted' REALLY sets the mood and the characters are the best I've ever heard of in a book. Seriously, go get it.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2006

    Couldn't put it down....

    I read 55 pages the first time I opened the cover, and then I had to force myself to put it down. Creepy as hell!!! Koontz has an imagination that is out there. There were times when I was reading that I wondered if maybe D.K. needed a psychological evaluation! He's a master of his trade.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2005

    Phantoms

    The book starts when the main character, Jenny, and her sister find a dead body outside their house. They don't know the cause of death and can't figure out one. Even more strange is that their town, Snowfeld, seems like a ghost town, no one to help them or in sight for that matter. Immediately thinking something is wrong the girls start searching local homes to find more mysteriously dead bodies. As the horror builds they, surprisingly, can not get the phone to work. After what seems like hours of trying they get through to help. But the help is not enough. Soon more and more bodies are found dead and but then return to life as creatures that are not the least bit human. With only a few lasting survivors they are able to come up with a plan of attack to defeat their hellish enemies.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2007

    Creepy!

    This book is the first Koontz book I've ever read, but it's also the scariest book I've ever read. It will make you afraid to enter a walk in freezer room alone. Please don't watch the movie. The characters aren't anything like the books and it is completely B rated.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Truly A Piece of Work And An Excellent Read

    I picked up this book when I was 12 years old, and to this day, like a majority of the reviews that have already been posted have said, it is still the scariest book I've ever read. Granted, I'm not frightened easily and "scariest" may be a relative phrase, but no other book that I've read in my lifetime has given me chills quite like this one.

    The books Koontz has written within the past couple of years have been good, but he fell away from the horror/thriller genre and it's evident in his most recent books. While still good, these books haven't come even somewhat close to the storytelling and imagery conveyed in Phantoms.

    Gripping from the first page, Koontz perfects the art of mental imagery, giving you vivid scenes and relatable characters from the get go. You're thrust into a small winter town with two strong women who are faced with a chilling array of circumstances that keep you turning the page long after the lights have gone out.

    He somehow manages to incorporate a substantial amount of science and supernatural, and fact and fiction into the story, creating a web of intrigue that will leave you going "What if?" when you put the book down, no doubt at some ridiculous hour of the night.

    If you never read another Dean Koontz book again, or have even read them all, this is the one to not miss, by any means. And in terms of the movie, it is what it is, just make sure you read the book first, because that is the one that will leave you searching for a flashlight in the daytime, in preperation for nightfall.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2000

    Fiction with fascinating historical foundations

    Terrific plot that pulls together little-known incidents of mass disappearances throughout human history into a single explanation--an explanation that is typically Koontzian in that it fuses science and the supernatural. Even though it's fiction, I keep wondering if some natural phenomenon of this sort could really be at work on our earth. I thought the film was stupid, but (as usual) the book was much better. A bit of insight into the Koontz formula I got from this book is that Koontz always uses cartharsis via flirting with forbidden topics of sex and violence--a formula which seems to work extremely well for selling large quantities of books. I expected everyone (and every *thing*) in the plot to be a little bit more intelligent than they were, but I liked the mystery aspect, the dark shadows moving in the shadowy passage, and the creepy motorcycle gang.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    A hmm moment...

    I love Dean Koontz and although this book makes you think about what could have happened to the colonies that have disappeared in history, i just didn't like it. There were too many stories about characters that didn't need to exist. I was curious about all of the back story so I continued to read it until the end. Fantastic writer...definitely not my favorite book of his.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 14, 2010

    This book is awful

    I really did not like this book at all. It is not good horror. If you are looking for a ghost story, this isn't it. This is some weird sci-fi stuff that was just annoying. It was like Dean Koontz just decided half-way through the book that he needed to hurry up and write the ending, so he just hurried through it and made all these impossible conclusions. It was really bad. Don't read it unless you like that sort of thing.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!

    I READ THIS BOOK SERVERAL YEARS BACK, I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! THIS IS A NAIL BITING, HAIR PULLING, SCARE YOUR PANTS OFF, OMG OMG WHATS GONNA HAPPEN NEXT KINDA BOOK! GAVE ME NIGHTMARES FOR MONTHS AFTER READING IT! EXCELLENT! BEST BOOK IVE EVER READ, AND FIXING TO START IT ALL OVER AGAIN!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2006

    WOW !

    i have been able to read a few of Dean Koontz' novels, but phantoms to me was by far the best.It is gripping and exciting after each page.Read it,i promise you wont be disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2006

    HIS BEST ONE YET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This book was sooooooooooooo good. It was the first book in a while that made me afraid to read it. All horror fans and Dean Koontz fans will love this book!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2005

    What is Evil?

    I was scared at the start of the book and most books don't have that affect on me. I was hooked the minute I started reading. I was kind of leary when I got a fourth of the way in but the book recovered. It made you think and that is something that keeps me reading a book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2005

    Gripping

    Very suspensful and exciting. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. My only problem was how Koontz seems to make this enemy almost omnipotent, yet the people are able to find ways to work around it anyways. . . Don't see the movie that was based off of this...it's silly and stupid and I'm just glad I saw it AFTER I read the book so it didn't ruin my experience.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2004

    A truly Great Read!

    This was the first book I had ever read from Dean Koontz. I read it in high school, and was absolutely fascinated with the imagery that the author was able to create. I could see everything happening in my mind as I read it. It left the right amount of suspense, thrills, suprises and horror at the right time to keep the reader hooked! I would recommend this book highly!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2004

    Phenomenal

    I was around 11 I think when I first read this book, and it was the first book that actually gave me nightmares. It's a book you want to put down because you can't take no more or you're 'Full up', (Thomas in 'The Bad Place'.) but you feel the need to continue it. I'm 14 now and I think I've read it over 100 times. I loved it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2014

    Great Reading!!!

    Fast moving. Great story.

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  • Posted April 4, 2014

    It is a good read! I really enjoyed it. The suspense builds slow

    It is a good read! I really enjoyed it. The suspense builds slowly but steadily. How you might think the ending will be keeps you guessing until the actual ending. It's like a horror story in ways, but not in other ways. In my opinion, the book is well worth the time to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2014

    Ja

    Gtg bbl

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2014

    Christine

    Ypu can be Phantom, meg, mme giry, raoul, carlota, piangi, buqet, andre, firmin or some one made up. Do you know the story line of phantom of the opera

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2014

    I read this book in high school and honestly this was my very fi

    I read this book in high school and honestly this was my very first horror book I read and this was freaky. I loved the book so much that when I found out they were making the movie on it I got so excited. The movie was actually kind of lame though. I think it could have been made better. BUT. It still doesnt change the way I feel about the book. The book is way better with what your imagination comes up with is more freakier than the movie.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 280 Customer Reviews

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