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77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz

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.

I am the One, the all and the only. I live in the Pendleton as surely as I live everywhere. I am the Pendelton’s history and it’s destiny. The building is my place of conception, my monument, my killing ground.”

Not just a great house, not merely a mansion, the Pendleton was more accurately a Beaux Arts palace, built in 1889, at the height of the Gilded Age, sixty thousand square feet under roof, not counting the vast basement or the separate carriage house. A combination of Georgian and French Renaissance styles, the building was clad in limestone, with elaborately carved window surrounds. Neither the Carnegies nor the Vanderbilts, nor even the Rockefellers, had ever owned a grander house.”

77 Shadow Street an address like any other but with a mystery behind its doors unlike any other.
A insidious evil is reawakening, there has been events of the macabre kind in the past nearly every 30years to be precise.

Dean Koontz has really created an atmosphere of chilling eeriness. He is a master when it comes to writing with memorable characters, in this dwelling of darkness he brings to you two wonderful kids Winny and Iris an autistic girl of remarkable courage. If you think of H.P Lovecraft and Clive Barker getting together to write a novel involving a charnel house of mystery then this would be the end product. The writing flows well, it immerses you with expectations of a new evil force present and delivers with an originality of grandeur. You won’t want to stop reading once you get into the whole ‘who’s there’ scenario.
One of the characters in the novel gave a fitting descriptions to the series events that he witnessed, he said it was as if he just been part of a movie that James Cameron directed while on amphetamines and Red Bull.
I could see this being a really good adaptation to the big screen.
King had his Shining, Matheson created Hell House, Peter Straub created Ghost story and now Dean Koontz has made a mark with 77 Shadow Street.
You have had many house stories but Dean Koontz brings to the table a unique charnel house tale of his own.

“Iris was that perhaps rarer of autistic savants: one who had an intuitive grasp of the relationship between phonemes, the basic sounds by which a language was constructed, and the printed word. One day when she was five, Iris picked up a children’s book for the first time- and quickly began reading, having had no instruction, because when she looked at a word on the page, she heard the sound of it in her mind and knew its meaning. When she had never encountered a word before, she searched for its definition in a dictionary and thereafter never forgot it.”

“Winny was surprised to see so many books, because he thought some autistic kids never read well , maybe not at all. Evidently, Iris read a lot. He knew why. Books were another life. If you were shy and didn’t know what to say and felt you didn’t belong anywhere, books were a way to lead another life, a way to be someone else entirely, to be anyone at all. Winny didn’t know what he would do without his books, except probably go berserk and start killing people and making ashtrays out of their skulls even though he didn’t smoke and never would.”

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or Amazon.co.uk

Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 24 January 2012

    1 Comment

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    1. Belgie says
      15 February 12, 6:24am

      I love how Koontz gives you so many details, sometimes too many details, even backgrounds on people who are not a big part of the story. In one paragraph you’re learning their life story, in the next paragraph they’re dead. But, it’s details like this that make the story interesting, makes it real. Koontz has a knack for making his characters come alive, for better or for worse.

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