Dean Koontz disappoints
Dean Koontz has been terrifying and entertaining readers for over forty years. With a slew of bestselling novels to his name, it seems as though Koontz can craft a brilliant horror novel without effort. But “77 Shadow Street” proves that even a great author can produce a lackluster book. While Koontz’s latest novel has an interesting premise, as a story “Street” simply misses the mark.
The novel centers on a luxury apartment building located at the title address, whose residents begin encountering images of horrible monsters and past tenants. As it turns out, the building is constructed on a volcanic fault line whose magnetic field transports the apartment residents into a post-apocalyptic future where the monsters they have been seeing hunt down humans. The eclectic group sent to the future must survive until the time warp sends them back to 2011.
Koontz’s biggest mistake in writing “77 Shadow Street” was his decision to focus on individual characters’ points of view instead of on the group as a whole. Yes, with a cast of characters as big as in this novel, the author has to frequently shift focus to different characters. Yet Koontz could have managed that so much more efficiently by telling the story through the characters’ interactions with each other in addition to the horrors around them. Instead, he chooses to write a few paragraphs about what one character is thinking, then another, resulting in a relatively sparse amount of dialog. The story would have been a lot more entertaining had Koontz conveyed the characters’ thoughts and traits through dialog; additionally, Koontz would have more room to construct the plot.
Another major problem with the book was Koontz’s inclusion of too many characters. For a story like “77 Shadow Street,” he could have focused on a small group of protagonists as they fought for survival among the monsters. Instead, Koontz does the opposite – he features many characters, even introducing new characters well after the plot has gotten underway. Some of these characters are killed off soon after being introduced and some do not even interact with the other characters. Why include them at all? With so many characters, none are properly developed and since Koontz focuses on them all, the plot moves slowly.
Dean Koontz can write much better than “77 Shadow Street.” Compared to his prior works, Koontz’s newest novel is a major disappointment.
Sean Quinn can be reached at email@example.com.