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Sole Survivor

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  18,583 ratings  ·  429 reviews
A catastrophic, unexplainable plane crash leaves three hundred and thirty dead -- no survivors. Among the victims are the wife and two daughters of Joe Carpenter, a Los Angeles Post crime reporter.
A year after the crash, still gripped by an almost paralyzing grief, Joe encounters a woman named Rose, who claims to have survived the crash. She holds out the possibility of a...more
Published (first published January 1st 1997)
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When Flight 353 plunged out of the sky, crashing into a verdant valley and killing everyone on board, Joe Carpenter lost his wife, his daughters, and his grasp on reality. One year later, on the anniversary of the crash, a very depressed, borderline suicidal Joe prepares to go through the day, working himself up towards visiting the graves of his entire family. But life has other plans, and a simple trip to the beach leads to Joe being sucked into a conspiracy centered on Flight 353. The crash i...more
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Mike (the Paladin)
I discovered once I got into this book that I remembered the movie based on it (very loosely based). My daughter tells me I actually tried to read it once before and laid it aside.

I can sort of see why.

For a long, long (long,long,long,long) time this book does try the patience. Our protagonist is in despair over the sudden loss of his family in a plane crash. The event is a year in the past but Joe Carpenter is still shattered.

And he tells us about it...he loses control, he creeps out strangers...more
Definitely on the short list of Koontz's best work, SOLE SURVIVOR is a wildly entertaining thriller with surprisingly ambitious emotional and spiritual underpinnings. Not only does it contain one of the most powerful hooks I've ever come across, but, in between scenes of grisly murders and exciting chases, Koontz aims to teach readers a little something about life. For a suspense novel, however, it all feels a bit overwritten. Koontz tries to imbibe SOLE SURVIVOR with the trappings of "serious l...more
Barks & Bites
Joe Carpenter is a man paralyzed by grief and anger. On the one year anniversary of the plane crash that killed his beloved wife and daughters he visits their cemetery and spots a woman taking pictures of their grave marker. He approaches her and sets off a series of events that make him question if the death of his family and 300 others was the intentional work of officials attempting to cover up something that could possibly change mankind for all time. As he digs for the truth he witnesses an...more
David jones
This book is good. I think that the plot was excelent, the characters were really well developed and the book, overall, was great. This is the first Koontz book I have actually completed, after having read half of dark rivers of the heart, and he is a fairly good writer. He is no Stephen King, but the book was real good. It took me by surprise several times. When the I read the back of it I thought it would be an action book, and it is, in a sense, though there is really not much action. It is m...more
I can't quite put my finger on what turned me off to this book. I think it's probably how depressing most of it is. The main character has lost his wife and both his children in a plane crash. This horrible experience is even worse for him because of the fact that he lost all belief in God as a young man. For most of the book, we experience his adventures from the point of view of a grieving husband and father without the comfort of a knowledge of what comes after this life. The strange experien...more
Sarath Krishnan
The sky is deep, the sky is dark.
The light of stars is so damn stark.
When I look up, I fill with fear.
If all we have is what lies here,
this lonely world, this troubled place,
then cold dead stars and empty space...
Well, I see no reason to persevere,
no reason to laugh or shed a tear,
no reason to sleep or ever to wake,
no promises to keep, and none to make.
And so at night I still raise my eyes
to study the clear but mysterious skies
that arch above us, as cold as stone.
Are you there, God? Are we alo...more
“Sole Survivor” is more of a mystery book than an action or horror novel. Koontz introduces you to Joe Carpenter, an investigative journalist who is trapped in despair after a commercial plane crash takes his wife and children. It is clear that something is being covered up, but neither you nor Joe have any idea what that is. The book is a roller coaster ride as Joe strives to reveal the facts. What is being covered up about his family’s deaths? Why does it appear that someone is still trying to...more
I've read quite a lot of Dean Koontz books, predominantly when I was a lot younger. After I had ran out of Stephen King and James Herbert books I picked up on Koontz and thoroughly enjoyed many of his novels. Midnight and Twilight Eyes are irrepressibly brilliant. Watchers, The Bad Place and Lightening quite superb also. Icebound a well crafted take on Alistair McLean's Ice Station Zebra.

Unfortunately Sole Survivor is none of these things. It doesn't start badly at all and although it develops s...more
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Mark Souza
Sole Survivor was the first Dean Koontz novel I'd ever read. If only they were all this good. I was in working in Germany at the time and found it on a desk I was using temporarily. I had a lot of down time so I started reading. I was quickly sucked in. I got very little sleep from the time I started till I finally finished a few days later. It didn't hurt that the story was set in my home town of Seattle.

The story starts with a reporter unable to cope with the deaths of his wife and daughter i...more
This is the worst of his books that I have read so far. As with most of his books, there is an interesting concept - cloning. However, the story, itself, was drab. I thought the main character was annoying and dumb. Of course, I understand his desire to find the daughter he thinks is alive, but the way he acted really frustrated me and I never really felt any sympathy for him except in the beginning when I didn't know his character well enough. I could actually say that I almost skimmed this who...more
Steve Lee
Perhaps it is just me, but this book ultimately seemed to be little more than the preaching and proselytising of a religious fundamentalist. At one stage in the book, a prominent biologist even goes to lengths to condemn evolution in the manner that only a creationist lunatic would. It was almost like reading the AIG website or a Jehovah Witness Watchtower pamphlet.

I am currently reading another of his novels (The Taking) and find that this, too, is interjected with out-of-place statements and...more
Duncan Mandel
SUMMARY: A catastrophic, unexplainable plane crash leaves three hundred and thirty dead -- no survivors. Among the victims are the wife and two daughters of Joe Carpenter, a Los Angeles Post crime reporter.A year after the crash, still gripped by an almost paralyzing grief, Joe encounters a woman named Rose, who claims to have survived the crash. She holds out the possibility of a secret that will bring Joe peace of mind. But before he can ask any questions, she slips away.Driven now by rage (ha...more
03 Dawson B
The main issue of the book is that Joe Carpenter's wife and two daughters die in a plane crash that he knows hardly anything about. He meets this woman Rose and finds out more things about the plane crash and what really happened. This book is intended for young adults and adults. The setting cannot be changed that much at all because it really only has one setting to it. Joe Carpenter is a protagonist. He is very intelligent, but very depressed. Rose is a antagonist, she is very strong and very...more
After "Odd Thomas," I thought I'd give Dean Koontz another try with something that sounded pretty intriguing. It WAS intriguing, but that's about it. The characters are so dull and lifeless, I could not care what happened to any of them. Things seemed to rush along just for the sake of plot, with "Joe" (the main character) often having spur-of-the-moment revelations that went along with whatever direction the plot needed.

Really, really stupid.
Jennifer Shevchik
Well my second Dean Koontz was not as good as my first experience.

I was disappointed with this story. I felt for the main character, however, I was just bored with the entire story. The ending was not what I was hoping it would be. Not only that but they didn't tie up any loose ends, it just ended. He takes the time to explain things that do not matter that much in great detail, but then doesn't wrap up the story. Blah.
Just reading the premise of the story sent shivers down my spine!
The story started off brilliant and intense, I kept doing the 'just one more chapter routine' until I was almost half way into the book.
At this point it raises so many questions as to what exactly happened to the plane, but in the last few chapters it is all explained in what feels like a mash of two different stories.
At first everything is so believable as it's well written you are very involved in the story which is why the end...more
Carrie Luciano
I was really enjoying this book. Koontz as usual can develop wonderful characters that you really care about. It moved at a break neck speed for much of the book but I thought it petered out and was somewhat anti climactic in like the last 20 pages.
Not my favorite Dean Koontz novel. He builds really great suspense and hooks you in, but like so many other of his novels, the "explanation" for the mysteries was so off the wall. He also left some threads of the story hanging in this one.
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I certainly wasn't expecting this to turn into a preachy bs book.

Oh well.
Robin Schiff
One of those books I had trouble putting down.
Tara Kable
Fantastic book! Loved it!
Yet another great Koontz novel. What I like mostly about his writing is that, at the beginning, he introduces the reader to different (and diverse) situations and then throughout the book they are woven together.

This book took a bit of time before I was really hooked, but once I was…I was finished. Though it is pretty long, it didn’t feel so due to Koontz’s detail and imagery. What I liked most about the story came toward the end with the introduction of 21-21; I enjoyed seeing the contrast bet...more
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Kellan Fabjance
I would have liked this book more when I was 15. I shouldn't be surprised anymore, when I read a Dean Koontz book, by the Christian undertones. I enjoyed his work more back when I didn't understand what to look for. Alas, that is not the case today.

I struggled to find a correct phrasing in order to describe this book without sounding mean or insensitive. The best that I could come up with is that this book is condescending in its Christianity. Now, I don't want people to think that my issues wi...more
Wayne Wilson
I enjoyed this book. The book involves a plane crash and loved ones dying. The emotions that Koontz writes about came across as very accurate from my own experience. For the first 1/2 of the book I found myself wiping tears away as Koontz's writing poignantly tells the story of loss and grief.

I listened to this book and the narration was sub par. I eventually made it past the reader's voice but he is not one of my favorites.

The plot is riveting and in the end I am uplifted emotionally and spirit...more
this should not have taken me as long to finish as it did. schedule conflicts and what i'm starting to believe is borderline narcolepsy certainly slowed me down.

however the novel itself is absolutely a page turner. This was the old-fashioned Koontz who usually sits on the fence in between three genres: Horror, Sci-Fi and Mystery. The turn for Sci-Fi here was a surprise and a pleasant one at that! But he skims the surfaces of his unique genre smoothie so well that you never really feel as if you...more
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Acknowledged as "America's most popular suspense novelist" (Rolling Stone) and as one of today's most celebrated and successful writers, Dean Ray Koontz has earned the devotion of millions of readers around the world and the praise of critics everywhere for tales of character, mystery, and adventure that strike to the core of what it means to be human.

Dean R. Koontz has also published under the na...more
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“Only the human spirit can act with volition and consciously change itself; it is the only thing in all creation that is not entirely at the mercy of forces outside itself, and it is, therefore, the most powerful and valuable form of energy in the universe. For a time, the spirit may become flesh, but when that phase of its existence is at an end, it will be transformed into a disembodied spirit once more.” 0 likes
“Once, when cornered by a pinwheel-eyed man who insisted that the mayor of Los Angeles was not human but a robot controlled by the audioanimatronics department at Disneyland, Joe had lowered his voice and said, with nervous sincerity, “Yes, we’ve known about that for years. But if we print a word of it, the people at Disney will kill us all.” He had spoken with such conviction that the nutball had exploded backward and fled.” 0 likes
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