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Sole Survivor

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  22,900 Ratings  ·  564 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 s
Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 29th 1997 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1997)
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James Lankford I'm struggling to get through it. It has been very slow for me - almost too much detail in trying to explain things. Kind of like using a gallon of…moreI'm struggling to get through it. It has been very slow for me - almost too much detail in trying to explain things. Kind of like using a gallon of words to express a spoonful of thought. I've considered abandoning it, but I've decided to stick with it.(less)
Christopher no there isnt any sex scenes in this book.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jul 16, 2016 Phrynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic Dean Koontz. A good story, some gruesome bits, lots of action and a touch of the paranormal. An undemanding and thoroughly enjoyable read.
Quentin Wallace
This book to me was a mixed bag. On one hand, it was a pretty cool story, and the action near the end was very suspenseful and engaging. However, I also think the book could have been shorter and been much better. I find many books have an issue of just being too long which causes the story to drag. Perhaps it's just me, I'm not sure.

This story was very emotional and was a character study as well as a suspense story. I will admit I had guessed at least part of the big reveal, although not exactl
Mar 10, 2007 Hyejung rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: deankoontz
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
Patrick Kiernan
I read this book as part of a group read with Koontzland for the month of May 2017. This was an emotional rollercoaster, it was an insight into a grieving father's healing process and it also has a little bit of The firestarter by Stephen King.
A bit of Firestarter by Stephen King. A bit of Runner by Patrick Lee. A tragic plane accident turns into something so much more. Koontz takes you on a bizarre spiritual adventure questioning our mortality, destiny, and how far some might go to keep that knowledge/power for themselves and use it for evil.

While this story is packed with action and conspiracy, it will most likely leave you asking a lot of "What if?" questions about life as well.
Jan 26, 2008 Cheri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-attic
I certainly wasn't expecting this to turn into a preachy bs book.

Oh well.
Nov 19, 2010 Johnny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 27, 2012 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, thriller
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
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.
Oct 20, 2015 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed first at Brunner's Bookshelf

I have to say that I am not a huge Dean Koontz fan. My wife was with his earlier work but there came a point when his books just got really weird and our interest faded. I have some of his books that I really liked, Tick Tock and Life Expectancy to name a few. This was another book that kept popping up in my hunt for horro books for the R.I.P. challenge. I figured I would give it a try. Let's just say I was expecting a horror novel and this isn't.

The book is
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
Bark's Book Nonsense
Nov 04, 2010 Bark's Book Nonsense rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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
Michael Jensen
Sep 21, 2015 Michael Jensen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
Made it through 30% before I finally gave it up. I've only read a few Koontz books and wasn't impressed by what I did read. Sole Survivor only confirms that I'm not a Koontz fan.

You'd think it would be pretty difficult to make a man who lost his wife and two daughters in a plane crash unsympathetic, but Koontz makes it look easy. The first 20% of the book is the main character going on and on and on about he's suffering, miserable, angry, unable to ever move on, yadda yadda yadda. We get it. The
Karen B.
Apr 06, 2011 Karen B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read, koontz, read-2017
Koontz has a nice blend of characterization and plot in this novel. We meet Joe Carpenter who has basically given up on life after the death of his family in a plane crash a year ago. He seems to have nothing to live for. Then he meets a strange woman at the graveside of his wife and daughters taking photos of the gravestones. Why? Then he finds that she is being chased and he is under being watched as well. Why again? The reporter in him is still alive as he becomes determined to find out what ...more
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.
Sarath Krishnan
Oct 26, 2012 Sarath Krishnan rated it really liked it
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
Deyth Banger
Feb 15, 2017 Deyth Banger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017

February 15, 2017 –
90.0% "Reading shit sometimes have two paths once to get the best and once to get the worst the same is and for not reading shit...


You always get shit... .want it or not!"
February 15, 2017 –
90.0% "And the story has reached the end!"
February 15, 2017 –
90.0% "What you say... write when you read it sounds like shit... but reading somebody else stuff is another story."
February 15, 2017 –
90.0% "Memories we go back again and again and again... until get the result
Oct 12, 2012 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all
“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
Bridgette Redman
There's a lot ot be said for expectations ruining a story. Dean Koontz' "Sole Survivor" might have been enjoyable if I'd been expecting a science fiction novel or a supernatural thriller.

Certainly, the writing was terse and the plot was fast-moving. But I wasn't expecting science fiction or supernatural fiction. This book was a selection of the month of the mystery book club and I was expecting a mystery novel. I had never read Koontz before, so my only expectation was that which was written up
Aug 14, 2013 Rissy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dean-r-koontz
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 05, 2013 Ed rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
David jones
Jul 05, 2012 David jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dean-koontz
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
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
Nov 11, 2009 Natalie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mark Souza
Apr 05, 2011 Mark Souza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ken Campbell
Aug 02, 2015 Ken Campbell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book started well enough as a mystery novel. The main character was reasonably developed as a grieving father who was trying to uncover a conspiracy. The story moved effectively into a science fiction style, with the cloning of children who had special powers. Unfortunately, these two themes were abandoned near the end, and the book concluded with magic and existential concepts. None of the initial issues (the mystery and the children with special powers) were completed. It was a disappoint ...more
Adam Czarnecki
Jun 01, 2010 Adam Czarnecki rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 20, 2008 Tina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mystic Valraven
Mar 11, 2015 Mystic Valraven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has to be one of the best Dean Koontz books that I have read to date. This was a beautiful story with tragedy, drama, tenderness, action, suspense and a lovely ending that leaves you believing that there is something wonderful waiting for us after this life.
Becky Seabaugh
I'd like to give this book 4 stars, but it was a little too weird. 3 1/2 stars from me.
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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
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“Human beings, however, were different from apples and oranges: The flavor of the peel did not reliably predict the taste of the pulp.” 8 likes
“He had tried to shed his pain, to rise from the ashes like a drab phoenix with no hope except the cold peace of indifference. Now that events forced him to open himself to the world again, he was swamped by emotion as a novice surfer was overwhelmed by each cresting wave.” 2 likes
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