Shadow Fires
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Shadow Fires

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  7,527 ratings  ·  190 reviews
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Demon Seed and The Eyes of Darkness presents a novel of pure terror in which a woman is stalked -- by a man who looks exactly like her dead husband..."Holds readers spellbound". -- Booklist

"His prose mesmerizes...Kontz consistently hits the bull's-eye". -- Arkansas Democrat
Mass Market Paperback, 528 pages
Published June 1st 1993 by Berkley (first published 1987)
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Barks & Bites
This was one of the earlier Koontz novels that I somehow missed in my youth. It tells the tale of a genetic genius named Eric who, after an ugly argument with his soon to be ex-wife Rachel, dies in an accident. But this is a Koontz novel so you know he doesn't stay dead . . .

Before long Rachel and her new love interest Ben are on the run from a resurrected Eric and men who will do anything to keep Eric's status a secret.

Koontz has always been hit or miss with me and I'm sad to say that this book...more
It more or less goes without saying that Koontz books aren't very enjoyable, but this one is actually one of the ones that was relatively fun. It's a pretty basic creature feature. Once the plot is set, you know what you're going to get; there isn't much in the way of suspense.

This novel revisits Koontz's obessesion with secret experiements and genetic tampering. His concerns have not exactly turned out to be prescient. The characters are same basic stock you'll find in any of his work and the...more
The only book by Dean Koontz I've ever read that I detested!
(unabridged audiobook read by Jonathan Marosz): As Rachel and Eric leave the offices of their divorce lawyers, they are arguing viciously about the settlement. Eric gets so angry he storms off directly into oncoming traffic, where he is killed by a garbage truck. After the initial shock wears off, Rachel gets incredibly paranoid and hangs out with her boyfriend Ben, actively not telling him things. When Eric's body disappears from the morgue, her paranoia becomes a reality: Eric's not really dea...more
I know that the reviews for this book have been mostly negative, but I am going to break with that and give a positive review. I really enjoyed Shadowfires. Yes, the book had a VERY unlikely premise, and it required a huge suspension of disbelief. But many horror books do. The story was so fast-paced that it kept me turning pages quickly to find out what would happen. The "good" characters were very likable. I really rooted for them and cared about what happened to them. That is essential for an...more
Michael McFarland
Not very good at all.

In the late 80's and early 90's, I devoured Dean Koontz by the fistful, probably reading 16 to 20 of his books (some of which I actually debated upgrading to hardcover editions) in a 5-year time span before finally burning out on him thoroughly and completely.

Now, as I reread one of these novels every year or two, I wonder what the hell I was thinking? The characters (usually described in terms confined to the card aisle at Hallmark) are virtually the same in every book, the...more
It's a story about chase, exhausted in all its forms: a woman runs away from her ex-husband, good cops go after mad men, haunted pasts attempt to wreck the present, a lunatic sweeps a trail of secrets, a monster flees from his humanity, and love pursues the probability of surviving despite the odds.

But I'm making it sound much better than it actually is -- this is one of my least liked works by Dean Koontz. The whole act of reading the book has become something of a quest in itself, of whether I...more
Published in the late 80's,this tale of genetic engineering gone horribly wrong could be something read in the newspaper in just a couple of years.

When a brilliant and powerful man with a fear of hellfire discovers a genetic life extension mechanism using experimental rats, he throws all of his resources into perfecting it. Much to his amazement, not only do the genetic modifications extend life but they also resurrect the dead experimental animals. However, once brought back to life, these rat...more
Jackie Jameson
Actually REREADING...Just KNEW this had to be Dean Koontz or Stephen King. Great story all together, but my favorite characters are Jerry Peake and Julio Verdad, (Spanish for Truth). They really ARE the whole book and why I was REREADING. I have a hardback with JUST Leigh Nichols listed as author. What interested me was how stupid the cover looked for such an intelligent book. The cover is DUMB, like some 70's bad op art. When I first read it I felt sorry for the author to be packaged so inappro...more
I am really starting to love Koontz's writing. This is a great read, completely worth your time. Koontz seems to have a thing about good vs. evil, with both being active, personified forces. It's a rare thing in today's writing, when "evil" is often merely the absence of "good", or where the "evil" inhabits more of a moral gray area.

This was written in Koontz's early years, and is also published under the pseudonym of Leigh Nichols. While the villain and heroine are both clearly portrayed withi...more
Lovely woman is divorcing wealthy man, not taking ANY of his vast wealth. Outside the courthouse, he's grasping her arm too tightly, and they argue. He walks away in a rage, and is hit by a garbage truck. Too bad that's not the the end of it. He and his company have been up to some top secret stuff. Stuff that brings life threatening danger from two sources, and the police can't offer any help or protection. This nailbiter will keep you up!
One of the worst - read a number of year ago and forgot about it. Absentmindedly grabbed it as a book on tape for a 12 road trip because there was nothing else to listen to. Thought I was gonna crawl out the window. Complete silence would've been better than listening to "Raaachelll...." over and over again ....ugh
This was the first Dean Koontz book I read, it was really, really good and i rented every other of his books from the library until I was upto date, then started buying them as soon as they were on sale! Would recommend reading this, its really fast paced and difficult to put down.
Jay Allan Storey
This book had its moments, and I like the concept, but in general it was just okay and no more. The characters were cartoonish and not that believable. The plot, and the relationships between the characters, seemed contrived - I didn't buy into them. There seemed to be a lot of filler that didn't contribute anything to the story.

Also, I had the impression that there were product placements (do authors actually do that?). The prospect never even occurred to me before I read this book, so the fac...more
See my review of "The Watchers" for my feelings about Koonz's Standard Cast of Characters. This one fit the same mold exactly, except it DIDN'T have a super-intelligent dog.
Almost at the end but I cant wait till this book is over. My personal opinion is this may be one of the bottom barrels of mr. Koontz. Enuf said…!
John Maberry
Better than some Koontz. Moves along. Like most of his stuff, it's a contrast of good vs. evil. As other big name reviewers of his books have said, he does tend to belabor the obvious. Sets up the book well, defining the lead villain as a very flaming rectum for whom one can find absolutely no sympathy. That's part of the problem with the book--too black and white. Another villain is very similar--to the point of identical perversions, ruthless ambitions, etc. For those familiar with the Buddhis...more
This book made me afraid of the trunk of my car. I had to resist the urge to fling it open, poking around and saying, "Hello...are there any murderously reanimated maniacs hiding out in here? I'm just going down the street to Wal-Mart...try not to kill me as I'm shifting gears, mmm-kay?"

The fact that Eric is smart enough to create something that could potentially stop death, but is stupid enough to test it on himself should have been my first clue about how this novel would go.

I struggled with E...more
I first read this book when I was in high school, and then again in college, which was about ten years ago. I recently decided to revisit it again.

I always enjoy stories with a high level of adventure, where the characters go from one place to another, discovering and exploring new things on whatever quest they’re undertaking. And in that regard, Shadowfires definitely gave me my fill. What made it even better for me, personally, was that I’ve actually gotten to see some of the areas depicted in...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shadowfires is the second Dean Koontz book I’ve read. The first one was Midnight, which was recommended by a friend of mine. Likewise, Shadowfires was also recommended by an acquaintance who told me that it was very scary.

Between the two, there are definitely a bit of similarities, namely the use of a megalomaniac character and the use of a crazed science experiment. In this case, the science experiment is performed by Eric Leben, a hell-fearing man who wishes to gain immortality. After he is ki...more
Being one of Koontz's earlier books (I think he originally wrote it under the pen name Leigh Nichols) I didn't have the highest expectations. Still, it was a solid, if somewhat uninspired read.
Story and characters were fairly standard, but it was mostly fast paced and entertaining.

What I most liked about the book:
- good chemistry between the protagonists
- convincing cops. This was a highlight for me, as the policemen in suspense novels often tend to be very superficial
- great buildup to the fi...more
Review update: 12-29-08
So I finally finished this book. For some reason I just felt that I had to. I bought it and all. Anyway... I took it in short doses and made my way through it. It's a new addition with a new afterward by the author, but in checking out the copyright, I see that it's one of his earlier published works from 1987. It was first published under a female pseudonym even. So I thought... hey... Koontz a big-time auther now... this was early stuff. Maybe it shouldn't be representat...more
Jody Austin
Originally written under the pen name of Leigh Nichols, this book tells of a love triangle gone horribly wrong. Rachel Leben has been separated from her brilliant husband for months. Eric Leben is a genetic scientist whose main obsession is youth. Rachel has become tired of her older husband's obsessive lifestyle and is wanting a divorce. After a violent argument, Eric storms out into the street and is killed when he is hit by a truck. Horrified by the situation, Rachel reluctantly leans on Ben...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
To be fair, I didn't read this book. I mostly skimmed it, ignoring the subplots about the detectives (human interest) and the government dark ops (horror) and stuck to the main plot: what to do if your abusive controlling soon-to-be ex-husband comes back from the dead and mutates into a giant iguana? I would have been more than happy to just stick to the suspense of whether or not her husband had come back from the dead but apparently that wasn't enough. Koontz had to run with the concept by aba...more

Rachael Leben's request for a quick and clean divorce left her successful husband, Eric, enraged and humiliated. Seething with anger, he stormed off, straight into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Eric is pronounced dead at the scene, but Rachael knows the secrets he's left behind. And when his body disappears from the morgue, she knows that her turbulent marriage is far from over...

About the Author

Dean Koontz was born in Everett, Pennsylvania, and grew up in nearby Bedford. He won an Atlantic

Amber G
An evil genius scientist performing genetic experimentation on himself with disastrous results? Yes, please. I could not stop reading this. Through Koontz's story, I successfully achieved a suspension of disbelief & had to know what happened next. Had my schedule been more accommodating, I'd have read this all at once. It's not an overly intellectual read, just an interesting story. The strangeness of it all is why I read Koontz.
Mark R.
A man and woman, recently romantically involved, driving, running, and crawling away from a sadistic killer linked to secret government work. Pretty standard setup for a Dean Koontz novel, "Shadowfires" is not one of his best nor one of his worst.

The main problem with the book is that it's about a hundred, hundred-fifty pages too long. The ending, while satisfying for the most part, is dragged out particularly long, and I feel a lot of the energy was gone at around page 300.

Still, not a bad boo...more
This is the first novel I've EVER read thanks to Fairwind Senior Public School book sale and I have been sworn to only ready horror/suspence novels from this author. Another very detail read and interesting. Not sure if I should've been reading this in Grade 7... meh.
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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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“Now, sprawled comfortably in his motel bed, Anson Sharp enjoyed the sleep of the amoral, which is far deeper and more restful than the sleep of the just, the righteous, and the innocent.” 3 likes
“ was the closest thing to immortality that men would ever know and that the only--and best--answer to death is loving. Loving.” 1 likes
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