Phantoms
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Phantoms

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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  42,832 ratings  ·  726 reviews
A tale of an abandoned town and the unimaginable truth behind its silence...

Now with a new afterword, Dean Koontz explains the impact Phantoms had on his career.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 28th 1983 by G. P. Putnam's Sons (first published 1976)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Alejandro
It's amusing how I ended reading this novel. And maybe this will be the most humorous review of a truly scary horror novel. If you read it, you'll understant what I mean.

First, I didn't know that it was a novel, a long horror story book, when I bought it. Honestly!

Back then (1992), I was in a local bookstore. I read the title "Phantoms" (well in reality it was "Fantasmas" since I bought in Spanish first the book) and I thought that it was an anthology of ghost stories and that Dean Koontz (I di...more
Maciek
In 1979, Dean Koontz wrote a novel called Whispers which catapulted him to the bestseller list. Koontz's status in the publishing world shifted drastically; from a rather unknown suspense producer he became the hot stuff, and in 1981 Whispers rose to the top five of the New York Times paperback bestseller list.

But this article is not about Whispers. While I'm not a fan of the mentioned novel, and consider it to be largely tedious and overwrought with banal drama and sentimentality, it shows pot...more
Dede
This is one of my all-time favourite books. I remember being twelve and my mother telling me under no circumstances was I to read any of her Dean Koontz books, because they 'were not suitable for a girl my age'. So of course, the minute I had the chance, I grabbed a bunch of his books and got to reading!

Phantoms is the only one that really resonated with me. Over the years, whenever I'm bored and at a loss as to what to read, I find myself drawn back to this book. My copy is positively ancient-l...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Currently rereading for the Dean Koontz group... wonder if I'll change the review? :)

*Didn't care for it much...and the movie didn't help much (though Peter O'Toole had some good lines). This is a straight scare fest a horror story with a good dose of splatter factor. Not my favorite of his books.*

Above is my first review and my 2 star rating...will I change it? No.

Let me say I like Koontz, he has written some books that would rate among my favorites....this isn't one. For me this is one of thos...more
Daniel
Where has this book been all of my life? And why did I write off Koontz as a hack that pushes brainless filler onto the shelves once per year? Thanks to my snobbery, I went years without picking up a book that would have satisfied my craving for a good monster story. Serves me right for thinking I knew better.

"Phantoms" is a marvelous, fun, and satisfying read. It has monsters; awesome, frightening, man-eating, intelligent, scary, what-in-the-world-is-going-on monsters. It is also an exciting re...more
William
Mar 22, 2008 William rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: horror fans
Shelves: horror-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy
I loved this book! Things start immediately, and don't let up! First you are dealing with the horror of what has occured....what happened in the town of Snowfield, California? Hundreds of people are missing. A handful of bodies are found, but what happened to them? Even Dr. Jenny Paige can't identify a cause of death. Is it the work of a psycopath? Terrorism? A Disease? Just wait till you find out what it is!!!
JennyB Wolfer
I started this book on Christmas eve, at night, looking for some light reading while waiting for Santa, and Holy Moly! I finally had to put it down and relegate it to a "Read Only During the Day" folder on my Kindle. This was freaky scary. I never really considered Koonzt a horror writer, and then in the Afterword, Koonzt himself says that in some ways he regrets writing this book because it forever tainted him as a horror writer. So, I wasn't too off thinking this was not his normal fare.

Anyhow...more
Wendi
This is one of my favorite books that I read years and years ago. Every summer in junior high and high school I would hit the yard sales and the one used book store we had in town to buy horror novels. I'd spend the entire summer reading Koontz and King and any other ghost, goul, vampire book I could find.

Phantoms, the first time I read it, scared me so badly I couldn't sleep! I would start reading around midnight and not be able to fall asleep until 3 a.m! I passed the book around to a few frie...more
Brad
Should I give Dean Koontz another chance?

Maybe I am being too hard on the piece of derivative trash that is Koontz's Phantoms, but it was so bad – and so memorably bad – that I’ve never read another Koontz book. But I am probably being unfair.

After all, I often find myself reading the garbage put out by Harlan Coben, and is there really any difference? I don’t think so. Koontz is just older. In fact, I like to imagine Koontz as the seed spraying father of Harlan Coben, standing over the world o...more
Rick
I'm only four chapters in, but I'm already hooked. I have had mixed experiences with this author, so I was wary, but if he can keep up the breathless mystery and suspense, this looks like it will come down on the side of one of Koontz's good books. We shall see...

And done...a solid effort from Koontz and I will add it to the books that I like from him: The Odd Thomas series and the book about the mutant dog.
Bill
Another of those rare novels that truly gave me the creeps. Don't read the back of the novel. Books like these are better read when you have no idea what to expect. If you like Koontz but haven't read this one, by all means read it. And it's NOT about another government experiment/conspiracy.
Mike King
I read Watchers for a class. The next week, I had to read Phantoms for a different class. I didn't think it was possible, but Phantoms was an even worse piece of tripe than Watchers was. Dean Koontz is the worst author I've had the displeasure of reading. His characters are flat and unbelievable, his pacing drags, his dialogue doesn't sound realistic, he does no research or fact-checking whatsoever, and his story ideas are tired retreads of played out cliches. His prose is heavy-handed, overdone...more
Brett Talley
As with most reviews, there be spoilers ahead.

Dean Koontz is probably one of the five most famous authors in America, and his legion of fans speaks to his ability to tap into some thread of humanity and for that, he should be praised. People who hate Dean Koontz like to act as though he can't string words together into a sentence, but you don't sell millions of books on hype and marketing alone. Whatever it is about Koontz that makes him successful, Phantoms is one of the books that launched hi...more
What'sinatitle
What a great read. I will think twice before spending some time in a small mountain town. Koontz does an amazing job building original terror.
Brian
* The quotation from Stephen King on the back cover of my paperback edition: “Gruesome. Unrelenting.” No indication of quality, just a couple of observations about the presentation. Like saying, “Action-packed,” to describe Sucker Punch.

* Dialogue isn’t one of Koontz’ strong points. Neither is characterization. Here we have a 14-year-old girl who never behaves like a child, so she might as well be 28. Here we have a cop who, with his heavy-lidded eyes and his ingratiating manner, fools people in...more
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Whispers from the Pirate's Ghost Whisper
Phantoms by Dean R. Koontz - Second Verse, Better than the First Okay, I reread this via audiobook. It's just as good or better than I remembered it. Good characters, strong plot, with lots of detail. Koontz really does his home work and there were many parts of this that were as real (actual history) and twisted into the plot as what I normally expect from James Rollins. The characters were well designed and played well in the general weave of the book.

Make no mistake, this is a horror novel, n...more
James
Oct 20, 2008 James rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Dumb People
I’ve always heard that Dean Koontz was like a poor man’s Stephen King. He writes scary books that you pick up when you can’t find a good King book. I’ve never read a Koontz book before but I had a few so I dived in with Phantoms. I knew nothing about the book aside from the fact that it was made into a crappy movie starring Ben Affleck (”He was the bomb in Phantoms, Yo!”).

The book takes a look at a small town in northern California. Our main characters, sisters Jenny and Lisa enter the town and...more
Jennifer
Picture this. It's the dead of summer, stuck at a summer camp over the weekend with no campers. Every once in a while the "X-Files" theme music floats over the trees while the AV team prepares the music and intros for the High School campers that will be in on Sunday afternoon. Asking for a book I get handed "Phantoms."

"Is it horror?" I ask. I don't read horror.

"No, no." Comes the reassurance from one of the camp counselors. "It's science fiction." I nod and open the front cover.

Eight hours la...more
Checkman
I read over two-thirds of this novel yesterday, sitting in the shade, while my teenage daughter and her friends ran a car-wash to raise funds for their drama club. I was there mainly in case something went wrong, which means I had lots of time. Those kids are pretty levelheaded. I supplied that detail because it's important - it tells you what to expect when reading a Dean Koontz novel - and that's okay. I am not a literary snob. Strictly middle-brow at best.Koontz writes popular suspense fictio...more
•Erin• (Paperback Stash)
If there is a person out there that would not find this book eerie, I'd be surprised.

Koontz writes fiercely here, keeping the sentences devoid of overabundant words and pretty phrases. Instead he just delivers the goods, action from page one. His writing style is not overdrawn, but instead is kept minimal to complement the story alone.

The villain is frightening, complex, and powerful. There's enough imagination and depth to it that it stays with you after the last page has been closed. Supportin...more
Jason Reeser
Yet another solid offering by Koontz. It is, at times, brilliant, ambitious, corny, disturbing, fun, gory, touching, and a bit over the top. These are all things I love about his books. The author adds a note at the end saying he wishes he'd never written it since it was the last nail in the coffin that labeled him as a horror writer. Well, it wasn't quite horror for me, not with everything he added into it. But I suppose he does have a tendency towards horror, but with more heart and soul than...more
Margo Kelly
Loved it.

If you're a fan of the t.v. series "Lost" - - this 1983 book by Koontz explains the plot of Lost... ha ha (in my humble opinion!).

The only reason I did not give it five stars is because the language worsens near the end and there were a lot of negative religious parts to the storyline. But, hey, it's a horror story. And, good won out in the end!

I've read afterwords by Dean Koontz where he's explained that he's never afraid to explore issues of death and evil in his books because he wil...more
John
Dean Koontz's bibliography includes several masterpieces, as well as the occasional stinker.
PHANTOMS happens to be one of the masterpieces.
The set-up was so unbelievably good that I figured the book would probably take a nosedive somewhere around the midway point. Then, when the middle section was just as great, I braced myself to be let down by the ending. Once I realized that Koontz was going to completely pull it off, it suddenly hit me that PHANTOMS may be the best thing Koontz has ever writ...more
Melissa Frey
I did not enjoy this book at all. Koontz's writing style was uninteresting in my opinion. Plus, he overused some words so much that they became distracting (in the least).
Trevor Firetog
An amazing book! Genuinely scary. A good slow burn combined with heart-pounding suspense.

My only gripe (and this is not a gripe about the book itself, but rather the author, Mr. Koontz) is his afterward. Depending on which edition of the book you read, you'll find an afterward written by him in which he claims that he wishes he never wrote Phantoms, because it's what labeled him as a "horror writer". He then goes on to insult horror as a genre.

Though it has nothing to do with the novel itself, I...more
Lisa
It is hard for me to rate this book. This was a selection that my book club read, not something I would have picked on my own. First of all there were a lot of typos in the book and that drove me insane. And I usually do not notice much of that sort of thing. Secondly this is my first DeaN Koontz book that I read. I think the man needs a psych consult. It amazing that someone could have an imagination like this. I enjoyed the book, in as far as the writing kept me very interested, it was a defin...more
Carl Alves
If you watched that weak effort put forth by Ben Affleck in the movie adaptation of Phantoms, you probably won’t be interested in reading the book, but trust me, you would be making a mistake. As with many of Koontz’s earlier works, this one really hits the mark. The story starts with Jennifer Paige and her sister Lisa returning to Jennifer’s home town in California only to find the town abandoned, Jennifer’s housekeeper dead and a host of dead bodies littering the town. It would seem like a vir...more
Kristi
What a truly gruesome book! It was awesome! It's been a long time since I"ve read a book that could make me cringe and give me the creeps as much as this one did.

Koontz and King continue to be my 2 favorite authors for accompling both. Though they get the job done in ways unique to themselves.

I've read a lot of Koontz's books over the years, but most of them have been more recently written. I'm not sure I ever knew Koontz could be as gruesome as this.

It was violent, senselessly violent, and t...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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“Maybe the devil in human beings isn't the reflection of the devil, perhaps the devil is only a reflection of the savagery and brutality of our kind. Maybe what we've done is create the devil in our own image” 9 likes
“There's no use wasting are energy being afraid of the devils, demons and things that go bump in the night... Because ultimately we'll never encounter anything more terrifying than the monster among us. Hell is where we make it.” 9 likes
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