David's Reviews > 77 Shadow Street

77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz
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Jan 10, 12

bookshelves: 2012, audiobooks
Read from January 06 to 10, 2012

This review feels like an elegy, to the memory of a great author. Oh, he's still alive and ticking and cranking out a minimum of two novels per year, but that whole period from 1986 through 2005, where he wrote over 25 novels and all but 2 or 3 were excellent - that's over. As one reviewer put it, it's as if Koontz now writes according to his publisher's schedule, rather than polishing creative stories. He still has some winners: Last year's "What the Night Knows" showed a glimpse of vintage Koontz. A few years before that, "Relentless" was an entertaining read. In the past 5 years though, that's it. The rest is a collection of flawed published manuscripts.

One thing Koontz will probably always excel at, as he does here, is in creating a truly original plot. 77 Shadow Street is the address of an apartment building where once every 38 years, the past, present and future collide. There are 1935 phone operators and strange exotic creatures. As the story progresses, what seems absurd becomes coherent. No problems here with the story.

What really brings Koontz down recently are the dialog and inner thoughts - melodramatic and unrealistic - and the characters themselves. This is a motley crew of children who have way too much self awareness, adults who have way too much arrogance and seem to overact without requiring actors to pull this off. Every scene that wasn't describing a direct action was tedious. I've previously complained that Koontz needs to stop writing such short novels and get back to some thicker manuscripts, like this one. However, if he's going to write like this, maybe I should rethink this.

Final thought: As a fellow artist, I respect Koontz's right to write however he wants. He has no obligation to me, the reader. He's earned the right to create whatever he desires. It's up to me to make the adjustment. Unfortunately, I'm not making the adjustment so well here.
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