Betsy Butler's Reviews > 77 Shadow Street

77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz
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Mar 01, 2012

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Read in January, 2012

The protagonist in this Dean Koontz story is a mansion named Belle Vista, which was built in the late 1800’s on a site named Shadow Hill, a site relevant to the native Indians who lived in the area for generations prior to Europeans arriving. The mansion was re-named the Pendleton in the 70’s, when it was converted to 22 condominiums, in honor of the wealthy man who originally built it.

The Pendleton has a horrid past made possible by it’s even more retched future. Koontz blends haunted house horror with a smidgen of thriller in the vein of science fiction. It is horror based on modern technology innovated in the name of good, making it one of the most interesting twists on the classic “good versus evil” I have ever read, because the good and the evil are not represented in people, but rather ideas. If I say any more than that, I’ll spoil it for you!

In addition, there is no “hook” or “climax” as you might have come to expect from reading other stories in similar genres (be it science fiction, horror, or thriller). Rather than bringing the reader to a spectacular climax, Koontz chooses instead to drop clues throughout the text like bread crumbs on a trail. The reader is provided plenty of data to figure it out along with the brave and determined residents. But taking the time to ponder what Koontz is telling us requires some patience and thoughtful consideration. The intent of 77 Shadow Street is not to just entertain, but to get us thinking more broadly.

However, Koontz also drags us through the minute details of every resident in the Pendleton and had he focused the minutiae on the one or two more interesting resident characters and left us guessing for the others, it would have been a less tedious read.

Opening Line: Bitter and drunk, Earl Blandon, a former United States senator, got home at 2:15 A.M. that Thursday with a new tattoo: a two-word obscenity in blue block letters between the knuckles of the middle finger of his right hand.
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