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Sole Survivor

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  24,065 Ratings  ·  617 Reviews
Joe Carpenter's wife and two children perished with more than three hundred others in the crash of United Airlines Flight 353. But one year later, haunted by the loss of his family and desperate to find purpose in life, he discovers that the official story of Flight 353 is a treacherous lie.

They say it was an accident. It was not. They say there were no survivors: that the
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published January 9th 1997 by Headline (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

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Rating details
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Jul 16, 2016 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 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 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.
Oct 20, 2015 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
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
I really like this book. It brings to mind elements from Watchers, False Memory, The Eyes of Darkness, Fear Nothing, From the Corner of His Eye, The Silent Corner and Stephen King's Firestarter. A story of loss and hope, with glimpses of alternate realities.

While Sole Survivor doesn't make it into my personal top ten favorite Dean Koontz books, I find it a fine achievement and a beautiful work.

Favorite Passages:

Out of the thin blood-filtered light, into the hallway where a funerary stillness o
Nov 19, 2010 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.
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
Michael Jensen
Sep 21, 2015 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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: koontz, re-read, 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
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, horror
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.
Paul Wardman
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 stars.
This is my first Dean Koontz novel so I didn't know what to expect. Upon finishing the book it was like reading Stephen King crossed with Harlen Coben, with a sprinkle of Michael Chrichton added for good measure.

Reading the synopsis made this sound like your typical thriller novel. A shocking revelation, a character un-equip to deal with what is thrown at him. You expect lots of plot twists and an ending you couldn't predict if you had fifty guesses. You got most of this, but what m
Jenny Jo Weir
So...yeah about that.
Um, well...I'm not going to lie, this was a bit over my head. I mean, I think I get it but it was a tad out there and I might be a bit confused on a few things though I really liked the message in the least I think I do.
Again, sorry but it left me wondering about a whole lot...and I didn't exactly like wondering what happens to the other party. Is it just me or is there a second book that gives answers? It seemed like the beginning of a series but I don't see any o
Nov 04, 2010 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
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
Ken Campbell
Aug 02, 2015 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
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.
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book from the start. I remembered there had been a movie years ago on this book starting Billy Zane, but luckily my memory of it was vague so the book wasn't spoiled. There were certain parts that tested my patience. The end was a bit anti-climatic, it could've ended better. Hence the four stars. Otherwise, I totally recommend it!
Tara Kable
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dean-koontz
Fantastic book! Loved it!
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 403

Publisher - Bantam Books

Source - The Works

Blurb from Goodreads

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 secret that will bring Jo
Sean McBride
I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I go back and forth with Koontz, because his story ideas are always out there and strange (which is a good thing), but his prose is a bit self aggrandizing. He strives to infuse deeper meaning within his suspenseful plots, and sometimes it just falls flat. That is exactly what happens with the end of this novel. It isn't as fast paced as I thought it would be, but it was beautifully twisty and had a truly intriguing plot. The end of the story just unravels ...more
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read anything by Koontz for some time, so was once again struck by the poetry of his writing. There is simply no redundancy in the structure of his sentences, and even though his detailing can be overdone in some instances, it is always a pleasure to read such talent. For example, "In a clock tick, the future was no longer a kingdom of possibility and wonder, but a yoke of obligation - and only the unattainable past offered a hospitable place to live." He must have amazed is English te ...more
Dec 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I'd say it's his best book along with Watchers. That said, even Koontz's best books leave a lot to be desired. Good for an entertaining fast read on an overnight flight (and then leave it behind on the plane).
It was very exciting and scary... until it introduced God and the Hereafter. I lost interest but I did finish it.
Sarath Krishnan
Oct 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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 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
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Koontzland - Dean...: Sole Survivor (Group Read - September 2012) 31 94 Sep 27, 2015 07:51PM  
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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.” 10 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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