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Phantoms

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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  58,806 Ratings  ·  1,024 Reviews
An ancient, awesome force has spirited away almost the entire population of Snowfield, a small town in California. The bodies of those remaining have been bizarrely disfigured. What hope can there be for the few people still alive? — The lights are on in Snowfield, California, a cozy ski village nestled in the Sierra Madres, but nobody seems to be home. When Dr. Jenny Paig ...more
Paperback, 426 pages
Published October 1st 1983 by Berkley (first published March 1983)
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Alejandro
Dec 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jonathan Janz
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm fiercely competitive. Like, ridiculously competitive. To the point where I choose a favorite, and from that point on I'm squarely behind that favorite until the bitter end.

The Chicago Cubs.

Star Wars.

Stephen King.

You get the picture.

Problem is, this causes me to miss out on things that threaten the supremacy of my favorites. For several months I avoided The Lord of the Rings movies because I was afraid they'd be better than the original Star Wars trilogy. Then, when they were better, I d
...more
Dede
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
This reminded me so much of old school King that it's automatically in the keeper pile.

10/10 would read again. :D

Emma
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another long-time-later reread for me. It has some great scares and made me think twice about turning off my reading light, but it doesn't have the kick of Midnight or the cleverness of Watchers. Still worth a read for the few pants-crapping moments and well written gory detail.
Scarlet Cameo
Oct 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Scarlet Cameo by: Siobhan
Shelves: rc-15
"En este pueblo esta pasando algo condenadamente extraño, algo con lo que nadie se ha encontrado antes"

Conocí este libro gracias a que pedí que alguien me recomendara un libro que fuera aterrador, y vaya que para esa recomendación este libro funcionó, pero vamos ¿Qué tan fácil es lograr que un libro me de miedo? Muy sencillo, dame suficientes argumentos para que crea que puede pasar. No importa sí me estas diciendo que cerdos zombies voladores están atacando Suiza, hazme creer que puede pasar
...more
Aaron Nash
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't yet understand the hate for Koontz. Currently I have read three of his novels ; midnight, watchers and now this one, and I have thoroughly enjoyed each of them. Maybe I peaked too soon with his best works. Hopefully not.

For me, this was a cracking read. The first 100 pages or so were filled with dread, and so tension filled. I felt like I was there with the two sisters, as they explored the town and discovered the horrors within. It was damn creepy and really atmospheric. As more charac
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Reese Copeland
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Imaginative, original, artfully written. An incredible vision of possibility. The movie does not compare, but Liv Schriber was excellent in it.
Brad
Mar 25, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Javi
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the unknown
This is the book that put Dean Koontz on the map as a horror writer, for better or for worse, the horror story against which most of his later books would be compared to. And no, he didn't disapppoint- it's a downright scary book and unequivocally horrific at times. This was my first Koontz book and I read it when I was very young, and boy, it scared the living shit out of me. Maybe because of this I've come to grow really fond of the book and I recently re-read it for old times sake...and it wa ...more
Daniel
Apr 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Matt Garcia
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a reread for me and it was, once again, fantastic. One of Koontz's best. Fans of Lovecraft and early King will love it.
Brian
Aug 24, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
* 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
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
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
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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
Rick
Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kathy
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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!!!
Thomas Strömquist
My first Dean (R.) Koontz, I was 17 and the world would never be the same again. Unfortunately, it was also the outstandingly best effort from the author, who did manage some more really great books before something utterly inexplicable happened to his works.

Admittedly, this loses some pace at the end (when we learn "what it's all about") but the beginning and ramp up of the story! Wow!

Bill
Jan 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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.
Daavid
3.5 Stars

My not-for-children fiction reading took off in the summer of 1993 with Stephen King's Christine. Yes! the HoRrOR Genre!! And by 2001, I had completed reading about eight SK books (plus a couple of others, one-or-two here-and-there, and a few short stories by Edgar Allan Poe and M. R. James. With all those synapses for horror benchmark created, I then read Dean Koontz, and disliked The Voice of the Night, followed by Winter Moon, also slightly disappointing. Having realized, Koontz
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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
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Wendi
Mar 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Mike King
Nov 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
JennyB Wolfer
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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William
Mar 22, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  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.
Lisa
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This has to be Dean Koontz at his best horror yet i loved it was hooked from start to finish . What is happening is Snowville that is what Jenny & Lisa Paige want to find out Everything is deserted & an eeriness is present
DO NOT READ WITH THE LIGHTS OUT well written Characters are strong & plot was good read at your own peril loved loved loved
The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)
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 no
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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
Graham Wilhauk
For my first Dean Koontz book, I am EXTREMELY impressed. This BARELY missed a 4 out of 5 stars and I may even change that later. However, this book was a blast to read. The mystery story of a town in California becoming a ghost town through disappearances and deaths was a chilling one. Going into this book, I heard almost everybody comparing Dean Koontz to Stephen King and it does show. He does like to mystery and suspense to his advantage and loves to sends chills down your back. I don't think ...more
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  • The Voice of the Night
  • The Fall of the Dream Machine / The Star Venturers (Ace Double, 22600)
  • The Dean Koontz Companion
  • Darkness
  • Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, Volume 1: Prodigal Son
  • Chase
  • Children of the Storm
  • The Wolf's Hour
  • Island
  • Floating Dragon
9355
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
More about Dean Koontz...
“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” 15 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
More quotes…