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Tick Tock

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  29,528 ratings  ·  948 reviews
Tommy Phan, a successful detective novelist, comes home one evening to find a small rag doll on his doorstep. That night, with the popping of two stitches, something terrifying will emerge to tear apart the fabric of Tommy's reality--and his life. Updated author Web site at
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 20th 1996 by Random House (NY) (first published January 1st 1996)
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3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  29,528 ratings  ·  948 reviews

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Dec 06, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Creepy fun reading!


This is a great novel, only that curiously when I bought this book, I bought also, another novel by Dean Koontz titled "Life Expectancy" (you can see my review of that book here: Life Expectancy .

I comment this, since I found both novels quite similar.

Not exactly the general story and developing but the mood of the storyline.

I totally adored Life Expectancy and I jumped right after that book to read this one and I was like "Mmh, I'm feeling lik
Do you like horror and suspense but are looking for something light and humorous in the genre? Did you just finish a massive, heavy novel and you need a quick getaway? Give Tick Tock a try - it is clever, unusual, and often hilarious. You may or may not like it, but does it hurt to give it a try?
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, horror
Tommy Phan buys a new Corvette and, pleased with his purchase, he cruises around for awhile in his dream car. After he gets home the doorbell at the front of his house rings. When he answers the door no one is there, but someone has left a strange cloth doll with a note attached to it on his doorstep. After bringing the doll into his house Tommy lives to regret it.

This was a fast-paced, sometimes funny, and really strange read. It was sort of a horror-comedy. I liked Tommy. I enjoyed his inner t
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this years ago and I found it thrilling! 9 of 10 stars
Mar 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
What a mess. This book is just all over the place. From the nonsensical story line, to the overly goofy characters, Everything in this book can't seem to make up it's mind about what to be. It's not scary enough to be a horror novel, and the strangeness and bad puns want to make it a comedy, but it isn't very funny. I really feel as though the major plot points were chosen at random, perhaps through the "pull some words out of a hat and make a story about them" method. You can make a good story ...more
May 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My first Dean Koontz book, and what an introduction! This book defines what Dean Koontz is all about. He'll reel you in from the first page to the very end, transport you into a world that you're so sure is this but turns out to be that. In this book you actually begin to fear a stupid little rag doll that is more terrifying than Penny Wise (from Stephen King's It) and terribly persistent, and when you find out who's controlling it... Honestly? This book will slap you over and over and over, and ...more
It's very absurd, fast-paced and engaging. A book which you can read in a few hours, not be bored, put it away and then read it again after a month or two because you've already forgotten it. Quick, fun, ideal for travel.
Sep 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I wasn't particularly crazy about this the first time I read it. It's an odd book with some slightly bizarre humor. I knew that he wrote this because the other books he was writing got too intense but I was intrigued by the afterword. Apparently his goal with this was to combine a supernatural thriller with screwball comedy. This explains soooo much.

This book is the sole reason that I always hesitate over bringing an unknown package into the house, even though I read it over 15 years ago.

Tommy P
Bark (2 Dumb 2 Read Blurbs)
Nov 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
This review is for the abridged audiobook version. I keep meaning to get around to reading the entire book but something else always grabs my attention and the narrator read this book with such glee that I'm afraid I'd be disappointed.

Tommy Phan has just about everything he ever dreamed of; a successful career as a novelist, a brand new Corvette, and all the trappings that money can buy. His life would be perfect if only his Mother would stop making him feel guilty for forgetting his Vietnamese
Sep 27, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book offends me greatly. I was offended at the first 30 pages of foreigner stereotypes (give a Vietnamese mother a food obsession, over-protectedness and an inability to form predicates despite otherwise idiomatic English and you get Koontz' ridiculously pathetic attempt at being "diverse.") Hideous!

As horror it's also pathetic. Too much happens too soon. There's no build-up or tension. An inane monster (sort of) terrorizes two idiots when they're not engaged in the most banal dialogue ever
Sep 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is about a man named Tommy who lives in California. One night he gets a doll that shows up on his door step. Then out of no where it comes alive and is on a mission to kill Tommy. Now, Tommy is running for his life meeting new people and trying to figure out why this thing is trying to kill him.
This book kept me reading because I wanted to know what would happen to Tommy and if he would survive the evil doll trying to kill him. I tryed to predict the ending, but predicting is a 50/50 c
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not going to lie, when I first read this years ago I actually loved it. I see the weaknesses now in the re-read though and gave this four stars. Also there is a dog and I just maybe sighed so hard I caused my poor cat's fur to ruffle. Aside: Not my fault she likes to get close when I am reading. Tick Tock actually shows that Koontz has a sense of humor. There are parts of this that are funny though when you find out the why behind this mess you are going to shake your head.

"Tick Tock" has Tommy
Feb 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dean Koontz created a real page turner in TICK TOCK. Heck, even the cover art works well with the book on this one. It's an all around winner. I'll tell you up front one complaint that keeps it from being a 5 star - it's only one book.

The book chronicles the night from hell for Tommy Phan. Starting with the purchase of his first corvette the ride just keeps going from there.

This book is not what it seems at first. When I picked this up I expected a horror story, with focus on Tommy and a demonic
Janie Johnson
In the beginning, the first 25 pages or so, the book seemed to be a little wordy, a little draggy, and then boom you enter a world of doom with a creepy little white demon doll! Chapter 2 was definitely the highlight of the book for me.

I thought it was pretty cool how Tommy compared himself to his detective character in his book. He was the complete opposite of him, but you could tell he wanted to be like him. He had a great character in the story, but I would have liked to see him become a stro
Adrianna [SypherLily]
Feb 13, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Let me just make a list:
Stereotypical on race. Poorly executed horror/comedy mix. Unidentifiable characters. A think-as-I-go plot. Nonexistent world/environment building and character development. Laughable romance, if you can even call it that. An ending not worth reading the slightest. A book I wish I could un-read and have my time back.
Jim C
Oct 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another supernatural story from Dean Koontz. In this novel, Tommy hails from a traditional Vietnamese family but he has become Americanized. His mother doesn't approve of his ways. Without knowing why he is thrust into a supernatural nightmare. If he can live to see the next dawn he will survive this nightmare.

This one was a reread for me. When it first came out I thought it was okay but this time I enjoyed it so much. If you have read this author's books you will recognize all his trademarks li
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Oct 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers who like books with Asian protagonists, Koontz fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: damnfunny
Slapstick horror?

It was a bit like "Bringing Up Baby" meets "Joy Luck Club" meets "Halloween" meets "Close Encounters".

I can't even imagine to whom I might recommend this book because it crossed so many genres. Horror fans would most likely find the banter annoying. Romance readers would most likely be put off by the violence.

But it made me laugh and kept me in suspense and I loved the three main characters - whom I envisioned as Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and scary Mrs. Kim from Gilmore
Madeline K. Worrell
May 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
I read Tick Tock over 20 years ago and now I just finished this on audiobook. I would give the story 3 stars this time.
I love Dean Koontz' wild and zany characters, but I thought the story just wasn't my style.
I'm not a big fan of the terminator gingerbread man.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: genre mixers
First initial thought after finishing this "what the hell just happened". This book started off good! I was totally into it and then, then Del Payne came upon the scene.

"You're a total fruitcake, Del"

That quote not only describes the character of Deliverance "Del" Payne but also acurately describes the book.

The book started off promising Tommy Phan is a likable character with problems that any reader could probably connect with. The horror (I guess you'd call them horror) parts of the book we
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Apr 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
3.0 Stars tick tock
This was my first time reading Koontz and I felt that his writing, characters and plot were pretty average. However, this was still a fun read with a fair amount of good humour. The story moved quickly so I was able to fly through the book quickly.
I’m not sure when I first read this novel in paperback form, but it was probably right around the time it hit the shelves for sale in 1996. I adored it then, and it remained one of my favorite Koontz novels for a very long time.
I thought I would reread it again for the first time since maybe 2000, but this time listen to it in audiobook form. To maybe see if it stood the test of time, and if I loved it just as much. And while I’m not quite so adoring of this novel now, as I see it’s flaws and s
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dean-koontz
When I first joined Goodreads, I had about a good 20 minutes of fun searching books that I had read and giving them ratings based off of memory. Tick Tock was a book I had read like 15 years ago and I had recalled enjoying it a lot so I gave it five stars. I remember there being a doll that morphs into a monster that chases the main character around and my memory seemed to recall that it was one of the best Koontz books I'd read at the time.

So now I read it again. I was excited to do so. The fi
Courtney Hoover
Jul 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of Koontz's more fun, adventurous, pulse-ounding books with lots of unexpected twists and turns to it. As I was reading it, I kept calling it an 'odd book but pretty good,' which is still how I feel about it for the most part. It's a mixture of sci-fi and horror but always with some levity in it and a great Koontz adventure that will leave you breathless with an added element of humor and just a bit of romance. There's an interesting "Note to the reader" at the end of the book that s ...more
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
Everything is more than it seems, but nothing is as mysterious as it appears to be. -Chapter 6

Reality is what we carry in our hearts.... - Chapter 9

I liked this the second time around better than the first, and even more the third time :-) Originally read in 2009 and re-read when Tick Tock was chosen as the October 2012 Group Read for for the Koontzland - Dean Koontz group. Re-read in October 2014.

I loved the character of Deliverance Payne especially and thought the book was really fun.
Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Just a word of warning, if somebody leaves a creepy, little cloth doll with thread sewn features...don't take it in. Burn it quick...get help...

Koontz writes books the run from fantastic to (in my opinion) almost unreadable. This one is on the plus side. Enjoyable. Though again I wonder, did this guy NEVER read a horror novel or see a horror movie. Never trust creepy dolls.
Samantha Cheney
Mar 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. The only reason I gave it a four is because the beginning started off super interesting then there was a couple chapters that were somewhat boring. I wish the whole book kept me as enthralled as the beginning and the end of the book. I loved the characters in the book and the characters definitely have quite the twist at the end.
It's not my favorite book of Koontz, but it's impossible to forget the great skill of heading you off the place where he always want you most: expectation.
Mar 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, supernatural
I don't recall having read anything by Dean Koontz before. As far as I'm aware, he is regarded as a second-rate version of Stephen King. I am fairly sure I got this impression from my mother, for whom I picked up a copy of Ticktock from a second hand store. Anyway, reading the cover caught my interest and I decided to read it before handing it over.

My initial impression was that Koontz over-described everything. You could cut this 300 page book down to 200 pages and not skip a beat. I've since b
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, horror
Is there any harder genre to pull off than the horror/comedy? Unless you're watching Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead 2 or in Bubba Ho-Tep, you're virtually guaranteed to be left feeling unsatisfied. In Ticktock, the big bad starts out like something from the movie Child's Play and then evolves into a Terminator rip-off. The whole thing has a make-it-up-as-you-go feel to it, and the ending--which comes out of nowhere--is likely to give you a headache in its absurdity. The characters act stupidly, beh ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: Tick Tock by Dean Koontz 3 24 Nov 01, 2015 02:24PM  
Koontzland - Dean...: TICK TOCK (Group Read - November 2014) 30 39 Nov 07, 2014 10:30AM  
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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
“Tommy told Sal about the strange white-cloth figure with black stitches that he had found on the front porch.
"Sounds like Pillsbury Doughboy gone punk," Sal said.”
“The chill, like scurrying spiders, worked deeper into him, weaving webs of ice in the hollows of his bones.” 4 likes
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