Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Phantoms” as Want to Read:
Phantoms
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Phantoms

by
3.95  ·  Rating details ·  66,184 ratings  ·  1,389 reviews
“Phantoms is gruesome and unrelenting…It’s well realized, intelligent, and humane.”—Stephen King

They found the town silent, apparently abandoned. Then they found the first body, strangely swollen and still warm. One hundred fifty were dead, 350 missing. But the terror had only begun in the tiny mountain town of Snowfield, California.

At first they thought it was the work of
...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published February 5th 2002 by Berkley (first published March 1983)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Phantoms, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Keion Read Stephen King's Desperation. There are similar themes; good vs. evil, cops, God and demons.…moreRead Stephen King's Desperation. There are similar themes; good vs. evil, cops, God and demons.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Alejandro
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  66,184 ratings  ·  1,389 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Phantoms
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
...more
Jonathan Janz
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Edward Lorn
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 out of 5

First things first, let’s break out the checklist to see how Koontzian this book is.

1. Blond lead/love interest - Nope
2. Dog(s) – Yup (but these Fidos aren’t smart)
3. Government conspiracy - Nope
4. Aliens - Nope
5. Serial Killer – Nope (but there are a few psychopath so I’ll let you decide if they count)
6. Bougainvillea plant - Nope
7. Sodium-vapor streetlight – Yup (numerous times! In fact, this might have the most mentions of sodium-vapor out of every Koontz book ever)
8. Precocious c
...more
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
...more
Deanna
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
...more
Karl Marberger
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Some pretty creepy parts, and a cool monster.

But it dragged. Most of the novel is the characters speculating, theorizing, deducing and discussing the nature of the monster. There could have been less of this and more monster action.

Working toward the climax turned into a chore because I was turned off.
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

...more
Matt
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: media-ebooks
Reading Dean Koontz is some kind of a mixed bag for me. I only read a few his books and there were hits and there were misses. This one was the best. I read it 25 years ago for the first time (in German) and liked it quite a bit. Now that I read it again (in English) I liked it even more.

A horror novel as it should be.

Probably – or should I say hopefully? – it’s not a novel that is inducing nightmares. In fact, it was quite the opposite for me. A few days ago, the night before I read the book, I
...more
Aaron Nash
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Dean
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Dean Koontz and his books...

And I know that lots of reviews at goodreads doesn't seem to accompany adequately my sentiments....
Nevertheless boldly as I'm here comes my humble review!!!
First of all let me say that with "Phantoms" you have here vintage Koontz, I mean a classic piece for what Dean Koontz books stands and are loved for....

Snowfield, a little town in California will be haunted by unspeakable evil, and a small group of survivors fights against it!!!!

That's all.....

Let me say,
...more
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. ...more
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
Paul E. Morph
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In my teens, Dean Koontz was one of my favourite authors. I couldn't get enough. Them, for some reason, I stopped reading his stuff when my twenties hit. I honestly don't know why I stopped picking up his stuff but, after a decade or so, I think I assumed there must have been a reason I stopped and twenty three years went by without my picking up a Koontz novel.

Fast forward to 2018 and 'Phantoms' kept showing up on my Goodreads feed. Often enough that I figured 'what the Hell' and bought a copy.
...more
Reese Copeland
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Imaginative, original, artfully written. An incredible vision of possibility. The movie does not compare, but Liv Schriber was excellent in it.
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
Quite an impressive history was created for the mysterious enemy and an interesting religious explanation to who the devil could be. Eerie mountain setting.

Favorite Passages:

Severed hands. Severed heads.
_______

Better safe than sorry; a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush; fools rush in where angels fear to tread . . . He had a million maxims. They were, to him, lightposts marking the one safe route, and beyond those lights lay only a cold void of risk, chance, and chaos.
_______

Waves of re
...more
Brian
Aug 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
* 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
Javi
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
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
...more
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!

...more
Erica
I'm not really understanding why a lot of people don't like Dean Koontz writing, because I really love this book. Kudos to you, Mr. Koontz. ...more
Dawn
I found this just ok. Probably because it was written in 1983 and read by me 35yrs later in 2018. I can imagine in 1983 it was more scary, relevant and original - it feels dated now, I don't think this genre ages that well. It's not terrible though, in fact the first part that sets the scene in the (now) creepy deserted town of Snowfield, slowly revealing more strange & awful things is great.
I'm always unsure how to rate books like this; I'm thinking 2 stars, but if I'd read it in the late 80s/e
...more
John Paxton
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
This novel was definitely better than the movie version. Very suspenseful and easy to get hooked.
Mike King
Nov 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Fred
Sep 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: movie, html-href, horror
Koonzland Group Read - March 2020

How could 500 people disappear from the town of Snowfield, Colorado? 150 were dead, 350 missing.

Dr. Jennifer Paige is closer to Lisa (her adolescent sister) after mom has died. Jenn & Lisa find dead bodies but too many missing people. Mostly cops (Lt. Tal Whitman, Sheriff Byryce Hammond, Gordy Brogan, Frank Autry) track the missing but cannot determine - what is "IT"!

They track a message found, "Timothy Flyte, The Ancient Enemy", the doctor's explanation, say
...more
Rick
Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
...more
Chad Schimke
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Phantoms by Dean Koontz (1983)
Heavily influenced by Lovecraft, two sisters return home to find everyone mutilated or missing. Their town was built over the den of amoeboid shapeshifter that mimics and consumes life forms.
https://chadschimke.blogspot.com/2019...
Phantoms
...more
Brett Talley
Nov 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
...more
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
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
William
Mar 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: horror fans
Shelves: horror-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Bad Place
  • The House of Thunder
  • The Servants of Twilight
  • The Door to December
  • The Mask
  • The Face of Fear
  • The Key to Midnight
  • Icebound
  • Shadowfires
  • The Eyes of Darkness
  • Chase
  • Happy Dark Year
  • Shadows
  • Relentless
  • Yard Work
  • 77 Shadow Street (Pendleton, #1)
  • She Will Rise
  • Sleepwalk
See similar books…
28,856 followers
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, the author of many #1 New York Times bes
...more

Related Articles

Summer is a great time to lose yourself in a page-turning mystery. To help you sleuth out a new read, we asked five of the season’s hottest...
71 likes · 29 comments
“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” 21 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.” 13 likes
More quotes…