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on 2 May 2014
Dean Koontz is one of my favourite horror writers, I find his books easier to read than Stephen King as Koontz seems to make a point to keep is plots quiet neat and relatively uncomplicated. Focusing instead on his characters. Phantoms is another triumph for Dean Koontz. This book definitely reminded me of the the greatest Dean Koontz book ever , "Watchers". Dean Koontz's interest in scientific research and it's possibilities are a solid theme in this book and the characters beautifully written as usual, with flaws and vulnerabilities that encourage the readers intimacy with them. Even the necessary "Baddie" pulls moments of empathy from the reader which seem to make any inevitable nefarious actions all the more horrific. With many of Dean Koontz's more recent books I would only recommend them to die hard Koontz and King fans, but in the case of Phantoms I would recommend to all readers with a taste for horror. I have yet to find a Koontz book that rivals Watchers, however Phantoms does hit the spot quite nicely. The book left me feeling a little pensive and thinking "what if?"... But sadly no dogs in this one. I hope you enjoy.
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on 17 May 2015
This is an amazing book by Dean Koontz. Certainly one of his best by a long way. The majority of his books are good and hugely entertaining. This is one of the best horror stories I have ever read.

Jenny Paige, a doctor and her sister Lisa drive back home into the small mountain town of Snowfield in Northern California, to find the entire population has vanished. Vanished, that is, apart from a few mutilated bodies that are lying around, and judging by the expression on their faces, killed before they had time to register what had come to kill them.

The build up is so extraordinarily good that I kept expecting it to dwindle out somewhere in the middle. It didn’t. Koontz ability to keep the tension racked up is astonishing; the steadiness of tension and dread never lets up. It’s not just a roller coaster of a read, it’s actually like being on the roller coaster. You know what’s coming next…and yet you don’t….You want to know what’s coming next…and yet you don’t.

When midway he introduced more characters, I thought it might just diminish the flow of horror, but even though they are all fundamentally different to the mainstream characters, and have a relatively complex interaction with them, it only served to keep the story alive instead of holding it back.

It’s one of his earlier books, written in the days before he had his well know love affair with super intelligent golden dogs - it has mystery, horror, gore, suspense, mythology, quasi religious undertones, science, and also draws on actual mysterious disappearances that have occurred throughout the centuries. It’s definitely up there with my other two favourite Koontz books: the mighty ‘Watchers’ and the soulful ”Odd Thomas’.

I have to say I would have liked the ending to be a little different, but that took nothing away from my enjoyment of it. The irony was not lost.

If you love a good down to earth horror story and coupled with maybe a few good old down to earth nightmares, then this is for you.
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on 14 August 1999
It was a while ago that I read this book but I remember it being the best horror book I've ever read. It really gripped me from the first few pages and I just felt compelled to keep reading. The story was enough to send a chill down you're spine while you read (unlike other horror books I've read). All in all I highly recommend this book to horror fans.
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on 7 July 2005
"Writing PHANTOMS was one of the 10 biggest mistakes of my life, ranking directly above the incident with the angry porcupine and the clown, about which I intend to say nothing more."
- author's afterword, US paperback edition
Although Koontz wrote several books under pen names in the interim, PHANTOMS was the first book under his own name since WHISPERS. Since the publishing powers-that-be squawked whenever he produced a book differing from the previous book's perceived genre, he deliberately attempted a very different book from WHISPERS here. Ironically, PHANTOMS shackled him to the horror genre label for years to come.
PHANTOMS was meant to be an over-the-top horror story, with a full-blown monster but with a scientific explanation for everything that takes place. (Good luck working *that* out before the Big Exposition Scene, though.) Whether or not there are supernatural aspects to the monster, there are definitely scuzzy human villains littering the landscape. To crank up the tension, the story takes place in a very compressed timeframe once the action begins.
Drive-in totals (as Joe Bob Briggs, movie reviewer extraordinaire, would say)
- Small town? Check.
- Everybody missing except a handful of main characters? Check.
- Dismembered, mostly missing bodies, with occasionally body parts artistically planted where the characters have just passed through to add that special "we're being watched by a psycho" touch.
- Romance subplot, being Koontz.
Mind you, a lot of that would also apply to JURASSIC PARK, which didn't seem to be hurting any the last I knew. Still, if you read this one alone on a dark night, don't come crying to me if you can't sleep. You've been warned.
Not my cup of tea, but tastes differ.
Frankly, if Koontz didn't have extraordinarily bad luck with Hollywood (his plots generally seem to be dismembered in translation), I'd have expected this to make a successful film; Koontz tends to use lots of concrete visual imagery, which *ought* to simplify matters.
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on 13 March 2001
I saw the film and without realising i bought the book. If i thought the film was creepy, the book is terrifying. Koontz's descriptions makes you feel as if you are there or if he's is telling the story from experience. If you like horror and want to try a Koontz book then this should be the first you try.
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on 10 September 2002
I never used to read much until I was given a huge pile of books from a friend who was going to throw them out - even then I didn't get round to reading any until one night nursing Insomnia I decided to read one - starting with Phantoms, I've got to say I loved it from the word go. Straight into the action and truly terrifying. I felt a bit stupid at first but it really is scary. However the ending isn't all that fascinating as the rest but still good. Full of twists and puzzles I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a god horror novel - well its got me started anyway!
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on 11 May 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed this book; it kept me up at night and freaked me out about something being so UN-natural and yet at the same time horrifyingly believable. It worked on all the right levels; taking base fears and exploiting them to the extreme. By the end I was anxious over even continuing reading.

I will say that the final chapter was rushed and, though somewhat relevant to the plot, could have been written with the same context just worded differently.
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on 10 October 2004
IF you're a fan or horror and suspense, this book has got the lot.
What has happened to the town of Snowfield? Why has half the town vanished, and the remaining souls found dead in bizarre circumstances. ??
A gripping read that forces you to turn that next page. A well written horror that stabs at your fears and leaves you feeling rather alone and "venerable" in the house after you have put it down.
When books leave me with an after effect like this, I know I have be thoroughly entertained and my mind suitably messed with.
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on 28 June 2004
I've read horror on and off for years and I can't say that many horror books manage to scare me. This book is different. Koontz delivers characters that you actually care about, with depth and feeling and places them in a nightmare that has you wondering what could happen next and hoping that they will make it.
He is a wonderful writer and this is well worth reading even if horror is not your usual genre.
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on 3 March 2013
Whilst I love Dean's books he does go over board on the "good will out" side of things. Life is dark and getting darker.Iwish he would cut some of the much out of his writing. There is always characters who become a cliché of right and " good old home town values. Some of them are so saccharine they make me sick!
It's a very good book, but I just wish he could cut the good will win out side some times.Life is not like that, sass to say.
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