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A haunting, interesting, and intriguing novel

  • Dec 26, 2011
Dean Koontz is a best-selling writer who generally, but not always, writes novels that are somewhat haunting books filled with the supernatural, or, if not supernatural, the unusual. This book is no exception. The title itself alerts readers that they are about to encounter the uncanny. The number 7 has, probably, since the beginning of time struck people as being in some ways the secret of the universe. They saw seven heavenly bodies, other than the stars: the sun, moon, and five of the planets. The body is, by their calculation, comprised of seven parts: the head, two arms, two legs, and the upper and lower body torsos, the first good, the second bad. Thus, they used the number seven as an almost magic number in hundreds of ways, some indicating good and some bad, because the world and the human body are comprised of good and bad. Thus, the double 77 when combined with the word shadow indicates something especially bad. The shadow for many ancients was the dark side. Lacking the understanding of simple science, many thought of it as evil and dark, the hidden part of people.

This story takes place in a building with many condominiums, very expensive and usually luxurious. The inhabitants are strange, as Koontz lets us see. The building is quite old. It started as the home of a billionaire, when a billionaire meant a man with a large fortune. It passed at his death to different people and ultimately was redesigned as condominiums. But something is wrong. Every 38 years, around the same date, for a couple of days, there is rumbling as if there is an earthquake under it, and people disappear or are found dead. The novel opens when this is happening.

Koontz, as previously stated, introduces us to close to a dozen sometimes very queer inhabitants. Some of them are quite likeable. Others are despicable, including a murderer. But one character is seemingly all-powerful, seemingly omniscient, above the fray, insisting on controlling the inhabitants of his world, named ONE, evoking the title applied to God. He is manipulating all that is occurring. We read what he says, but we don't know who or where he is or why he acts as he does, at least not until far later in the book. Thus, because of ONE, the inhabitants, or some of them, die or disappear every 38 years, five times the magic number 7 plus the magic number 3. And thus, because of ONE, past events that occurred in the building on 77 Shadow Street are seen by the current inhabitants, and so too the future of the building flows downwards into the present.

Is this supernatural or something else? Is ONE a demon, a saint, God, or something or someone else? Where is he? And what happens to the inhabitants of 77 Shadow Street and why?
A haunting, interesting, and intriguing novel A haunting, interesting, and intriguing novel A haunting, interesting, and intriguing novel

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December 26, 2011
Interesting review !
About the reviewer
Israel Drazin ()
Ranked #64
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of twenty books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four … more
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I am the One, the all and the only. I live in the Pendleton as surely as I live everywhere. I am the Pendleton’s history and its destiny. The building is my place of conception, my monument, my killing ground. . . .

The Pendleton stands on the summit of Shadow Hill at the highest point of an old heartland city, a Gilded Age palace built in the late 1800s as a tycoon’s dream home. Almost from the beginning, its grandeur has been scarred by episodes of  madness, suicide, mass murder, and whispers of things far worse. But since its rechristening in the 1970s as a luxury apartment building, the Pendleton has been at peace. For its fortunate residents—among them a successful songwriter and her young son, a disgraced ex-senator, a widowed attorney, and a driven money manager—the Pendleton’s magnificent quarters are a sanctuary, its dark past all but forgotten.

But now inexplicable shadows caper across walls, security cameras relay impossible images, phantom voices mutter in strange tongues, not-quite-human figures lurk in the basement, elevators plunge  into unknown depths. With each passing hour, a terrifying certainty grows: Whatever drove the Pendleton’s past occupants to their unspeakable fates is at work again. Soon, all those within its boundaries will be engulfed by a dark tide from which few have escaped.

Dean Koontz transcends all expectations as he takes readers on a gripping journey to a place where nightmare visions ...

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