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Reviews of Phantoms (1983)

Review by nzilla (2006-08-17)
Phantoms is the first, and as of yet only, Dean Koontz novel that I have read. While I was reading, I kept noticing that the book could have used being read over by a copy editor. There were numerous small mistakes. Some of them could have just been the edition I have, but some of them probably were not. Anyway, the mistakes were pretty trivial. Dean Koontz seams to have a knack for developing his characters without spending pages and pages away from the action. Unfortunately, all of his characters are little more than stereotypes. Also, none of the characters seem to have ever watched a horror movie, but I suppose that is usual for the genre. The beginning of Phantoms is very atmospheric, creepy, and scary. (Now I see where the get blurbs from. They could take "'Atmospheric, creepy and scary.' --nzilla" from this review.) Towards the middle, the book gets extremely tedious and trite as the Chemical/Biological Warfare squad is called in. Luckily, they don't last too long and the book starts to pick up again. It's no longer scary, but it explains what the Phantoms are. Dean Koontz's explanation for what the Lovecraftian phantoms are is very well thought out and convincing, actually. There is a sideplot that ultimately feels tacked-on and pointless, but it is less painful than the CBW squad part. The book does have a couple small plotholes, but I suppose you could explain them even though they are not explained in the text. Phantoms is predictable and the people who survive are pretty much the ones you expect to, but all in all, I would say that Phantoms is a decent read for fans of the horror genre, though probably not for others. 6/10

©Steven Jeffery /, 2017
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