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review 2017-10-16 16:44
Confusing Book That Has Way Too Many POVs and a Sub-par Ending
77 Shadow Street (with bonus novella The Moonlit Mind) - Dean Koontz

I don't even know what to say. I was tempted to DNF but I really wanted something to get crossed off of my second bingo card so struggled through to the end with this one.


I don't know guys, I think that Koontz has flashes of brilliance in his books, but his later stuff is just him preaching via his characters about whatever he currently has a bug about. This one is just about how advances in technology can lead to the world being wiped out via our scientific advances.


I will say the initial part of the book (the horrific events that occurred at a Gilded Age home over the years) was great. When Koontz got into the characters and dialogue it just fell apart. What's wrong with just writing a straight haunted house mystery? I don't know why Koontz went from that to what this turned into.


"77 Shadow Street" follows a former home eventually turned into condos that every 37 or maybe it was 38 years an event occurs there that leaves all of the inhabitants dead. Now it's about to go through its cycle again. Now called the Pendleton, it is a home for it seems fairly well off people. 


I don't know what to say about the characters. We have a former Marine (of course we do) who is now an investment banker of some sort. Two elderly rich sisters leaving together, a former U.S. Senator, a country music writer and her son, and a woman and her autistic daughter. There is also a retired lawyer, a scientist, and shoot I know I am blanking on at least 4 more people here, but I can't even recall people's names at this point.

I can't even point to a favorite character since we spend so little time with everyone. You maybe get a paragraph or two before Koontz blithely skips to the next character. We also get an info dump via the retired attorney about the history of the Pendleton. I really hate info dumps and this one made no sense to me since who moves into a place where it seems murders keeps happening? 


If Koontz could have limited himself to a first person POV and just had that character introduce us to the other characters it could have worked. When I started reading the one kid's point of view I was just over everything. It doesn't help that we get some bad science via characters too when the happenings at the Pendleton start getting explained. 

Readers quickly find out though that Shadow Street is not what it seems. It appears to also connect to a man calling himself "Witness" and a narrator calling themselves "The One." It takes a while for all of this to sync up so you can figure out what is going on. However, the reveal to me was disappointing.  


The flow started off okay and than just got increasingly worse. The writing was atrocious (dialogue wise) too. I just kept going to myself, who the heck talks like this while I was reading. Everyone sounded like a bad fortune cookie. At one point I thought I was reading an Odd Thomas book since everyone in this book managed to sound like that character at one point or the other. 


The setting of the Pendleton at first was creepy. But when things got explained I found myself in disbelief about how this all got explained. It was overly explained and I called BS on what actions one of the characters did. I think it would have caused some paradox consequences, but I really didn't care at that point cause at least I had finished this book. 


FYI, I skipped reading the novella included since it was a prequel of "77 Shadow Street" called "The Moonlit Mind" and honestly should have maybe been put up front before you get into the longer book. Either way, I was glad to be done and refused to read that. This book ended around the 75 percent mark because of my skipping that read. 


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text 2017-10-15 19:17
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
77 Shadow Street (with bonus novella The Moonlit Mind) - Dean Koontz

There were a couple of good ideas here before Koontz ruined it. Way too many characters, once again with his constant refrain on how evil science is, a golden retriever pops up in the end. I do wish that Koontz had his characters speak like real human beings again. Seriously, most of the time I kept thinking was reading an Odd Thomas book.


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text 2017-10-14 02:28
Reading progress update: I've read 9%.
77 Shadow Street (with bonus novella The Moonlit Mind) - Dean Koontz

Since becoming a professional, Mickey never killed a man for free. It was unnatural. Like Picasso giving away a painting. An important part of the sensual experience of murder was counting the money afterward.


One day I'll go back and count the number of professional killers Koontz had in his novels.


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text 2017-10-14 01:34
Reading progress update: I've read 3%.
77 Shadow Street (with bonus novella The Moonlit Mind) - Dean Koontz

The official story was that, 114 years earlier, Margaret Pendleton and her children—Sophia and Alexander—had been snatched from this house and murdered.


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review 2017-09-06 14:18
What a Haunted Nation We Live In
Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places - Colin Dickey

I read this for the "Haunted Houses" square. "Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places" by Colin Dickey. 


I don't know what to say. This was a really well researched and thought out book by Colin Dickey. He provides enough information that made me want to do my own digging and research into some of the homes and other locations he mentions in this book. What I really do enjoy that there is something of an anthropologist/historian in Dickey's work that I really enjoyed. Besides looking at the supposed hauntings, he goes into backstories that would have led to a person or persons to believe a haunting was occurring. 


This book goes into what I would call typical hauntings of homes, to hauntings of cemeteries, hotels, brothels (Mustang Ranch), cities, battlefields, and even a bridge. And the book wraps things up about how our next form of being haunted can be via social media. I personally remember being surprised one day when Facebook popped up with a memory of me with a friend who had passed away. I remember flinching and just feeling sad and hurt all over again about her passing away. It didn't even occur to me that one day, I too could be a ghost of sorts, haunting my friends and family via social media. 


He also mixes in popular culture (American Horror Story) along with horror books that reference some of the hauntings that he provides more details on for readers. 


I already said that I loved Dickey's look into the Salem Witch Trials by looking further at the "House of Seven Gables". I also loved his foray into Richmond, VA and it's ugly history of selling slaves. Heck, I loved Dickey for calling out the fact that it's weird in locations with a huge minority population or slaves, most of the ghosts were white. And or most of the hauntings surrounding women who were slaves, made them the aggressors (stealing a white man who was married) from the poor unsuspecting wife. 

Dickey writes a book that is unflinching about what was, what is, and what could be our future as a country when it comes to how we all will be portrayed after our deaths.  


He also turns a cynical eye towards so called ghost hunters who have morphed from an eclectic group of people who were interested in the history of a place, to people who are trying to gain some fame through reality television. And I loved that Dickey also debunked some of the hauntings in the book. 


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