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From Publishers Weekly
Collection of tales from horror novelist Koontz.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
"Strange Highways" is the title story in Koontz's (e.g., The Servants of Twilight, Audio Reviews, LJ 2/1/94) new collection of short stories. Joey Shannon, an alcoholic whose life has been going nowhere for 20 years, returns to his hometown for the funeral of his father. As he leaves town, he gets a mysterious second chance to relive the night in 1975 when his life began its downward spiral: to both literally and figuratively take the road that he didn't originally take. On this road he is supremely tested by conflict with his successful and charismatic older brother P.J., by conflict between his cynicism and his lost faith, and by conflict between the ultimate good and evil. Actor James Spader's reading is somewhat uneven, often invested with the right measure of blase cynicism but occasionally too rushed and monotonal. Nevertheless, this audiobook will be popular. Recommended for fiction collections.?Kristen L. Smith, Loras Coll. Lib., Dubuque, Ia.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
But in this collection, Dean Koontz delivers several short stories that contemplate and expertly acheive horror genre greatness.
The title story (actually, it's a novel) is about a man who returns home...then is forced to face the demons of his past, who have come back to haunt him. "Kittens," Koontz's first published work of fiction, is about a little girl who decides to get revenge on her parents.
"The Black Pumpkin," along similar lines, is about a little boy ostracized from his own family. "Miss Atilla the Hun," "We Three," and "The Night of the Storm" are brilliant sci-fi pieces (from Koontz's old days of writing science fiction), while "Trapped" follows a similar vein as Koontz's pinnacle novel "Watchers".
"Bruno" is a flat-out hilarious sci-fi farse, while "Hardshell" (the first piece of fiction I read by Koontz) is about a cop hunting down a killer who is a little different. "Snatcher" is a journey into the macabre, while "Twilight of the Dawn" is a moving tale of a man's search for faith and guidance.
"Strange Highways" is not so strange at all; it's great fiction by a masterful writer. Dean Koontz is without a doubt one of the best writers of all time. That statement may sound a little exaggerated, if you haven't read any of his work. If you read something by him, though, you'll know what I mean. Why not start here, with "Strange Highways"? It's diverse, and it shows you what this man can do--and do well.
However, most of the stories between these two novels were horrible and downright embarrassing. Many of them where from when Koontz was just starting to write(and it shows). The story "The Black Pumpkin" reminds me of something I wrote in fifth grade for a Halloween project. "Bruno" is Koontz's attempt at writing comedy and it succeeds at being the corniest, most childish, waste of thirty-some pages. Most of the rest of the stories are very one dimensional and uninspired.
I think this book proves that Koontz should stick to writing novels and steer clear of short stories. I do think that Koontz is a wonderful writer and I have read many of his excellent books, but this isn't one of them. I would definetely recommend reading the first and last stories of this book, just nothing in between.
The title novel/novella in the book is uneven, suffering from an excess of unexplained fantasy elements, which has plagued several of the author's more recent pieces. It is, however, well-written and enjoyable.
The rest are much more of a grab-bag. Most of Koontz's short stories aren't all that memorable. There are exceptions. His first sale, "Kittens," is among its pages, and is much better than the author gives it credit for. "Down in the Darkness" is eerily atmospheric and unsettling. "Miss Attilla the Hun" displays Koontz's ability to wed humor with suspense, and is quite enjoyable, and "Bruno" is simply a comic delight.
Two of the pieces I would much have preferred to read as novels, and I'm sorry Koontz didn't develop them to that extent: "Hardshell" and "Trapped." The former is a most unusual cops-and-robbers story, the latter one of Koontz's monster-out-of-the-lab offerings.
Most recent customer reviews
These are short stories from his college days and even before of just writing things he thought about. Read morePublished on Feb. 18 2003 by Janice Bryant-Kunz
I picked this one up at a yard sale years ago and read it until it was dog-eared. Unfortunately, I've lost my copy. I'm not really a fan of Koontz' novels. Read morePublished on Aug. 22 2002 by Ensio N Mikkola
I couldn't stand this book. The short stories had endings anyone could see coming from the first couple pages (a little twist at the end, please?!?). Read morePublished on April 25 2002
Koontz has done it again. His stories are ablt to send you running for the streets if not send you into pschic shock from the stories becoming too real for you. Read morePublished on Nov. 7 2001 by meg
I used to be a Stephen King fan until a friend loaned me this book. I couldn't put it down. After returning it to him, I directly went out and bought a copy for myself. Read morePublished on April 5 2001
I throughly enjoyed reading Koontz's Strange highways, especially the one about the kittens. It is a great read to see how Koontz was as a writer when he was younger as I think... Read morePublished on Sept. 8 2000
There are some excellent pieces in this work, and some poor ones. With the help of the fact that the three longest works are excellent, though, more pages are spent in enjoyment... Read morePublished on June 3 2000 by Anon
This collection of Koontz short stories will blow you away. They are jsut fantastic my favorite one was Chase. Don't skip this one buy it now!Published on June 1 2000