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Publisher's Summary

A strange doll is left on Tommy Phan's front steps, stranger than anyone could ever imagine. Later he hears an odd popping sound and is intrigued to find it coming to life. Tommy pursues the thing as it scrambles away, and then is pursued by it as it evolves from a terrifying and vicious manikin into a larger, more formidable opponent bent on killing him. What in the world is this thing and why is it after him?
©1996 Dean Koontz; (P)2006 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Dean Koontz is not just a master of our darkest dreams, but also a literary juggler." (The Times [London])

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

Eerie, yet fun

This book is great fun if you're looking for entertainment that's rather scary, surprisingly funny (I laughed out loud at parts), and baffling to the end. I would call it a light-hearted tale were it not so downright frightening at times. But the humor is the chief appeal of this story, and Koontz shows that he has a real flare for it.

I'm giving it 4 stars rather than 5 because the characters did not seem fully believable to me. Close, but not quite there. Nevertheless, it's one of those books you can't stop listening to because you need to find out what happens next. Paul Michael, the narrator of this book, is masterful! He is one of my all-time favorites--always a treat to hear. This book is great fun. If you want some chills and some laughs to go with them, listen to this one.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sandra
  • Hollis, ME, USA
  • 10-18-06


This book is wonderfully descriptive with great character building, but the substance is really weak. I was disappointed, wishing there could have been a little less description and a little more story!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Funny, but a little too weird

This is a comedy more than a thriller. The hilarious dialogue between Tommy and his mother got me laughing out loud a couple of times. The relationship between Tommy and the girl on the other hand was more annoying than entertaining.
I am a big Koontz fan, but this story was too weird for my taste.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Quintessential Dean Koontz

I love this style of Dean Koontz. It's full of action and suspense with a quirky sense of humor. I love this story. I was held on the edge of my seat and laughed out load many times. You will really enjoy this one. Quite a surprising ending. You won't see it coming but you will enjoy how it ends.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very entertaining!

Dean Koontz shows his humor and wonderful sense of imagination in this entertaining, well read book. Great from start to finish.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • DLA
  • USA
  • 09-21-06

Not sure how to describe this book....

I have to say... it was interesting when the "waitress" and the main character's "mother" came into the scene, but it was not one of Koontz best.... a wanna-be Steven King... BUT, it had humor (as Koontz stated at the end of the story) and at some parts it made me smile. The way the Narrator tried to add an "Asian Accent" was strange to say the least! (I am Asian, so hearing a "non-Asian" try to speak like us is like a "roll-your-eyes-kind-of-thing"! LOL) All in all... It was not that bad...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jazzi
  • Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
  • 09-07-14

Not My Favorite Dean Koontz...Far from my worst!

Any additional comments?

I like this story. It's not as detailed as I'm used to with Dean Koontz, but very satisfying. I recommend this book if you're looking for something light. Honestly, I was not remotely scared by this book. It had the right amount of tension.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • coreybeth
  • Cincinnati, OH, United States
  • 02-03-15

My favorite Koontz novel

Great characters, awesome plot, truly a suspenseful horror novel. Koontz has a prologue saying he needed to write something "lighter" after some of his darker novels and he loves the humor in this book. There's no humor - it's definitely lighter - no humor though.

Tommy came with his family on a boat from vietnamese when he was eight. His parents are concerned that he is a novelist instead of working in family bakery with his two older brothers. They blame him for his younger sister eloping with a magician....he's a bad example. He's riddled with guilt and his mother poors the guilt on thick!! He yearns to be nothing but American - NOT Vietnamese American.

He receives a doll that turns about to be a demon that changes as the night goes on. Tick Tock..........he has until dawn, the demon will chase & try to kill him until dawn.

Luckily he meets a screwball waitress that turns out to be more than she seems! The two of them try to survive the night without being killed!

Narration is amazing. I actually read this book, listened to it and spent a credit on a book I've "read" twice. It's that good! I loved it!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Certainly Unexpected

I picked up the softcover of this just to check it out. I'm a fan of the paranormal, and thrillers. Always up for a good paced book. I opened the softcover about half way in, found exactly what I was looking for, and came here.

It started out a little slow, I have to say I started grate about hearing his mother's broken English as much as he did. But that ended somewhat smoothly. And the interesting part picked up. Perhaps the main character whines just a bit too much, but there's enough action to keep things moving along well though. Fantastic imagery of the demon, good characterization too.

About half way through, you'll come on a love it or hate it character that changes the tone of the book almost significantly. There's still a demon, a quick monster thing out to rip their throats out, but humor starts taking a role in the forefront as well.

If you're looking for something evil, dark, and heart pounding, this might not satisfy. But it was a pretty good ride for me. With an, all be it unexpected, but acceptable end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Cathy
  • Gulfport, FL, United States
  • 04-20-07

koontz at his best

I first heard this book about 7 years ago on a road trip with my family, and fell in love with it. I was delighted when audible offer it. This book has it all action, humor, and a good scare now and then. I highly reccomend it.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful