Book Review: The House of Thunder by Leigh Nichols

Leigh Nichols is, or was, a pseudonym, hence why the cover picture gives the author as Dean Koontz.

Early on in Dean’s career his publishers felt that he was too prolific for his fans to keep up with, so he published a few books under pseudonyms. Obviously as he became more and more popular it made financial sense to re-release these books under his own name. Unfortunately, some books should remain under a pseudonym. This isn’t one of Dean’s better books by a long way.

The main character wakes up in a hospital after a near fatal car crash suffering from partial amnesia. As she recovers she is haunted by ghosts from her past, notably the four college ‘boys’ (young men) who killed her then boyfriend in a fraternity hazing gone wrong. All four of the killers have since died, but they appear all too real to our heroine.

For me the characters are very two dimensional, with simple shock tactics reminiscent of early 1980’s horror in general, whether it be books or films. There is also far too much dialogue. The book could easily lose at least a hundred pages and would be better for it. I will admit I skim read most of the middle section until the last 40 or 50 pages. I would expect that most people would have given up by then.

The book also touches on some familiar themes to fans of Dean Koontz, namely secret government organisations, brain washing and morally dubious scientific advances, with thunder storms to add tension.

I picked up the book second hand in Coniston after we had walked up the Old Man (read about it here), with the money going towards the local hospice. As it was only £2 I’m not too fussed that it wasn’t that good, and I only gave it 2 stars on Goodreads. One for hardcore Dean Koontz fans only.

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