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The first time the lightning strikes Laura Shane is born...

The second time it strikes the terror starts... though eight-year-old Laura is saved by a mysterious stranger from the perverted and deadly intentions of a drug-crazed robber. Throughout her childhood she is plagued by ever more terrifying troubles, and with increasing courage she finds the strength to prevail - even without the intervention of her strange guardian. But, despite her success as a novelist and her happy family life, Laura cannot shake the certainty that powerful and malignant forces are controlling her destiny.

Then the lightning strikes once more and shatters her world. The adventure - and the terror - have only just begun...

384 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1988

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About the author

Dean Koontz

880 books34.3k followers
Acknowledged as "America's most popular suspense novelist" (Rolling Stone) and as one of today's most celebrated and successful writers, Dean Ray Koontz has earned the devotion of millions of readers around the world and the praise of critics everywhere for tales of character, mystery, and adventure that strike to the core of what it means to be human.

Dean, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirit of their goldens, Trixie and Anna.

Facebook: Facebook.com/DeanKoontzOfficial
Twitter: @DeanKoontz
Website: DeanKoontz.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,435 reviews
Profile Image for Delee.
243 reviews1,106 followers
October 12, 2017
LIGHTNING is one of my go to books. It is a book I read over and over again when I find myself in a reading slump...for a couple of reasons- 1) I have read it so many times- I don't have to concentrate very much to get through it again...and, 2) It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. Why? It has two of my book boyfriends in it. What is a book boyfriend you may ask???....Or may not ask- but I will tell you anyways...A book boyfriend is a character I fell in love with at some point in my life.

I have book boyfriends, movie boyfriends, and TV boyfriends. Allllllllllll which have ruined me over the years for real life men. STUPID, stupid, fake boyfriends...

The worst of them all is this one- who at a young age I thought I would meet the equivalent of some day. Sigh...

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Elliot Garfield. Where oh where is my Elliot Garfield? Bastard!!!

...anyways- moving right along. LIGHTNING...

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Lightning strikes on the night Laura Shane is born. Which in most cases wouldn't be all that unusual...but Laura was born in January. January 1955 to be exact.

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...and what follows each lightning strike throughout Laura's life is a gorgeous strange man (Stefan)- who pops up in times of trouble to rescue her.

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Pretend book boyfriend #1

Year after year Laura escapes death..and most tragedies in her life with the help of her guardian- Stefan. Whether he is real or not, she is not quite sure of- but when she gets older, she meets a man she knows IS real -Danny.

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Pretend book boyfriend #2 (in my youth, I pictured him as this)

as an adult, I picture him as this...

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...who coincidentally is also one of my TV boyfriend's "Denny" for those who watch Grey's Anatomy.

Eventually she falls in love and settles into a normal life with Danny...forgetting about Stefan...until tragedy strikes again.

LIGHTNING will forever be one of my favorite books- It may not be that original (the similarities to The Terminator are hard to look past). It may not be the most well written...but it will always hold a special place in my heart- and I will probably read it at least 5 or 6 more times in my lifetime. :)
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,125 reviews3,552 followers
July 20, 2016
A shocking lightning!!!


This was the third novel that I read by Dean Koontz (back in 1992).

Still at that time (1992), I read the book in a Spanish translated version since I was still in the process to be able to read on English.

This is another great novel of Dean Koontz that merges a lot of genres...

...not only horror / thriller that it's what you expect when reading a Koontz's book...

...but also fascinating concepts of science fiction, along with elements of military, espionage and romance too.


Meet Laura Shane.

Since she was born till she is a already grown up woman.

During all her life, she has been watched by a "guardian angel"...

...a mysterious blond man who appears in the most desperate moments of Laura's life.

Depending of your familiarity with Koontz's works, you will be able to catch some of his signature elements like the choice of Laura to become a novelist, since in many of his books, usually the protagonist, it's a writer and/or an avid reader.

As I was commenting before, horror fans are more acquainted with the name of Dean Koontz, however, this book, Lightning is also a wonderful option for fans of the science fiction genre.

Since I don't want to spoil much the surprises in the storyline, I prefer not to comment in detail about the events in the plot.

However, if you give a chance to this book, you will realize how good is and how entertaining evolved.

Profile Image for Ciarán West.
Author 9 books53 followers
August 21, 2012
Why don't you read Dean Koontz? You probably have an answer. Mine was something like 'Jesus Christ this guy writes about forty books a year, and they all seem a bit rubbish.' I, like everyone else, first came across his novels because they were next to the Stephen King books in the library. Clever marketing, even if it is quite accidental. There were books with evil clowns on the front, books with scary kids on the front. It all seemed a bit Fiction-by-numbers to me, so I never picked any of his up. That was until a friend gave me this one. She did the whole 'No, it's not a horror' pitch that we do so often when we want our Mums to read Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption, or The Green Mile. That's the awful rep horror/sci-fi/fantasy books have- we have to use disclaimers and qualifiers in order to tempt non-fans into the genres.

Anyway, I read it. Mainly out of boredom, which the best reason to do anything. What struck me was how much he made me care. I love Stephen King, but I think his strength lies in the story, not in the characters. With Lightning, Koontz gave me a protagonist that I wanted to know in real life. I was three chapters in and already depressed about the finite nature of a book. And with this book (not to give too much away) he does it more than once. Even when you think you have the measure of it all, he does a bit of goalpost shifting that you don't see coming, and you aren't even mad about, such was the genius of the play.

What is it if not a horror? It's science fiction in parts, it's fantasy in bigger parts, and it's about love, for the most part. There are no Killer Clowns or Scary Children, but it will make you fall in love with Koontz, and want to explore more. If I can give you any tips regarding that, I'd say 'go early'. Night Chills and The Voice of the Night are favourites.

He does write too many books, and I haven't liked all of them. His techno-noirs leave me cold. This one though, will knock your socks off. And then you'll have to pick your socks back up, to wipe away the tears.
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,398 reviews1,103 followers
July 16, 2014
This novel is a combination of science fiction (time travel) and suspense, and the result is a book I was not be able to put down.

The story focused around Laura Shane. Starting from birth and to adulthood (around 30 I believe). The other main character is Stefan. A unknown “guardian” who keeps appearing throughout her life to save her. Both are well thought-out and well-written characters. Another character I liked in the story was Thelma (Laura’s childhood friend).

Laura goes through early life and several situations (starting at her birth) come up that should have hurt or even ended her life. However, each time she is saved by the mysterious Stefan. Who he is or why he saves her is a mystery through the first half (or more) of the book. All I will say is the Koontz did a great job adding a bit of a sci-fi twist into the story.

This is one of my favorite all-time books. I first read this in middle school (over 10 year ago) after reading another of Koontz's books (House of Thunder). Since then, I have read this book several times and recommended it to fellow readers often.
Profile Image for Dave Edmunds.
262 reviews55 followers
May 18, 2021

"Your past is my Future"

Lightning doesn't strike twice.  That unless your name is Laura Shane.

I've been on a bit of a Dean Koontz roll at the minute.  I've read some cracking books by this author.  Phantoms, Twilight Eyes and Night Chills.  All dark and edgy thrillers with a touch of horror.  But all good things must come to an end.  If I were to use one word for this novel, it would be average.
In Lightning, Koontz gives us a sci-fi romance.  Not exactly my genre of choice.  But I'm always up for broadening my horizon's and try something different.  I firmly believe that great writing can occur in any genre.  That's just not the case in this novel. Sorry Dean!

The premise and set up in this one is really good.  We have a young girl, Laura Shane, who goes through her life believing she has a guardian angel.  A mysterious blond man who repeatedly turns up in the nick of time to save her skin at crucial moments during her life.  This enigmatic figure seems to be a force of good, but goes to extreme measures to protect Laura and, in turn, is being perused by another who describes him as a traitor. Very exciting stuff.

The story has a lot going for it.  Koontz knows how to pace his novels and ramp up the tension.  There's a number of very intense action scenes and a number of good twists and turns.  I can imagine there's a lot of people who would eat up this style of easy-reading page turner.

"It was one of those rare times when remembering the dead was more inmportant than tending to the needs of the living."

The journey in this one is also really good.  We get to see Laura go through her life from a baby to adulthood.  This does build a fair bit of attachment for the character, but here's where I hit my major problem.

Where this one falls short is some very unrealistic and unnatural behaviour exhibited by the chatacters.  The romance elements are unnatural and some of the dialogue is just plain awful.  Particularly, with the children who all speak like adults. Add to that (spoiler coming) an eight year old beating up a full grown man with military training and it starts to become a bit of a joke. This completely took me out of the story and I quickly started to loose interest.

Dean Koontz

In summary, a pretty disappointing read after some very entertaining entries in the Koontz catalogue. My advice Dean...stick to dark and edgy. I can just see him, one of the world's best selling current authors, taking my advice on board. Thanks for reading!
Profile Image for Casey.
22 reviews5 followers
August 7, 2007
I used to be a die-hard Koontz fan; I think some of his books in the past five years have fallen off a bit, but Lightning remains in my top ten. I still have my tattered copy, and look forward to reading it for the third time in the future. Like some of his other books (particularly Intensity), Koontz has created a strong lead character and a complex but easy to follow plot. There are Nazis. There's time travel. There are big guns. It may sound like a weird mix, but it works beautifully. I'm not a die-hard sci-fi or suspense fan, but I love, love, love this book.
Profile Image for Jane Stewart.
2,462 reviews847 followers
October 25, 2015
What a great story! I thought about it frequently afterwards.

At times it was a roller coaster ride, frightening, intense, and I didn’t want to stop reading until I got through the current crisis. The main story is Laura’s life from birth to adulthood. A strange man appears at critical times in her life to save her from disaster. Laura is not a wimp. She does smart things. This is one of the few books where I don’t want to say much about the story. It is sooo much better not to know. There is suspense, danger, courage, clever things, and surprising things. The characters are rich.

I had two problems. The author used the artificial device of interrupting scenes. For example, there’s a scene in 1977 and another in 1988. The author split each of those scenes into about four parts and then went back and forth between the two showing pieces of each scene. The effect was interruption, and I was angry at the author which took me out of the story. This happened a few times during the book. There was such great “natural” suspense and action, the author didn’t need to use this device. I would have been ok with splitting the scenes into two parts each, to allow the two climaxes/resolutions to be told together, but no more than that.

Second problem was the narrator (Christopher Lane) using an effeminate gay guy’s voice for young girls. It was terrible acting - the wrong tone and voice for girls. Get a version with a different narrator (if ever available) otherwise read the physical book to eliminate that problem.

The strange man was able to do something a few times but not another time which bothered me. The explanation given was not consistent since it did not apply to all situations. But the story was so good I was willing to look past it. Again I can’t say more. I don’t want to give anything away.

The author does not used tired cliches. I was delighted to hear a character say “I’m a legend in my own scrapbook.”

Narrative mode: 3rd person. Unabridged audiobook reading time: 12 hrs and 58 mins. Swearing language: I don’t recall any. Sexual content: referred to a few times, nothing in detail. Setting: mostly 1944 to 1989, mostly California and Germany. Book copyright: 1988. Genre: time travel suspense thriller. Ending: satisfying and complete.

I noticed that in four Koontz books, a main character has amnesia issues and/or erased memories. Some of the books have bad guys hypnotizing to erase someone’s memory. In other books a violent situation or accident causes amnesia. I don’t want to give away plots, so in the following list I’m using the word “memory” to indicate which books had a main character with one of these memory problems.

The author loves dogs. He finds them noble, loyal, and heroic. In several of his books a dog has a major role. I’ve indicated below which of his books have dogs in the story (that I know about).

I’ve reviewed the following Dean Koontz books, unless indicated. Dates are copyright dates.

3 stars. The Key to Midnight 1979 (memory)
3 stars. The Eyes of Darkness 1981
2 stars. The House of Thunder 1982 (memory)
4 stars. Phantoms 1983
3 ½ stars. Darkfall 1984 (aka Darkness Comes & aka The Pitt by Owen West)
3 stars. Strangers 1986 (memory)
5 stars. Watchers 1987 (dog)
5 stars. Lightning 1988
(not read) Midnight 1989 (dog in supporting role)
4 stars. The Bad Place 1990 (memory in beginning of the book)
(not read) Dragon Tears 1992 (dog)
(not read) Winter Moon 1993 (dog in supporting role)
3 ½ stars. Dark Rivers of the Heart 1994 (memory) (dog)
5 stars. Intensity 1995 (dog - per Angela)
2 stars. Fear Nothing 1998 (dog)
3 stars. Odd Thomas 2003
3 ½ stars. Life Expectancy 2004
2 stars. Velocity 2005
2 stars. Ashley Bell 2015 (memory) (dog)
Profile Image for Sarah.
731 reviews73 followers
October 3, 2016
I first read this book when I was maybe 11 or 12. It was my very first Koontz book and it kicked off a lifelong love of Koontz As My Favorite Author. For very close to 30 years!

On the night of Laura Shane's birth a man appears amidst an astonishing display of lightning and thunder. He holds her mother's doctor hostage so the drunkard is unable to get to the hospital to deliver Laura. At other key moments throughout Laura's life, when tragedy is about to strike and leave her damaged or dead, the man she dubs her "guardian" appears and protects her. Yet in the course of the thirty years that he's protecting her he never ages.

Although I confess that one of the stars in my five star rating may be due to that nearly 30 years of Koontz fandom, this is also a hell of good story. My mom also raves about it to this day and she never enjoyed another Koontz book. To be fair, two of those were The Vision and Whispers, both of which I hope to never cross paths with again. But it's also the only book she's ever read that she might give five stars to. It's a sci-fi suspense with loads of fun along the way.

And because I always love teaching Why I Love Koontz 101, I leave you with a quote:

In tragedy and despair, when an endless night seems to have fallen, hope can be found in the realization that the companion of night is not another night, that the companion of night is day, that darkness always gives way to light, and that death rules only half of creation, life the other half.

Here's to another 30 years of Koontz!
Profile Image for T.M..
Author 3 books66 followers
July 29, 2015
I've always been a big fan of Dean Koontz and this one did not disappoint. I like the premise of someone from Nazi Era Germany time traveling into the future to try to change destiny. A fun, fast-paced read.
Profile Image for Maciek.
562 reviews3,314 followers
August 18, 2010
I heard much good about "Lightning"; so when I spotted an used hardcover I bought it immediately and began to read.
It didn't meet my expectation though. I propably would have loved it ten years ago, but now? Not much.

Lightning made me think about the Koontz phenomenon. He has been a bestselling writer since the mid 80's, around the publication of this book he gained real popularity. Which is interesting, because the reader can easily see the glaring problems in his fiction - mostly it's his bad, sometimes even ridiculously bad dialogue, the political agenda which threatens to take over the whole plot (something that happens often in his recent books), and his helpless ineptitude at writing realistic and compelling characters, a thing which he hasn't learned to this day.
BUT in Lightning he does put together an exciting plot - which was his greatest strenght, as now he doesn't even do that - and in Lightning he creates an interesting concept that makes you turn the pages.

Lightning starts out with a bang, but fades out like a diminishing thunder: A snowstorm rages, in a lone house a drunken doctor is stopped by a mysterios stranger from going to deliver a baby - Laura Shane, who is instead delivered by another physician and ends up perfectly healthy. Her mother dies though, and Laura's father is shattered.

Laura stays with her father, and helps him in his grocery shop, where the mysterious stranger saves them both from a dangerous robber. The stranger reveals his name - Stefan.

Long story short, Laura's father dies and she goes into an orphanage - obviously. Here she meets the two sisters, Thelma and Ruth, who are strong candidates for the most unrealistic twelve year olds ever created in fiction. They are the worst flaw of the book: the reader starts seeing them as scripted, not real. No wonder; Koontz doesn't have kids, and propably doesn't spend much time around them (especially after his hair transplant, which made him look downright creepy).

"Holidays are fine because the do-gooders start feeling guilty about having so much when we poor, drab, homeless waifs have to wear newspaper coats, cardboard shoes, and eat last year's gruel. So they send us baskets of goodies, take us on shopping sprees and to the movies, though never the good movies"

"The lack of parental guidance has taken a toll on her, I'm afraid. She hasn't adapted well to being an orphan"

"Listen, Shane, the Dazzling Ackerson
Duo—Ruth and moi—cannot abide false modesty any more than we can tolerate bragging. We're straight-from-the-shoulder types. We know what our strengths are, and we're proud of them. God knows, neither of us will win the Miss America contest, but we're intelligent, very intelligent, and we're not reluctant to admit to brains. And you are gorgeous, so stop being coy"

Not bad for 12 years olds who were orphaned at 9, eh ?
Apparently both sisters went to acting school at 3. Oh wait, they would propably put their professors to shame with their sophisticated vocabulary and similes. Apparently all orphanages are stuffed with dictionaires for the young - so they can satisfy their hunger for knowledge. ;)

After Laura gets out of the orphanage, the book takes a 180 degree turn - as Laura was abused to no end it's time to make it up for the poor lad. She meets and ideal husband, Danny, becomes a writer, sells her book for over a million dollars without one rejection, has a beautiful kid, discovers a new planet...or wait...

Obviously inspired by Cinderella, Laura rises from awful childhood to an impossibly succesful end. The road towards this unbelieveable success is well...unbelieveable, and that's all about it. Of course Thelma also becomes incredibly succesful, marries a rich man etc etc etc. Since it's not intended to be a comedy, and I believe was written in utmoust seriousness, it's not a good thing.
What's the point of showing the striving towards success when there's no striving ?

At one point one of the characters gets hurt, so Laura has to drive him to a doctor. Of course she finds the doctor immediately, and he's obviously a good and helpful doctor.
Here's a quotation to illustrate how good and helpful he is.

"He went to the tall, white, metal cabinets along the far wall and poured capsules from a large jar into a pill bottle, then from another large jar into a second small bottle. “I keep some basic drugs here, sell them to poorer patients at cost so they don't have to go broke at the pharmacy."

...honestly, it's so bad it's not even funny.

Not to spoil anything further, the good thing is that Koontz's theory of things that happen here makes at least basic sense (something he doesn't even try now). He wouldn't be himself if he didn't put some of his rather right-wing agenda in this book; long, loving descriprions of guns and bashing of pacifism.

"Pacifism," she said. "That's just the opposite of the firstkind " of bad thinking. Pacifists believe you
should never lift a hand against another human being, no matter what he has done or what you know he's
going to do. If a pacifist was standing beside his brother, and if he saw a man coming to kill his brother, he'd urge his brother to run, but he wouldn't pick up a gun and stop the killer."
"He'd let the guy go after his brother?" Chris asked, astonished. "Yes. If worse came to worst, he'd let his brother be murdered rather than violate his own principles and become a killer himself.
"That's whacko."

It'sreally too bad that "Lightning" doesn't have any characters that would exceed the limits of an average cardboard. Laura is of course astonishingly beautiful, smart, good, talented, righteous (at least according to Koontz, who loves guns a tad too much), steadfast, brave, unbending - and to top all that she's a sexually molested pupil of an orphanage, who reaches a truly astonishing level to success because of her pertinacity and family - basically, she's an ideal heroine for a Harlequin novel. The bad guys are the EPITOME of stereotypical evil.
Koontz's sappy sentimentality and precocious, cardboard children are at their absolute worst here; it requires a lot of effort to suspend disbelief.

To sum up: Lightning can be a nice beach book, if you're able to get past Koontz's bad characters and overhelmingly sappy sentimentality, praise of all things American and bashing of pacifists. The plot is imaginative and intriguing; Too bad the rest of the book is not.
Profile Image for Craig.
4,986 reviews116 followers
April 7, 2023
Lightning is one of my favorite Koontz novels. He returned solidly to his science fiction roots and added in all of the elements of suspense and romance and mystery and intrigue that had put him on the bestseller lists, then filled it with interesting characters and tense situations and the nastiest bad guys history could provide. It's the story of Laura Shane, who is saved time after time by a guardian angel who appears in a bolt of lightning. It's a very well-written and haunting page-turner of a story.
Profile Image for Fred.
572 reviews73 followers
January 2, 2019
December 2018 Group Read link - my second read
I notice a quote in my second read, “people envy you for being happy”.
Laura first saw Stefan, her guardian angel at her father’s burial. A type of survivor that exist, with strength being loved. At the McIiroy orphanage, she becomes happy & friends with Thelma & Ruth Ackerson. She is adopted, antagonizes her Foster parents to get back to the orphange. Her second Foster parents, she loves but... her mom has a heart attack. Back at the McIiroy orphange happiness returns with Thelma & Ruth, Stefan saves her many times. I enjoyed the second read just as much as the first read.

First Read - 12/6/2013
This book is great & different than other Dean Koontz books. Stefan Krieger is a guardian angel character thru Laura Shane's life from child orphanages to the end. He performs time travels to help, at the end helps going back in time to keep Germany history the same 1944 and protect her. End as Laura accepts Stefan to love.

Youtube Audio for the book= https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jl7lU...

Koontzland - Group Home
Profile Image for Michael Gardner.
Author 21 books70 followers
November 4, 2020
I kinda feel the same way about this book as I do a budget cream doughnut. On the surface it looked delicious, but as I bit into it, I discovered it was all mock cream and sickly additives: a brief guilty pleasure followed by hours of indigestion and regret.

This is also the second book recommended to me by an old friend. The first was a DNF, so I thought I’d give him a second chance. Feel free to leave a comment if you think I should give him a third chance.

Lightning is a confused story that can’t quite decide what it wants to be. It proves that Koontz admires Stephen King, has watched The Terminator too many times, and read Orwell’s 1984 but missed the point. It’s a book with a good idea and sloppy execution. About three quarters of the way through, I was praying somebody with an excessively described firearm would show up and 'blow the book away,' to use a phrase Koontz adores.

The plot itself, while being a cool idea, is fundamentally flawed: the present is threatened by time travelling Nazis. Naturally, if the Nazis had discovered time travel, they would have, as Koontz points out, gone back in time and wiped out their enemies when they were vulnerable to guarantee winning the war. But that would mean he couldn’t set the story in late 1980s L.A.

Hmm... so Koontz decides time travellers can only go forward in time and invents a rule that it’s impossible for a person to travel backwards in time to alter their own future. Of course, that’s what our time travelling Nazis do every time they return to their own time: travel backwards in time with knowledge and gear from the future to alter the future. Although they don't think to take decisive action in their near future to win the war, because that too means the book can't be set in 1980s L.A. More on these Nazis in a minute.

The chapters explaining time travel mechanics are really quite painful. Koontz really hasn’t given much thought to how his rules of time travel breaks his plot. He simply brushes off the aspects he can’t explain as, ‘the scientists didn’t know why [insert awkward aspect of time travel],’ or ‘it was an immutable rule of Nature that [insert awkward aspect of time travel].’ And then the annoying kid Chris (aka John Connor meets Anakin Skywalker) shouts, “Paradox!” and we all wish we could get an excessively described firearm and blow him away too.

What’s even more broken with the plot is our cardboard Nazis, who are smart enough to invent time travel, but instead of winning the war (which should be a cake walk with the tech to time travel), they spend their enormous resources hunting down our heroine, her son and their Arnold Schwarzenegger replacement, who is a reformed Nazi instead of a reformed robot, although his dialogue is much the same. These black clad baddies are so stoopid they don’t even think about bagging some useful superior future technology to hasten the dawn of the 1000 year Third Reich, or manipulating time as our hero does with such ease.

There’s a scene where our heroes work out that they can buy a standard household computer to do the hard calculations required to plot a time jump. He goes on to explain that the Nazis didn’t have modern information about the shape, tilt and gravitational forces of the Earth, which was why they couldn’t time jump with absolute accuracy. I would have thought a computer would be first on their shopping list. Nope. They were just to stoopid to think of that. Having revenge on the defector, a writer and her son was top of their list. It goes to show that mad genius Nazi scientists can’t be relied on to think of obvious solutions for world domination. You gotta pity those fools!

And, dear God, the explaining drove me insane. Has Koontz ever heard the writer’s axiom: show don’t tell. Koontz explains everything! EVERYTHING to the NTH degree! Except where explanations cause a plot inconvenience, so he doesn’t bother. Don’t worry, I won’t delve into the pile of overlooked plot contrivances and loose threads. Okay, gotta mention one. I nearly choked when I read the scene where Laura (aka Sarah Connor meets a Stephen King protagonist) buys Chinese takeaways unconcerned she’ll be recognised for her celebrity as a famous bestselling author. This scene follows another with an elderly white doctor who recognises her immediately. Of course, Dean! It all makes sense. People who work in Chinese Takeaways wouldn’t possibly read popular fiction. Why didn’t I think of that! Should I mention the casual racism too? Oh, I just did.

My favourite passage of excessive explanation is the scene where Laura needs a getaway car. Koontz explains how she knows the statistical probability she’ll find an unlocked car with the keys in the ignition because she researched those facts for a book she wrote about a car thief, including the increased probability she’d find such a car in a small town as the research included stats from big cities like New York and L.A. where nobody is dumb enough to leave their car unlocked. Right. Nice one, Dean. That’s a much tidier explanation than breaking a window and hot-wiring the thing. Or was that a good way to fatten the book up another couple of pages?

So why did I read it to the end? Probably because Koontz has mastered the art of luring you into a book. The first 75 pages or so are pretty good. From there it’s a gradual descent into desperate plot explanation, self-parody, and clumsy storytelling with corny lines like: the lightning struck like a bull in a celestial china shop. Consume this doughnut at your own risk.
Profile Image for Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl.
1,073 reviews143 followers
January 10, 2019
I love time travel! I think Lightning is among Dean's best. Although Lightning is not ranked as one of my top 5 favorite Dean Koontz books, the novel surely has a home among the top 10 :-) Lightning is a beautiful story about the power each of us has to influence history in some small way.

Lightning was written in 1988 when the Also by Dean R. Koontz list included only the following titles:

Of course, this was before Koontz revealed his hidden identities under which he had written other books :-)

Dedication: To Greg and Joan Benford. Sometimes I think that you're the most interesting people we know. Then I always take two asprin and lie down. But the thought persists.

Quote at the beginning of PART ONE:
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

Passages from the story:
"I don't know. It seemed like something . . . magical. Something I should keep to myself because if I shared it I'd break the spell...."

"You're my resident expert in the weird."

"Paradox! Paradox!"

"Fate is."
Profile Image for Veronique.
1,231 reviews169 followers
October 18, 2021

A thrilling and suspenseful story, with a very light touch of scifi and horror, that will keep you glue to the pages until the very end!

One of my favourites from Koontz. I like most of the ones I read (22?) but a handful are gems! The novel starts with the very eventful birth of Laura, a stranger saving her from a drunk doctor that would have potentially killed her. Over the following years, danger keeps meeting our girl, but the ‘stranger’ always seems to arrive in the nick of time. Who is he? Why doesn’t he age? And why is there lightning just before his arrival? The suspense keeps building up, and the author does deliver some truly scary scenes. He also excels at making me care for his characters (the good ones, obviously).

I’m aware that this is not a perfect book but actually I don’t care. Koontz’s writing is addictive and totally compelling here. This is my third read and I can see myself coming back in a few years :0)
Profile Image for Nicole.
19 reviews6 followers
February 1, 2008
I absolutely love this book and remembered how much when I recently read it for the second time. Now, Dean Koontz can write some weird, if not, scary books, but this one was really good. Ultimately, it's a love story that crosses time barriers between the Nazi Germany era and present day. It spans the lifetime of a woman from her birth til she's about in her 30s and makes you see how people's lives can end up completely different just by the actions of one other person. It's a great read and I'd recommend it to everyone!
Profile Image for Adam Light.
Author 21 books250 followers
July 1, 2015
Twenty years after the first reading of Lightning, I found it just as fun and gripping as it was back then. Was it dated? Um, yeah! But that was part of what made it so pleasant this time around. This is Koontz whn he still had some gas in the tank. Fast paced, witty, and uncluttered by tons of flowery prose, this is definitely a must for anyone who wonders what the big deal with Koontz was all about back in the eighties. Sorry, his last umpteen books have left me rolling my eyes and wondering just what the hell happened. I think I may revisit Watchers or Strangers next.
Profile Image for George K..
2,363 reviews290 followers
May 16, 2021
Τελευταία φορά που διάβασα βιβλίο του Ντιν Κουντζ ήταν τον Μάρτιο του 2016, δηλαδή πέντε και βάλε χρόνια πριν. Εντάξει, μου έλειψε κάπως, έστω και αν δεν είναι από τους συγγραφείς που με ξετρελαίνουν κιόλας. Πάντως πλάκα-πλάκα αυτό είναι το δωδέκατο βιβλίο του που διαβάζω, άρα δεν μου είναι και αδιάφορος. Λοιπόν, το "Αστραπή" είναι ένα ιδιαίτερα ψυχαγωγικό και εθιστικό θρίλερ με στοιχεία τρόμου και επιστημονικής φαντασίας, με το οποίο πέρασα εξαιρετικά καλά την ώρα μου, έστω και αν διάφορα στοιχεία της πλοκής και των χαρακτήρων δεν με έπεισαν ιδιαίτερα (κάποια, μάλιστα, δεν με έπεισαν καθόλου). Όπως και να το κάνουμε, το ταξίδι στον χρόνο ποτέ δεν είναι απόλυτα πειστικό, και εδώ γίνεται μια κάποια κατάχρηση, ειδικά προς το τέλος. Φυσικά δεν λείπουν μερικές ευκολίες και χρήσιμες συμπτώσεις για να προχωρήσει η πλοκή και να καταφέρουν οι πρωταγωνιστές να γλιτώσουν από τη μια ή την άλλη δυσκολία, ενώ επίσης ορισμένες αντιδράσεις των χαρακτήρων (βασικά της πρωταγωνίστριας και του μικρού της γιου) σε συγκεκριμένες καταστάσεις ήταν μάλλον βολικές για την εξέλιξη της πλοκής και όχι τόσο πειστικές. Γενικά αν κάποιος κάτσει και ψειρίσει επί μέρους στοιχεία της πλοκής και των χαρακτήρων, όλο και κάτι θα έχει να βρει. Από κει και πέρα όμως, είναι ένα καλογραμμένο, ευκολοδιάβαστο και εθιστικό θρίλερ γεμάτο ένταση και αγωνία, με εξαιρετική ατμόσφαιρα, που χάρη στη γραφή και τα σχετικά μικρά κεφάλαια άνετα μπορεί να διαβαστεί μονορούφι.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,811 followers
December 30, 2014
I gave it 3 stars, maybe should be 3.5. My wife really liked this book, I thought it pretty good, somewhat enjoyable. Time travel, reformed Nazi...will anyone save the day. That would be a spoiler. Like I said, not bad. I dropped it to 3 because I usually give a 4 to better books...hard to explain huh?

There are some odd moments and a few "duh" moments. There are some questionable decisions by the characters but all in all not a bad book. I'm not sure why some get very involved (as my wife did) and others find themselves only mildly interested (me) but whichever audience you fall into I don't think you'll regret this read. At best you'll love it, at worst it's one of Mr. Koontz's middle of the road efforts.

With a fairly interesting take on time travel including it's own set of "time travel rules" it may appeal to to some science fiction buffs as well as fantasy and horror fans.


I'm going to update this for 2 reasons...one I found and egregious typo. Oops.

The other is I do want to mention for those who might be bothered that one of the recurring villainous types in the book are pedophiles. So, be aware.
Profile Image for Louie the Mustache Matos.
948 reviews67 followers
August 31, 2022
Lightning is one of the better known Dean Koontz novels as a romantic thriller, so when my then-wife saw my bookshelves cluttered with King and Koontz, she opted to read Koontz. This was the first Koontz she read and became hooked. During our 17 years, she went through my entire Koontz library at least two times, buying her own books occasionally. She professes to being "not a reader," but that turned out to be not quite so true. Laura Shane has a guardian angel that swoops in and out of her life whenever there is a potentially life-altering event. She has garnered the attention of a time traveller, but wherever you believe the story goes from there, you probably will be unable to predict. Koontz's ability to write memorable characters is spot-on. The plot is twisting and unique. The action moves the story well. There's an internal logic to the time travel aspect that is singular, paradigm-shifting, and exceptionally constructed. If you have never read Koontz, this novel is him at his best. There are other great ones, but this is an accessible gateway to an addiction to his thrillers.
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,209 reviews
October 15, 2017
For a book that was released in 1988 it really has stood the test of time well. It's still super engaging and imaginative... like all Dean Koontz novels.
If you're reading Dean Koontz then you know to throw reality out the window and strap in for a roller coaster ride of thrills and suspense with great characters.
His books would be ridiculous if they didn't have the background and characters to back them up - what I mean is that his stories are fantastical but they feel real because the characters are 'normal' people.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book of the life of Laura Shane and how it is shaped by a mysterious force that she doesn't understand.
I'm not saying any more than that - it's not perfect but I loved it!
Profile Image for Olethros.
2,617 reviews428 followers
January 7, 2019
-Aventuras pulp, armas y romance para la distracción del lector.-

Género. Ciencia ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. En el libro Relámpagos (publicación original: Lightning, 1988) descubrimos que, el día que nace Laura Shane, un extraño evita que un médico borracho atienda el parto de la niña. Cuando un drogadicto asalta la tienda que regenta su padre, el mismo extraño evita que Laura sea violada y asesinada. El extraño, Stefan Krieger, es el guardián secreto de Laura e intenta que crezca sin que su vida corra peligro, pero el propio Stefan está siendo observado por alguien con malas intenciones.

¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:

Profile Image for Tom Nittoli.
107 reviews7 followers
August 23, 2012
If you ask me in years to come which Dean Koontz book featured a half-assed time traveling segment, mixed with a heartfelt appearance from Winston Churchill, several dimensions, and Nazi's.... I'd probably tell you my brain hurts trying to recall. As I continue to plummet into my own demise of reading every D.K. book in chronological order, which manifested upon realization that over the years a younger more ambitious version of myself, took it upon himself to collect ALL the author's books, without having read a substantial amount warranting such a grave action, with dire consequences, I can't help but wonder if the white flag is the braver choice given my options.

Like most of his works I'm engaged in the first 50-80 pages, turning each of them slowly, if not solely out of fear for I know at any point all the traits of a shitty DK book lurks around the corner. When will they get married, have the perfect orgasm, which in turn spawns the perfect child, whose candor, wit, and whiteness, all the more knits together the perfect quilt of a family, only to be tugged at moments later by some crazy, however very much so expected creature/phenomenon/aberration/unlikeable bad guy etc. When will the dog, given it's fifty percent appearance rate, veer it's Labrador face? What accurately depicted firearm will the heroine carry this time? What near perfect cottage in California, but always outside of Los Angeles might be in for some minor repairs? DK fans... you know what I'm talking about.

Is it possible I read his four best books in the seventh grade, and now have to tread through the remaining slop in order to remind myself that not all ambitious, courageous ideas are good ones? Maybe in a parallel universe somewhere I'm enjoying these books not racing through the latter half of them like the pages are corrosive to my skin and the very words on the page threaten my eyes.

Oh, so the review of the book is it sucks. Don't let a few well crafted ideas early on trick you. This book is missable, forgettable, fatiguable, stupidable.... see it's affects are already taking hold of me....
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Laurie  (barksbooks).
1,722 reviews670 followers
November 23, 2009
I originally read this way back when it was released and I was still a teen but have held on to it ever since. I'm going to finally set it free but will reread it first to see what I think now that I'm a wee bit older ;)

Comments on the reread:
As is typical of many of Koontz novels, this one starts out with mysterious men conducting experiments of a nefarious nature. A baby named Laura is born, her mother dies in childbirth and she's raised by her loving dad and watched over by a mysterious "guardian angel", a big blond man who saves her life on more than one occasion. Also, making an appearance is a man who wants both the guardian angel and Laura dead.

The first part of the book is spent getting to know Laura and grieving with her when her world falls apart. The thing that struck me most about this book was the length of time Koontz was allowed to develop his main characters. This is something I find incredibly lacking with many of the horror novels by newer authors I've attempted to read lately (Bryan Smith comes to mind). Koontz completely immerses you in Laura's world and allows you to care deeply for her and to care about the people she loves. As much as character study as it is a fast paced time-travel, suspense filled read, Lightning managed to capture my attention throughout most of it (and it was long!). My attention only began to wane near the end of the book when the adventure bit and war talk took center stage. I'm glad I reread this before setting it free and hope someone else finds it as interesting as I did.
Profile Image for bookswithpaulette.
451 reviews174 followers
June 24, 2022
Nice to revisit old skool koontz again after reading this book as a teen. Not my fav but still a fun ride down memory lane
Profile Image for Adam.
168 reviews38 followers
March 25, 2019
Review of the audiobook narrated by Christopher Lane.

This was my second Koontz book and I had the same experience as the first (Intensity) where I found it enjoyable, but didn't quite love it. The book starts out at breakneck pace and Koontz's experience writing thrillers is evidenced by how tightly the book is written, with nothing extraneous being added which may slow things down. Interesting characters, some humor thrown in and an unexplained mystery keep things engaging throughout. I will say that I had already figured out the "twist" by the time we're told and that the impetus for the entire plot was weak, but overall I enjoyed it and will likely keep reading Koontz.

I was impressed with Christopher Lane's performance and ability to voice a wide array of characters. He injects a lively energy into each and every one of the characters, managing at the same time to not make them sound comical.

Final verdict: 3.5 star story, 5 star narration, 4 stars overall
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