Reviews for Lightning

Library Journal
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On the night of Laura Shane's birth, a stranger appears from the lightning to prevent her delivery's being botched by an alcoholic physician. Throughout Laura's childhood the stranger reappears at times of danger. He protects rather than threatens, yet menace seems to follow him. Thirty years later another storm flashes and the stranger collapses, shot, at Laura's door. Now Laura protects her erstwhile guardian from mysterious hunters. He reveals that he and the hunters are time travelers. Laura, quick-witted and brave, leads the way to a bloody showdown. The paradox in time travel's tampering with history provides an interesting twist in this gripping thriller by a popular writer. Literary Guild selection.A.M.B. Amantia, Population Crisis Committee Lib., Washington, D.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Shame on Koontz for following up his best chiller yet (the exciting, inspired Watchers) with this erratic popcorn that nearly buries its neat premise--time travelers from the past shadowing a woman's life--under soap operatics more absurd than any purveyed in his earlier novels. Strange is the childhood of Laura Shane: a blond mystery man saves her at birth from a drunken M.D., then turns up eight years later to save her and her shopkeeper dad from the hands of a crazed junkie. And Koontz matches this mystery with another: enigmatic scenes of ""the guardian""--""Stefan""--being tailed, and of his wiring for detonation the institute where he works. An enticing setup; but Koontz too soon sours these parallel puzzles with three-hankie melodrama. Laura's dad dies, so she's sent to an orphanage where she befriends a pair of twins but is menaced by a child-abusing aide with the Dickensian name of Sheener. In time, Laura slays Sheener in self-defense; but a fire kills one of the twins. Laura and the other twin, Thelma, bond and grow into fairy-tale destinies: Laura--who marries and has a son--becomes the nation's #1 novelist, while Thelma reigns as the #1 comedienne. Meanwhile, Koontz reveals that Stefan is. . .a time-traveling Nazi attached to an experiment aimed at grabbing an atom bomb for Hitler, but Stefan has fallen in love with Laura (he read her books during one of his time-trips); hence his twinkling into her life at critical times. And he's a good Nazi, too: he hates other Nazis and wants to destroy the institute (thus the tail on him--a suspicious security man). Once Stefan and Laura join forces (more time-traveling Nazis kill her husband), Koontz thankfully drops the suds for a rousing chase, with Laura showing great spunk in eluding and icing Nazis, and with Stefan jet-setting between past and present (and meeting with Churchill and Hitler) as the action chums to its frothy, bittersweet end. Despite patches of lickety-split narration and clever use of the time-travel theme, this uneasy amalgam of romance and chiller is second-rate Koontz (and closer in spirit to the contemporary-Gothic paperbacks he writes under the Leigh Nichols byline than to his other work). Still, Laura's a winsome heroine and her storybook adventures will probably appeal to most of Koontz's ever-growing legion of fans. Copyright ŠKirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly
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Since the night she was born, Laura Shane has been continually saved by a mysterious guardian who appears and disappears without a trail. Through the years, these random encounters prove more and more life-threatening, sending Shane down a dark path to which her savior, Stefan, has unintentionally led her and her family. But as Shane realizes when not where Stefan is from, she must scramble for her life as her enemies seek her out. Her only hope is in the knowledge that when lightning strikes, her enemies are near. Koontz isn't the first author to incorporate lightning with time travel, but he certainly shines new light on the subgenre of time travel. Koontz's 1988 novel gains new life in this unabridged production. Christopher Lane captures listeners with a stern and serious voice that can still lighten up, especially when voicing Shane's son, Chris, or other colorful characters. Lane's vocalizing of characters proves impressive, authentic and even amusing for everyone but Shane, whose voice is adequate but fades in comparison to the other characters. Regardless, Lane's narration improves upon the book by adding a tonal edge that will keep listeners' attention throughout all 14 hours. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Laura Shane leads a troubled life: she is orphaned, nearly molested twice and loses one of her closest friends in a tragic accident, all before her 13th birthday. Even worse events would have befallen Laura if not for the mysterious guardian angel who periodically appears with a bolt of lightning to miraculously rescue her. The ``angel,'' Stefan, is in fact a time traveler who rides the ``lightning road'' through time to follow Laura throughout her adult life; unfortunately, Stefan himself is being chased through time by a pack of equally mysterious villains, and their pursuit of Stefan and Laura spans the second half of the novel. The secret of the lightning road provides an intriguing mystery early on, but once it is revealed midway through the book as a complicated hybrid of borrowed science-fiction and political-thriller conceits, the narrative runs out of ideas. In the lightning road, Koontz has created the kind of sci-fi puzzle whose convoluted logic must be explained at every turn, and the momentum of the central, fairly standard chase suffers thereby. The drama of an innocent bystander forced by events to run for his or her life is familiar to Koontz readers, but this time he leaves out a vital ingredient; while his evil predators are often his most interesting characters (as in this year's Watchers, or the earlier Whispers), the villains of Lightning tend toward cliches. The reader senses that the author got too caught up in the trick of the lightning, and inadvertently stole the thunder from the rest of this potentially intriguing tale. (January) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved