Read Shadowfires Online

Authors: Dean Koontz

Tags: #Suspense, #Fiction, #Thrillers

Shadowfires

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Table of Contents
 
 
 
 
Rachael’s request for a quick and clean divorce enraged her husband. She had never seen Eric so angry, so consumed by pure and terrifying hatred. Then, in the heat of the moment, Eric was struck down in a traffic accident. His death was instantaneous. Shocked and relieved, Rachael had nothing left to fear. Until Eric’s body disappeared from the morgue—and Rachael was stalked by someone who looked like her dead husband . . .
SHADOWFIRES
“Koontz is a master at constructing vivid, eerily realistic worlds that hold readers spellbound.”
—Booklist
The Eyes of Darkness
“Koontz puts his readers through the emotional wringer!”
—The Associated Press
 
The Key to Midnight
“A master storyteller . . . always riveting.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune
 
Mr. Murder
“A truly harrowing tale . . . superb work by a master at the top of his form.”—
The Washington Post Book World
 
The Funhouse
“Koontz is a terrific what-if storyteller.”—
People
 
Dragon Tears
“A razor-sharp, nonstop, suspenseful story . . . a first-rate literary experience.”—
The San Diego Union-Tribune
 
Shadowfires
“His prose mesmerizes . . . Koontz consistently hits the bull’s-eye.”—
Arkansas Democrat
 
Hideaway
“Not just a thriller but a meditation on the nature of good and evil.”—
Lexington Herald-Leader
 
Cold Fire
“An extraordinary piece of fiction . . . It will be a classic.”
—UPI
The House of Thunder
“Koontz is brilliant.”—
Chicago Sun-Times
 
The Voice of the Night
“A fearsome tour of an adolescent’s psyche. Terrifying, knee-knocking suspense.”—
Chicago Sun-Times
 
The Bad Place
“A new experience in breathless terror.”—UPI
 
The Servants of Twilight
“A great storyteller.”—
New York Daily News
 
Midnight
“A triumph.”—
The New York Times
 
Lightning
“Brilliant . . . a spine-tingling tale . . . both challenging and entertaining.”—The Associated Press
 
The Mask
“Koontz hones his fearful yarns to a gleaming edge.”

People
 
Watchers
“A breakthrough for Koontz . . . his best ever.”

Kirkus Reviews
 
Twilight Eyes
“A spine-chilling adventure . . . will keep you turning pages to the very end.”—
Rave Reviews
 
 
Strangers
“A unique spellbinder that captures the reader on the first page. Exciting, enjoyable, and an intensely satisfying read.”
—Mary Higgins Clark
 
Demon Seed
“One of our finest and most versatile suspense writers.”

The Macon Telegraph & News
 
Phantoms
“First-rate suspense, scary and stylish.”—
Los Angeles Times
 
Whispers
“Pulls out all the stops . . . an incredible, terrifying tale.”

Publishers Weekly
 
Night Chills
“Will send chills down your back.”—
The New York Times
 
Darkfall
“A fast-paced tale . . . one of the scariest chase scenes ever.”

The Houston Post
 
Shattered
“A chilling tale . . . sleek as a bullet.”—
Publishers Weekly
 
The Vision
“Spine-tingling—it gives you an almost lethal shock.”

San Francisco Chronicle
 
The Face of Fear
“Real suspense . . . tension upon tension.”

The New York Times
Berkley titles by Dean Koontz
THE EYES OF DARKNESS
THE KEY TO MIDNIGHT
MR. MURDER
THE FUNHOUSE
DRAGON TEARS
SHADOWFIRES
HIDEAWAY
COLD FIRE
THE HOUSE OF THUNDER
THE VOICE OF THE NIGHT
THE BAD PLACE
THE SERVANTS OF TWILIGHT
MIDNIGHT
LIGHTNING
THE MASK
WATCHERS
TWILIGHT EYES
STRANGERS
DEMON SEED
PHANTOMS
WHISPERS
NIGHT CHILLS
DARKFALL
SHATTERED
THE VISION
THE FACE OF FEAR
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada
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Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
South Africa
 
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
 
Originally published under the pseudonym Leigh Nichols.
 
SHADOWFIRES
 
A Berkley Book / published by arrangement with Nkui, Inc.
 
PRINTING HISTORY
Dark Harvest edition published 1990
First Berkley mass-market edition / June 1993
Berkley afterword edition / August 2008
 
Copyright © 1987 by Nkui, Inc.
 
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form
without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in
violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
 
eISBN : 978-0-425-22385-7
 
BERKLEY
®
Berkley Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
BERKLEY
®
is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
The “B” design is a trademark belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
 

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This book is dedicated to
Dick and Ann Laymon
who simply can’t be as nice
as they seem.
And a special hello
to Kelly.
A gasp of breath, a sudden death: the tale begun.
 
—The Book of Counted Sorrows
PART ONE
DARK
To know the darkness is to love the light, to welcome dawn and fear the coming night.
 

The Book of Counted Sorrows
1
SHOCK
Brightness fell from the air, nearly as tangible as rain. It rippled down windows, formed colorful puddles on the hoods and trunks of parked cars, and imparted a wet sheen to the leaves of trees and to the chrome on the bustling traffic that filled the street. Miniature images of the California sun shimmered in every reflective surface, and downtown Santa Ana was drenched in the clear light of a late-June morning.
When Rachael Leben exited the lobby doors of the office building and stepped onto the sidewalk, the summer sunshine felt like warm water on her bare arms. She closed her eyes and, for a moment, turned her face to the heavens, bathing in the radiance, relishing it.
“You stand there smiling as if nothing better has ever happened to you or ever will,” Eric said sourly when he followed her out of the building and saw her luxuriating in the June heat.
“Please,” she said, face still tilted to the sun, “let’s not have a scene.”
“You made a fool of me in there.”
“I certainly did not.”
“What the hell are you trying to prove, anyway?”
She did not respond; she was determined not to let him spoil the lovely day. She turned and started to walk away.
Eric stepped in front of her, blocking her way. His gray-blue eyes usually had an icy aspect, but now his gaze was hot.
“Let’s not be childish,” she said.
“You’re not satisfied just to leave me. You’ve got to let the world know you don’t need me or any damn thing I can give you.”
“No, Eric. I don’t care what the world thinks of you—one way or the other.”
“You want to rub my face in it.”
“That’s not true, Eric.”
“Oh, yes,” he said. “Hell, yes. You’re just reveling in my humiliation. Wallowing in it.”
She saw him as she had never seen him before: a pathetic man. Previously he’d seemed strong to her: physically, emotionally, and mentally strong; strong-willed; strongly opinionated. He was aloof, too, and sometimes cold. He could be cruel. And there had been times during their seven years of marriage when he had been as distant as the moon. But until this moment, he’d never seemed weak or pitiable.
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