This was my first time reading Dean Koontz and I was left thinking, “where the hell has this author been all my life!” I’ve heard of him, but I always put him in the horror genre and that’s not really my thing. Maybe he does write horror and I can see how this book has some in it, but it is actually a thriller, the type of story that I love!
Billy Wiles is a bartender living a seemingly average life in a small town until he walks to his truck and finds a note. “If you don’t take this note to the police and get them involved, I will kill a lovely blond schoolteacher. If you do take this note to the police, I will instead kill an elderly woman active in charity work. You have four hours to decide. The choice is yours.” After reading it, Billy doesn’t at first believe it, thinks it’s a joke, but he is inevitably thrust into a dark world where he attempts to answer the question we all can’t help but ask, “what would you do.”
I can tell you it wasn’t at all what I expected when I first read the synopsis and decided to dig in. There were so many twists and turns and I was carried along on the wave of intensity and despair and all the myriad emotions Billy experiences throughout.
Koontz is a master storyteller. He introduces many questions, as any good storyteller does, and just when I am really wondering what the answer is, he answers it. But there are times you forget about the question because there is so much going on and then halfway through the book you remember and just when you start asking again, he answers that one. The book is filled with brilliant descriptions and everything ties into each other. Even the things you think are just filler eventually tie into the climax and round everything out. Of course, these things don’t make themselves completely known until you close the cover of the book and you start remembering all the minute details and how one scene led seamlessly into the next.
I am definitely a fan and even have another Koontz book sitting on my table with a bookmark already holding my place in the first chapter.
I can’t end this review without a few more quotes (I used one for Teaser Tuesday as well) because they are brilliant and I was left in awe, wondering if I would ever have the talent to write such beauty set in so much darkness.
“As the night futilely resisted the early purple light…”
“He was a man whose love of power was clear for all to see, but whose internal landscape remained as enigmatic as an alien planet.”
“The dying sun spilled fierce bloody light on the dimensional mural under construction across the highway from the tavern.”
“What will happen will happen. There is time for miracles until there is no more time, but time has no end.”
I could go on, but there are so many, I wouldn’t know where to stop.
Go find it.
Pick it up.