Author: Dean Koontz
Published: March 2009 by Bantam
Source: Personal Copy
Description: Bestselling novelist Cullen “Cubby” Greenwich is a lucky man and he knows it. He makes a handsome living doing what he enjoys. His wife, Penny, a children’s book author and illustrator, is the love of his life. Together they have a brilliant six-year-old, Milo, affectionately dubbed “Spooky,” and a non-collie named Lassie, who’s all but part of the family. So Cubby knows he shouldn’t let one bad review of his otherwise triumphant new book get to him—even if it does appear in the nation’s premier newspaper and is penned by the much-feared, seldom-seen critic, Shearman Waxx. Cubby knows the best thing to do is ignore the gratuitously vicious, insulting, and inaccurate comments. Penny knows it, even little Milo knows it. If Lassie could talk, she’d tell Cubby to ignore them, too. Ignore Shearman Waxx and his poison pen is just what Cubby intends to do. Until he happens to learn where the great man is taking his lunch. Cubby just wants to get a look at the mysterious recluse whose mere opinion can make or break a career—or a life. But Shearman Waxx isn’t what Cubby expects; and neither is the escalating terror that follows what seemed to be an innocent encounter. For Waxx gives criticism; he doesn’t take it. He has ways of dealing with those who cross him that Cubby is only beginning to fathom. Soon Cubby finds himself in a desperate struggle with a relentless sociopath, facing an inexorable assault on far more than his life.
I Give This ...
I've been reading Dean Koontz for years. I think his books aren't for everyone. But, I love them (usually). This one was no exception. In the end, I didn't fully buy into the theory of why the critic was terrorizing Cubby, but I didn't care because the rest of the novel more than made up for the ending.
This book was as fast past of most of his horror novels. It takes place over a matter of days. When the book still has the normal feel, I was actually a little tense over the events. Who wouldn't be if you wake in the middle of the night to someone in your room and the power cut. While, the events eventually become a little bit more unbelievable (Koontz books often become very science fiction or paranormal), they are still downright terrifying. Having people track you down relentlessly and realizing they've done it to other people before you is a great storyline. And Koontz doesn't mince words in describing some of the torture these villains have used against their victims.
Oddly enough, there's humor in this novel as well. I was particularly fond of Milo by the end of the story. He had some great lines throughout. Being a boy genius wise way beyond his years brings an interesting twist to the story. He can do things his parents never though possible. Which in the end actually saves the day! I also really loved Penny. You would have to be a special character to have a genius for a son and a husband with the kind of background he does. Add in the dog with a special "talent" and it's just a great story. Cubby is also a great narrative. I enjoyed watching how he reacted to each terror that surrounds them especially in light of what happened to him as a child.
I was really happy to finally get around to reading this one. Koontz is just so hard to predict. Sometimes his story venture to far off the map to really enjoy. But, this was great!