But Chris' brilliant mother, a scientist, was killed in a car accident two years ago, and as the book opens his father, Steven Snow, is dying of cancer; Chris' protected life is about to change forever. We meet Chris as he is carefully preparing himself to go out in the late-afternoon sun to visit the hospital. In his last moments of life his father tells Chris he is "sorry" and that Chris should "fear nothing", cryptic words that Chris cannot really relate to.
Steven Snow's body is removed to the hospital basement for transport to the funeral home/crematorium, and when Chris goes downstairs for a final moment of farewell, he witnesses a frightening and clandestine encounter: the funeral director and another man Chris doesn't recognize are substituting the body of a hitchhiker for Steven Snow's body, which is being taken not to the crematorium but to some secret destination.
For Chris, this scene is the first intimation of a conspiracy that he will come to realize envelopes many of his townspeople. His parents knew of it and wanted to protect Chris from it. His best friend has had hints of something wrong because of the frightening nocturnal visitors that have come to his beach house. And the first person to try to explain to Chris what's going on, and warn him about the special danger he himself is in, will be hideously murdered.
©1998 Dean Koontz; (P)1998 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
"Szarabajka's reading, like Koontz's writing, sweeps listeners into the exciting adventure and keeps them rooting for the unlikely hero." (AudioFile)
There are some parts in this book that are among the best if not THE best that I have ever read in the horror genre. There is a great part involving a monkey, an even better "hallucinogenic" meeting between two men, a cat and a dog and a real spooky conversation with a cop (or is it?) in a car.
I certainly have read tons of horror from Lovecraft to Clive Barker and Koontz to Poe. In THIS book I experienced the first time in my life that the author managed to get "into my head", leaving me with sweaty hands at some point.
Unfortunately, these are bits and pieces that will last the the equivalent of maybe 4 to 8 pages in a book and look at how much time there is, overall.
All in all the first 65 percent are very entertaining and in parts world-class - the best, maybe, I have ever read.
Then disaster strikes. I recommend reading reviews on the real book on a website of your choice and it will become clear, that, as always, there are heated debates about Koontz' attempts to be that literary juggler of words. He manages to bore in the last third of the book like it's running out of fashion. It's nuts, he just destroys everything. So if I may make an unusual suggestion: get it, there is great stuff. Once you get into the boring part, just stop it and start a new book. Most folks wouldn't follow this advice for we are partly looking for an experience of completeness in a book, but this is nevertheless what I recommend. After all, there is some great thrills and what use is there to listen to hours and hours of literary craziness of absolutely zero value?
An infantile soup of high-flying ideas, home-baked philosophy, overblown gore and tasteless wisecracking. The most annoying aspect of DK-s writing is his total incapability of creating believable characters. In the matter of seconds, everyone in this book is able to go from normal to effortless killing to terrible remorse to lightweight lame-joking. Everyone from a street cop to a neuro-scientist seems also to have attended the same public speaking classes for they all use the same vocabulary and really annoying, incredibly long smartass sentences. They are cartoons from some film noir parody, not real people. This all could be funny if only the author wouldn't want so desperately to make us FEEL for all that's happening there.
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