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Life Expectancy | [Dean Koontz]

Life Expectancy

Jimmy Tock comes into the world on the very night his grandfather leaves it. As a violent storm rages outside the hospital, Rudy Tock spends long hours walking the corridors between the expectant fathers' waiting room and his dying father's bedside. It's a strange vigil made all the stranger when, at the very height of the storm's fury, Josef Tock suddenly sits up in bed and speaks coherently for the first and last time since his stroke.
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Publisher's Summary

Jimmy Tock comes into the world on the very night his grandfather leaves it. As a violent storm rages outside the hospital, Rudy Tock spends long hours walking the corridors between the expectant fathers' waiting room and his dying father's bedside. It's a strange vigil made all the stranger when, at the very height of the storm's fury, Josef Tock suddenly sits up in bed and speaks coherently for the first and last time since his stroke.

What he says before he dies is that there will be five dark days in the life of his grandson, five dates whose terrible events Jimmy will have to prepare himself to face. The first is to occur in his 20th year; the second in his 23rd year; the third in his 28th; the fourth in his 29th; the fifth in his 30th.

Rudy is all too ready to discount his father's last words as a dying man's delusional rambling. But then he discovers that Josef also predicted the time of his grandson's birth to the minute, as well as his exact height and weight, and the fact that Jimmy would be born with syndactyly, the unexplained anomaly of fused digits, on his left foot. Suddenly the old man's predictions take on a chilling significance.

What terrifying events await Jimmy on these five dark days? What nightmares will he face? What challenges must he survive? As the novel unfolds, picking up Jimmy's story at each of these crisis points, the path he must follow will defy every expectation. And with each crisis he faces, he will move closer to a fate he could never have imagined. For who Jimmy Tock is and what he must accomplish on the five days when his world turns is a mystery as dangerous as it is wondrous, a struggle against an evil so dark and pervasive, only the most extraordinary of human spirits can shine through.

©2004 Dean Koontz; (P)2004 Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Emotionally powerful and thought-provoking." (Booklist)
"Of all best-selling authors, Koontz may be the most underestimated by the literary establishment....A master storyteller and a daring writer....Koontz is a true original and this novel, one of his most unusual yet, will leave readers aglow." (Publishers Weekly)
"Mr. Koontz is a skillful storyteller....His new Life Expectancy offers a clear illustration of what he does right." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (806 )
5 star
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4.2 (175 )
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  •  
    brian cedar rapids, IA, United States 12-24-10
    brian cedar rapids, IA, United States 12-24-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    44
    ratings
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    4
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    Overall
    "surprised"

    I had never read a book from this author until now. I heard that this one was a bit on the quirky side....and I felt I needed to read something a bit light hearted. I was really enthralled by this book! It was fun, sad, and a joy to read. I'm going to read more of his books now!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherif chicago, IL, USA 11-13-06
    Sherif chicago, IL, USA 11-13-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    1
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    Overall
    "Awesome"

    I'm a fan of Koontz. All I can say is that this book is marvelous and was up to my expectations (or expectancy :) ), it's worth the time and money. John Bedford Lloyd is a great narrator. Clear and changes his voice and tone professionally according to characters. He could give me 100% understanding of the book though English is not my native language. Thanks to both of them.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Hull Texas 10-31-06
    S. Hull Texas 10-31-06 Listener Since 2006

    el magnifico

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    30
    4
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    "Creative and Worth your time"

    Not generally a fan of narrative style stories, but this is amazing! funny and edge of your seat gripping storytelling. get it, you won't regret it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie Taylor Ayala San Clemente, CA USA 08-23-05
    Leslie Taylor Ayala San Clemente, CA USA 08-23-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    94
    7
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    Overall
    "Enjoyable, but long winded in places"

    I enjoyed this book and the reader, but there were certain places I just really wanted to get to the action. Koontz could have picked up the pace a little. Very nicely done wiht the twists and surprises, though!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory Garland, TX, USA 07-06-05
    Gregory Garland, TX, USA 07-06-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    139
    1
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    Overall
    "Great book"

    After Odd Thomas, this was the second Koontz novel I either listened to or read. Like Odd Thomas, this story is both witty and suspenseful. I recommend it highly. Sadly, the other Koontz novels I've listened to or read subsequently (Velocity, The Taking, Dragon Tears, Mr. Murder and Cold Fire), while good (except The Taking, which was a major disappointment) just don't compare.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geraldine Horse Cave, KY, United States 05-31-05
    Geraldine Horse Cave, KY, United States 05-31-05 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
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    227
    18
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    Overall
    "Just plain good"

    Dean Koontz fans seem hesitant to give this book a full five, although most say they liked it. I liked the life attitude--sure, some believability had to be suspended, but isn't it always when you read fiction? If I wanted dramatization, I'd listen to David McCullough.
    Any book that is so good that it keeps you up two nights straight deserves five stars. Any book that is so good it delays my morning coffee is also worth five stars. This book is that good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kyle Clinton TWP, Mi 05-03-05
    Kyle Clinton TWP, Mi 05-03-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    Overall
    "A Must Read"

    Amazing! He really keeps you guessing until the very last page! Everytime I read a Koontz book, I think it's his best. This is no excpetion!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Roberts Singapore 04-07-05
    Andrew Roberts Singapore 04-07-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    51
    ratings
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    10
    5
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    Overall
    "Cake mix entertainment"

    This was the worst Koontz I have read to date, loving his other works. I think this is partly due to the narrator and due to some aspects of the characters. I found paddle toed Jimmy rather annoying, so much so that I hoped he did get blown away on one of the five fateful days. Pity for the story that he did not, as all suspense was lost early on knowing that he would survive all 5 days intact. Jimmy and Lori were just so smug with their otherwise perfect little life, it made me reach for the nausea pills on more than one occaision. Consider other Koontz before this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Shea Gainesville, FL USA 03-07-05
    J. Shea Gainesville, FL USA 03-07-05 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    87
    7
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    Overall
    "Not Koontz's best -- overly windy"

    I'm a Koontz fan and have been reading his material for 20 years. I usually love anything he writes -- my last listen, Odd Thomas, was great. This time Koontz gets obsessed with some not-so-witty dialogue in the first of the 5 substories. In addition, the reader, although energetic, was not my favorite. His reading during Jimmy's grandfather's predictions in the beginning was almost enough to turn me off to the whole book. I almost wish it had after dragging my way through this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex Lakeside, CA, United States 03-05-05
    Alex Lakeside, CA, United States 03-05-05 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    58
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    44
    8
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    1
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    Overall
    "Sneaky Suspenseful and Sardonic"

    I'll admit I stopped about halfway through the tale, however, as the days counted on and the story bloomed, I was pleased with the story overall. I would recommend this one in audio format over the written format just for the reader's eerily accurate representation of the antagonist(s).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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