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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

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  •  
    penwen 01-20-09
    penwen 01-20-09 Member Since 2008
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    1
    Overall
    "SLOW"

    THE BOOK STARTED REAL SLOW, I THOUGHT I HAD MADE A MISTAKE, BUT IT THEN REALLY TAKES OFF. ALL IN ALL IT WAS ONE GOOD READ.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    they call me trouble 09-19-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
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    10
    2
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    "disappointed"

    Not one of his better stories.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    April Tallahassee, FL, USA 04-18-05
    April Tallahassee, FL, USA 04-18-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    27
    5
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    "Not One of His Best"

    I love Koontz, but this one was definately not one of his best. I felt embarrased for the narrator's rendition. Most of his characterizations sounded just like Deputy Droop Along. Horrible! The five days, although exciting, became boring...they all had the same theme, and left the reader feeling... Disappointed.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eileen Tinley Park, IL, United States 02-02-05
    Eileen Tinley Park, IL, United States 02-02-05 Member Since 2002
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    "Evil clowns??"

    I wasn't too sure about this book when I first got into it. We're talking about evil clowns here which creeps me out enough thanks to good ol' Stephen King. Unlike SK's ability to make you BELIEVE it, I, at first, was skeptical and even laughed at some of the bizarre situations that set up this book.

    HOWEVER, I will say that I continued on and I did enjoy this book quite a bit more than I would've believed when I first started. The characters of Lori and Jimmy (and Jimmy's hilarious family) were very endearing. The storytelling reminded me a bit of "Odd Thomas" which I LOVED, by the way.

    Koontz pulls one out with this book, and I would recommend it. While I have read other books by him I liked more ("Odd Thomas" being one), it wouldn't prevent me from telling my friends to check it out. It was entertaining, suspenseful, and had some really great twists that made me audibly gasp. I sometimes can see things coming far in advance, but not with this book.

    If you're like me and hate clowns anyway, that should give you enough creep-factor to get started. Just don't get distracted in the beginning with the over-the-top storyline. I promise, it gets better fast.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Normal, IL, United States 01-25-05
    Cynthia Normal, IL, United States 01-25-05 Member Since 2002
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    "Life Expectancy"

    Entertained by angels, unaware; prepare to be amazed.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Casey Phoenix, AZ, USA 08-14-08
    Casey Phoenix, AZ, USA 08-14-08 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    141
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    "Is this a farce?"

    Is Koontz a comedy writer now? I could see this one fitting into the Scary Movie genre.

    Some of the dialogue makes me think that it was written with that in mind.

    It's almost as if he were dared by a friend to write a story that included a circus clown and a baker as its main characters. He certainly did it, but the result while well written is just plain bizarre.

    Not my favorite Koontz by a long shot.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Forest City, PA, USA 10-22-07
    Robert Forest City, PA, USA 10-22-07
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    68
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    "Classic Koontz"

    Definatly one of my favorite Koontz books. The characters were great and the story had enough twists and turns to keep me interested.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith Stansbury Park, UT, USA 02-04-05
    Judith Stansbury Park, UT, USA 02-04-05
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    "Life Expectancy"

    Wow, what a wonderful Dean Koontz novel! At first I was expecting the usual Koontz supernatural tale, however, I was very pleasantly surprised and entertained with this intense, but funny tale of a very remarkable man and his family. Loved it!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lyn McCullough-Tarr Cut Knife, Saskatchewan, CA 04-20-07
    Lyn McCullough-Tarr Cut Knife, Saskatchewan, CA 04-20-07 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Imposter!!"

    OK, what have you done with the real Dean Koontz? This book was surely not written by him! Not even close to his usual superb style. Cryptic, stilted, inappropriate, STUPID conversation. Predictable plot from start to finish. Complete waste of time. Spend your money on ANY other of his books - not this one!

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
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