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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Geraldine
  • Horse Cave, KY, United States
  • 05-31-05

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

  • 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

  • Overall
  • Jerry
  • Ashburn, VA, USA
  • 04-07-05

DK has done WAY better......

I preface this review by stating I LOVE DK - he has thrilled, frightened, enthralled, and otherwise captivated me with almost every other book he's written. Life Expectancy was a disappointment - a huge yawn. It almost seems that the premise (a pastry chef turned ultimate hero) was chosen to "prove" he (DK) can make even the most banal scenario interesting, but it failed to rise even to that unlikely occasion. DK, how about finishing the Christopher Snow/Fear Nothing trilogy?

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Martha
  • rapid city, SD, USA
  • 02-09-05

Fun - but kind of corney

I liked this ok.However, the strange occupations, unusual family members, whacky statements that in the beginning were quirky and funny soon became corney and dumb.Though I usually like the long version, this one I would suggest abbriged. Not the best by this author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Life Expentancy

Loved this book and would recommend it to anyone. A wonderful ride!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tery
  • Tahlequah, OK, USA
  • 09-02-05

Disappointing Koontz

I am normally a big fan of Dean Koontz and have enjoyed every book I have read, until this one. In fact, this one was so trite, sappy and cheezy that I had to check a couple of times to be sure it WAS Koontz! Predictable in spots, over-the-top stupid in others; far and away his worst book in my opinion. There is not anyway to describe this accurately. It's sort of a "Wonderful Life" meets "Killer Clowns from Outer Space" type of novel. I would not bother with this one.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • 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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • B
  • USA
  • 02-26-05

One Star is One Star Too Many!

This book deserves no stars.
Not that Koontz hasn't written some very fine fiction. I recommend listeners choose "The Face" or "By the Light of the Moon" if they are considering raiding their book balance for a Dean Koontz book.
The pitiful attempts at humor suggest that Dean needs to stop watching sitcoms before writing. The story showed promise, but apparently the author found (about half way through) that an in-depth discussion of each of the "fateful days" made for a too long book, so he began taking expositional shortcuts and paraphrasing. But the WORST CHEAP PLOY was the stupid change of narrator at the end which the new narrator announces is to 'build suspense.' Very sucky writing.
Then there's the stupid, unbelievable ending. I could go on, but why? DON'T CHOOSE THIS BOOK (unless it's free and you need a bad piece of fiction to complete some critical writing assignment!)

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Barmace
  • SIDNEY, ME United States
  • 02-17-05


The Face was the first book I heard from Dean Koontz. So I was excited to download this book. Yea there was twists in the book but the beginning was SO SLOW and drawn out it took forever to get through the first prediction I wanted to scream, the second was just as long and drawn out I wanted to scream even louder. I would say the last few hours of the book was good but the rest was not worth listening to.

The FACE IS A GREAT AND INTRIGUING AUDIOBOOK. Shame on you Dean. This is not your best work.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Nearly Odd, but not quite.

I recently rediscovered Dean Koontz with his title Odd Thomas, which I have placed reverently on the top shelf of my CD collection as a classic. I was pleased to find much of the quirky humor and tone that made Odd Thomas such a good read. The pastry chef character was a little harder to relate to than the lonely fry cook from Odd Thomas, but both had very endearing qualities. There were a couple of gotchas in there that had me simultaneously fuming mad and chuckling with relief. Punch had me nearly rolling on the floor a few times with his irreverent outlook on life and his starring role in it. I can't give it the same high marks I give Odd Thomas. After all, Da Vinci only painted one Mona Lisa and there can be only one Odd Thomas, but Life Expectancy is a contender.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful