Wednesday, November 08, 2006


by Dean Koontz
Bantam Books
476 pages

Many years ago a good friend handed me a paperback copy of the WATCHERS by Dean R. Koontz and told me to, "Read this." Since that time, I've become a big-time Koontz fan and have read dozens of his books since. THE WATCHERS still remains one of my favorite books ever. But in those intervening years, Koontz has been hit or miss with me. I've loved lots of his work, and others have left me very disappointed. So, whenever a new one comes out, I give it a very serious scrutiny before plucking down my hard earned bucks. I've discovered as a Koontz follower that he writes two different kinds of thrillers; the dark and deadly type that scares the pants off you and the light and whimsical kind. The latter often deals with issues of personal philosophy and our places in this world. Those are usually the titles that entertain me the most. LIFE EXPECTANCY is very much one of these and a real treat. If you are a Koontz fan, you'll love this book. If you've never read any of his books before,
well, "Read this."

On the night Jimmy Tock was born, his dying grandfather made a prediction that there would be five terrible days in his future. Within hours of his birth, a crazed circus clown named Konrad Beezo murders a doctor and nurse because his own wife dies in childbirth. He escapes into the night with his infant son. What is his connection with the Tock family and their newest member? Thus starts one of Koontz's most memorable yarns to date. Jimmy is a great, eccentric character who wants to live his life as peacefully and dully as is humanly possible. Unfortunately the five days of horror are coming as time passes and he has no choice but to confront them, one by one.

The ingenuity and heart of this book left me crying in several places, happily so. Like myself, Koontz believes there is a destiny shaped by a mysterious God and that each of is a unique piece of that cosmic puzzle called life. We can choose to play out our parts or rebel against them, but regardless, the tapestry of life will continue to be woven in an immortal image beyond our mortal comprehension. Such is the magic of every single human life brilliantly captured by this amazing book. Be prepared to be enchanted.


Larry Marshall said...

Interesting to see you review a Koontz book, Ron. I tried one of them at one time. Didn't like it at all and haven't tried any others, though I have a couple, including Watchers, on my bookshelf... somewhere.

What other books has he done that fit the "the light and whimsical kind" descriptor? Will have to give Watchers a try.

Cheers --- Larry

Ron Fortier said...

Larry, as I said in my review, Koontz is unpredictable. But if you have WATCHERS, I would urge you to pick it up and give it a go. Now, digging through my own Koontz shelf, I would also recommend, FEAR NOTHING and its sequel SEIZE THE NIGHT, about a young man who can only go out a night. COLD FIRE asks, what if you not only to predict horrible events, but actually prevent them. As close to a "real" superhero treatment as you will find anywhere. A personal favorite. And finally, FROM THE CORNER OF HIS EYE and ONE DOORWAY AWAY FROM HEAVEN, although are thrillers, with a good deal of terror, they get heavily into the that philosophical zone about destiny and the human condition I mentioned in my review. All food for some serious thought.

Larry Marshall said...

Thanks for the extended review of Koontz books. That list gives me a place to start. I'll get some Koontz books into the read pile.

Cheers --- Larry