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The Husband ()

"I'd like to think I don't have any enemies."

"Everyone has enemies. Even a saint has enemies."

"Why would a saint have enemies?"

"The wicked hate the good just because they are good."

"The word wicked sounds so...."

"Quaint," Taggart suggested.

"I guess in your work, everything looks black-and-white."

"Under all the shades of gray, everything is black-and-white, Mitch."
-The Husband

Dean Koontz's latest is a classic example of the high concept thriller--indeed, it's already headed to theater screens. Mitchell Rafferty is a perfectly average California landscaper until May 14th at 11:43 in the morning when he receives a cell phone call from his young wife:
"Mitch, I love you," Holly said.

"Hey, sweetie."

"Whatever happens, I love you."

She cried out in pain. A clatter and crash suggested a struggle.
Then her kidnappers come on the line and demand a $2 million ransom from this fellow with a few thousand dollar in savings and, to demonstrate how serious they are, the person walking his dog across the street from Mitch is felled by a single sniper shot. Thus, the concept, and Mr. Koontz never takes his foot off the gas pedal thereafter.

The first half of the book consists of Mitch unraveling why the men who have Holly would imagine that he could get his hands on this kind of money. Before he does there are moments when we're not only as bewildered as Mitch but eager to say how Mr. Koontz writes his way out of the mystery. The plot twist with which he does so is tremendously satisfying, so much so that it hardly matters that from there on in the wrap up is somewhat formulaic. It obviously helps that the formula happens to be in the hands of a very capable veteran novelist who knows how to keep us on the line once he's set the hook. Fans of Mr. Koontz won't be disappointed and for those who've never read him this would be a perfect place to start.


Grade: (A)


See also:

Dean Koontz Links:

    -Dean Koontz (Wikipedia)
    -Dean Koontz - Home Page (Random House)
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Dean R. Koontz (IMDB)
    -PROFILE: What scares master of suspense Dean Koontz? Plenty.: He’s sold more than 500 million books, writes two novels every year, lives like a prince and keeps his manuscripts in the fridge in case of fire (Karen Heller, May 3, 2023, Washington Post)
    -ESSAY: Pitching Films on the Page (JANET MASLIN, May 26, 2006, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of The Husband by Dean Koontz (DeWana Yates Howard, Decatur Daily)
    -REVIEW: of The Husband (
    -REVIEW: of The Husband (
    -REVIEW: of The Husband (
    -REVIEW: of Strangers by Dean R. Koontz (Deborah Kirk, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Watchers by Dean R. Koontz (Katharine Weber, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Midnight by Dean R. Koontz (David Murray, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Dark Rivers of the Heart by Dean Koontz (Jay E. Rosen, NY Tim es Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Intensity By Dean Koontz (Colin Harrison, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz (Charles Salzberg, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Fear Nothing By Dean Koontz (Maggie Garb, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Seize the Night by Dean Koontz (David Walton, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of From the Corner of His Eye by Dean Koontz (Janet Maslin, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz (Janet Maslin, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz (Janet Maslin, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of Velocity by Dean Koontz (Janet Maslin, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of Forever Odd by Dean Koontz (Janet Maslin, NY Times)

Book-related and General Links: