Rating: it was amazing
This is my first book by Dean Koontz sensei but it won't be my last. I just purchased Odd Thomas at just $3.99 cuz thanks to my KU sub I can afford a few treats here and there. This book comes with animation and free audio so read it!!!
For me it's more a 4 stars than a full five but I think I'll trigger literary agencies/traditional publishers fans by giving a 5. It seems to me they're put out with Koontz sensei and Patricia Cornwell sensei now that they joined the cool group of authors that offer their books for the KU elite, coolest group of readers in goodreads!
Whoa! $9.99 for an ebook? So expensive!!! But lucky me I belong to the Kindle Unlimited elite, the coolest group of readers in goodreads!
For me it's
We the kindle unlimited elite read for free and strut away happily and look smug!
SMUG 'cuz it's FREE for us!!
You don't even need to have a kindle to get your KU subscription.
Join the KU elite!!! We're the coolest group on goodreads, we read the best books for a small monthly fee, discover new authors all the time and we still have money to purchase more and more books. Last time I checked for new users the first two months are free!!!!
Rating: really liked it
OK -- I've been a fan of Koontz since I read his first book as a teenager. Nobody matches him for verbosity, but his prose always captures me and keeps me hooked on whatever crazy story he is telling. To be sure, you need the ability to suspend disbelief as you enter his world, but it is always a fun ride and this was no exception. Enjoy!
David Thorne, an author of some renown, hasn't really gotten over his first love, Emily Carlino, since she vanished from a dark, deserted California highway over 10 years ago. Thought to be one of the victims of a serial killer, Thorne visits the prisoner at Folsom to find out if that is true. His repeated treks to the penitentiary provide no answers and there's no body for Thorne to bury. Then, he's minding his own business at his favorite restaurant at Newport Beach when he sees her. Only her name is Maddison Sutton. She looks and acts just like his Emily and Thorne falls down the rabbit hole. NO SPOILERS.
This was fast and entertaining and I read it over a couple of hours today. Koontz never lets me down even though his tales are incredibly fantastical and defy any sort of groundwork in reality as I know it. Who doesn't need a little escapism about now?
Borrowed this from a friend and happy to recommend.
Rating: liked it
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.
Dean has never been afraid to push the boundaries of strange and bizarre, presenting speculative fiction in a way that seems plausible. While The Other Emily won't be one of my personal Koontz favorites, there are ideas in the novel which are fun to contemplate.
Alone Among The Millions
He felt disoriented. As if he'd been folded into some universe parallel to the one in which he'd been born.
"I have much experience of blood," she said.
Jessup sincerely believed in his ability to preserve the dead from decay and in his eventual discovery of a way to reanimate them.
"It can be done with electricity," he declared. "I got it figured out."
He was a homicidal psychopathic sentimentalist whose emotional life was as vivid as it was confused, who was the star of his own soap opera and something of a psychic vampire.
When Emily disappeared, the world changed overnight, not just his life, not just his world, but the very world itself, as if the known universe intersected with another that was unknown, an din that quiet collision, an infinite number of subtle changes occurred. He could not define what was different, could not enumerate the many tweaks and twists, though he could feel the truth of them by the way the world loomed strange around him, by events that were too bizarre for the cosmos as it had been, but that unfurled in this new reality without seeming to amaze or disturb anyone but him.
The quiet in the cottage was so deep that the place might have been drifting outside of time, displaced by some quirk of physics. The planet rotated, and on the wall, the ladder of sunshine and shadow skewed somewhat, and the bright bands dimmed.
One Heart Beating, One Heart Still
He wanted to believe the world was shapen to a plan, this layered world of infinite mysteries, that by something akin to a miracle, he was being given a precious send chance. Impossibly, inexplicably, a second chance. He needed to believe no less than he needed to breathe. Although Maddison Sutton was wrapped in mystery, though she sailed into his life on a sea of strangeness through which he would have to chart a course, he was convinced that she meant him no harm. When all was understood, all would be well.
. . . he felt the world, which had for so long been wobbling on its axis, now establishing a right rotation, the broken past being repaired moment by moment, his long-lost future resolving into view once more.
A still, small voice within cautioned that this might not be the knitting together of a torn destiny. Not all mysteries, when solved, revealed a world of exquisite design or benign intention. Enigmas of physics, when deciphered, might produce a sublime light, but the answers to mysteries of human behavior seldom resulted in glorious revelations.
. . . what we perceive consciously is not the fullness of reality.
The feeling that overcame him was eerier than deja vu. He felt as if he were living through a novel that he had read years before and only half remembered, a work of fiction to which reality was in the process of conforming.
The Last of All Silences
"Life is full of mysteries, isn't it? And maybe we don't always need to know the answers to them. Each thing we don't understand is a wall, and we spend our lives throwing ourselves against those walls, with little to show for it in the end. Maybe sometimes it's just best to accept the limitations of our understanding, accept that some things will be forever beyond our knowledge."
"Let's never say 'tomorrow,' because all we ever have is the moment. People think there's a future, but there really isn't, not if we want to be totally honest with ourselves. There's the past, which we might wish desperately that we can change, and there's now. If we don't seize the now with all our might, it becomes just another part of the past that we end up wishing we could change."
"Is Lukas here? I hope he remembered our meeting."
She said, "Lukas is dead, the selfish sonofabitch."
The Thorn in the Heart
. . . he'd descended into denial that was a kind of madness, born of love and desperate hope. But to descend farther was perhaps to have no way back. Nevertheless . . .
Down Among the Dead Girls
A Bridge to the Past
. . . the truth he sought was going to be more extraordinary and fearsome than anything that even his much exercised novelistic imagination could conceive.
But there could be no going back. He had traveled too far out of the territory of everyday life, had discovered dimensions to the world that he had never imagined . . .
Rating: really liked it
I enjoyed this book, and it kept me guessing. But it really is not as good as some of his others.
Rating: really liked it
The Other Emily (Koontz Group Read - March 2021)
I did not start well. It need to give it a second chance...
Rating: really liked it
A thriller that gives us heaps of tonal shifts and possible genre changes on our way through the story of a man facing his lover, unchanged for all the ten years since she was missing presumed murdered. For my full write-up, please click on the following link:-
Rating: really liked it
Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days
Pages - 352
Publisher - Thomas & Mercer
Source - Review copy
Blurb from Goodreads
A decade ago, Emily Carlino vanished after her car broke down on a California highway. She was presumed to be one of serial killer Ronny Lee Jessup’s victims whose remains were never found.
Writer David Thorne still hasn’t recovered from losing the love of his life, or from the guilt of not being there to save her. Since then, he’s sought closure any way he can. He even visits regularly with Jessup in prison, desperate for answers about Emily’s final hours so he may finally lay her body to rest. Then David meets Maddison Sutton, beguiling, playful, and keenly aware of all David has lost. But what really takes his breath away is that everything about Maddison, down to her kisses, is just like Emily. As the fantastic becomes credible, David’s obsession grows, Maddison’s mysterious past deepens—and terror escalates.
Is she Emily? Or an irresistible dead ringer? Either way, the ultimate question is the same: What game is she playing? Whatever the risk in finding out, David’s willing to take it for this precious second chance. It’s been ten years since he’s felt this inspired, this hopeful, this much in love…and he’s afraid.
Author David Thorne has never gotten over the love, Emily, of his life disappearing. He returns to the same place to write his novels & visit a killer who he believes knows what happened to Emily. When he meets the beautiful and mysterious Maddison he can't believe his eyes, she is just like Emily. the more time he spends with her the more she seems like and reminds him of her but Emily would be ten years old and Maddison is like she was back then. What is going on? How can Maddison be so like Emily and can the serial killer Jessop give him any answers?
This book has a bit of everything in it, it is weird, there are doppelgangers, romance, relationships, chats with a serial killer.....David needs to know the truth but he is also loving Maddison being there, it is like having Emily back.
This book is a bit of a genre mash up we have fantasy mixed in with the usual suspects, some creepiness, violence and a bit of a love story. The reader goes on a journey with David desperate to find out what happened, despite having a chance of happiness - some questions just need to be answered. The serial killer is a wee bit different too from some of those we see in books, the guy is in jail, guilty but still has a bargaining chip & feeds on emotions of others. I would like to read more about him actually I would have liked to have . I think this will be a marmite book, I liked that it was different and a mesh of genres, I would have loved it to be thicker. More history on the characters, more backstory and I hope we see David in another story, 4/5 for me.
Rating: really liked it
Dean Koontz has always been great at writing a good vs bad in his stories and this one he does just that. It was definitely one of his best so far. He does such a good job of making something so futuristic so believable for these days. Lots of twist and turns to keep the reader entertained.
Rating: liked it
3.5. This was a mashup of genres and I had no idea where it was going
Rating: liked it
(3.5) I can totally appreciate how well written this is, so it may be worthy of more stars.. Just ultimately it took a “wrong” turn & wasnt quite for me.
Rating: really liked it
Prolific author Dean Koontz is in his seventh decade of writing and I am proud to say that I have been with him nearly from the start. In the early days, writing then as Dean R. Koontz as well as a half-dozen different pseudonyms, his work was heavily Science Fiction driven then later drifting into Horror/Supernatural and Suspense writing. He has been one of the best in all these genres and I always get excited at the prospect of reading anything Koontz pens.
His latest effort, THE OTHER EMILY, is a psychological thriller with more than a little bit of suspense and hints at the possibility of veering into Sci-Fi or Horror at a moment’s notice. It is also one terrific read. Best-selling author David Thorne approaches an attractive young woman at the bar in one of his regular Newport Beach restaurants and the first thing out of his mouth is the tacky line: ‘Where have you been all these years?’ The thing that made a wordsmith like Thorne suddenly get so tongue-tied was not the fact that the woman was so attractive but that she was a dead ringer for his late wife, Emily Carlino, who was killed ten years earlier.
This woman’s name is Maddison Sutton and she and David make plans to have dinner together the next night. David is not your typical widower. His wife Emily went out one night and never returned. The theory is that she may have been another victim in the killing spree of now-incarcerated serial killer, Ronald Lee Jessup. David is so desperate to confirm this that he meets regularly with Jessup at the penitentiary under the guise of doing research for a new novel when in fact he is ‘funding’ Jessup for each visit. Ronald Lee Jessup allegedly murdered twenty-seven women, most of whom were killed in the underground house of horrors he built on his extended basement. It is there where he supposedly is keeping fourteen unnamed victims in some form of cocoon. Like the ‘Frankenstein’ tale, Jessup believes he will get out and be with these fourteen women who he will revive from their current undead state to live in glory with him. David let’s Jessup speak his nonsense purely because he wants him to confirm whether or not one of those fourteen women was his Emily.
Every once in a while, a reader comes across a fictional character that they connect with in some way. I felt just such a connection with David Thorne particularly when Koontz described him as being impressed by Maddison’s profound interest in literature that was unusual in this digital age when the language arts were receding into the mists of the unfashionable along with a knowledge of history, an appreciation for complex music, general civility, and so much more that he valued. Yes, David Thorne is my type of guy. I guess that is why it becomes so difficult to watch him go through the pain of having to relive his wife’s death over and over as he, possibly, is deluding himself that this young lady, Maddison Sutton, might indeed be her.
We know that this is an impossibility, especially since ten years have passed, and Maddison is the same age Emily was when she died. But we also know that Dean Koontz is an author who deals with impossibilities for a living and does it so well to the point where he could present almost any reason for this eerie coincidence and make it sound believable. Just in the same way that Maddison coyly insists that her profession is that of assassin and pushes the point beyond where a normal person would if they were simply kidding around.
David reaches out to a good friend and private investigator from NYC named Isaac Eisenstein and asks him to investigate Maddison Sutton once he has explained how he met her and his crazy assumptions of who she might be. Isaac cannot verify much about Maddison Sutton and feels her entire identity may have been falsified. The only thing he can connect her to is a wealthy man named Patrick Michael Lynam Corley who died seven years earlier from a sudden heart attack. David is able visit Corley’s residence and feels that something strange was going on. He also made note of all the many science fiction novels that lined the shelves of his copious book collection --- a nice shout-out to Koontz’s own start as a Sci-Fi writer.
The trouble is that there are a handful of people who swear they have seen Corley in the years following his death. As David begins following the tracks left by the various contacts Isaac utilized in investigating Maddison, he begins to find more troubling things and plenty more questions than answers. He even turns up evidence of people who had been murdered in what appeared to be the work of an assassin --- people who were connected in some way to Corley. I will not give anything away from this point but knowing about Dean Koontz’s literary career that included Sci-Fi, Horror, and even a few novels loosely based on Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN, it is easy to understand just how intense a reading experience THE OTHER EMILY is. You simply have no idea what is going to happen on the next page and cannot get there fast enough!
THE OTHER EMILY is a relentless page-turner of the highest order. What makes it such is the fact that the reader will be getting more and more eager to learn what is really behind the unbelievable events that seem to be transpiring. Mr. Koontz must love this because he is the creator of this delightful literary angst and knows that he has crafted a finale that will shock and satisfy his readers worldwide in much the same way as he has been doing throughout his illustrious career.
Reviewed by Ray Palen for Book Reporter
Rating: it was ok
I can't believe I am rating a Koontz book so low. Usually they are 5* to me.
I thought the plot got off to a slower start than in most Koontz books, so much so that I wanted to quit. Then it finished with a flurry of excitement. Maybe the problem was that the book just did not draw me in and keep me up all night reading is--as so many Koontz books have over the years.
But I think my worst problem with this book was that I just didn't like David. He wasn't the usual Koontz hero, a regular guy gallantly trying to save the day against almost insurmountable odds. Instead, he was (view spoiler)[ kind of a selfish jerk, riddled with somewhat unwarranted guilt, too passive, and living in the past when he should have gone on with his life. Moody. Despondent. Self-pitying. Unlikeable by me.
Also, so secretive! Like, his east coast friends did not even know about Emily. Why? How? Why lie to people who are supposed to be your friends for 10 years? Didn't anyone ever try to set him up with their sister-in-law? What was his excuse? Yes, I know that he was heartbroken etc, etc, blah blah blah. But still.
The one friend was a PI. Why didn't David ask him to try to solve Emily's disappearance years ago if they were such good buddies? (hide spoiler)]
Was David written this way to make the plot work? There should have been a more active way to write the guy--and the plot--than to make him this (view spoiler)[ whiny, miserable loner driven as much by guilt as love. How could David write best sellers if he's so broken? (hide spoiler)]
And the occasional dropped hints. I hate the foreshadowing, hint-dropping thing anyway. But here, (view spoiler)[ at one point, he allowed us to think that Emily left him. Not really true. It lead me to believe a different scenario than what developed later. (hide spoiler)]
I also didn't believe David's rationales (view spoiler)[supporting his decision to not call the cops about the hidden room in the serial killer's house. It just made me like him even less. Using "mania" and "obsession" as an excuse seemed thin. And would the cops really dawdle if they are told where to find 14 bodies in a sensational serial killer case? Or (big plot hole) what's David gonna say when the serial killer lets people know he told David? Won't David be in trouble for not immediately reporting the secret room to the cops? And won't the cops then figure out he's probably the guy who killed the new owner? Given modern forensic techniques, won't the cops find some of his DNA in the newly discovered part of the basement? I can see the social media feeding frenzy now! "Famous author murderer?"
The serial killer could not remember the names of all 14 women in his shrine? Seems unlikely. He made all those nametags. Plus, the killer already told David he'd left the feisty one for dead--so David could have gone straight to the oceanside bridge house. (hide spoiler)]
Finally, I was sort of annoyed when (view spoiler)[ the ending turned out to be a not-very-well-explained version of Travelers and Terminator. I think there is quite a bit of validity to the "from the future to save the past" plot line. There can be many good ones. But here, the explanation was rushed, and it seemed as if the "good guys or bad guys" aspect was just left hanging.
The poor people from the future whose parents, and everyone, just spat on them and institutionalized them? Really? I mean, the damaged people were smart, obviously, and there is plastic surgery etc. Particularly in the future, perhaps? I know a couple who have a very physically and mentally challenged child whom they love deeply and care for at home, though it changed their lives years ago and they may not be able to do it forever. So I just don't buy it that an entire world of people would treat their children this way. If Koontz had sold it as McCaffery did in The Ship Who Sang, I might have bought into it more. (hide spoiler)]
Also, were there (view spoiler)[ other cells of these clone guys killing people they thought were creating this horrible future? Or were there just the three of them based in California? That seems inadequate, whether the guys from the future were good guys or bad guys. (hide spoiler)] Maybe there will be another book where David (or hopefully somebody else) has to do something about it. I would definitely read that book, even though I much didn't care for this book.
To sum up, I'm sorry if this review seems too negative or if it seems that I am sniping at this book. But this is the way I really feel. I usually love Koontz. Just not this book. And when I rate a book low, I feel it is my duty to tell all you readers (and authors) out there why. I hate when someone gives a book 1* or 2* and then doesn't explain why.
So, if you are a Koontz superfan or a completist, then certainly read this. If you are not that familiar with Koontz, though, he has written many better books. Go read Watchers.
Rating: liked it
Where to begin? This started off promising, but quickly got a little repetitive for me. When i first read the description of the story, i was pretty excited since i’ve been into thrillers and mysteries lately. I read an excerpt online and was drawn to the writing style
- the descriptive settings of the California beaches and houses
-ronny was an interesting character, the author portrayed the fake empathy and unstable emotions of a serial killer very well
-the writing for all the characters, even side characters like Linette, felt very natural and fleshed out
-the slow building tension of the story, especially as david grows mounting suspicion towards maddison and tries to investigate her while still dating and loving her was done well! I could feel davids conflicting feelings between knowing something was off with his ex gf’s lookalike, and desperately wanting to ignore his intuition and love her regardless.
-the mystery held my attention for a good portion of the book, and the little clues and red herrings along the way were fun to try and decode
- david seems to spend a huuuge chunk of the book going from person to person, interrogating any and every one. First of all, why are these people giving so much information to a literal stranger? Because he’s a “famous writer?” There’s literally a part where a graveyard security man gives david access to the graveyard camera footage because he “knows his books.”
“Oh you’re a famous writer? Cool, here’s my name, social security number and whole life story.”
Besides unrealistic, the interrogations and interviews quickly become repetitive and I found myself losing interest as I tried to piece together the relevance of 20 different characters stories.
- im new to this author’s writing, and i find their writing style to be pretty engaging. However, sometimes it felt like the writing was a little too wordy? Lots of long run on sentences and repeating the same words over and over. This caused me to sometimes stumble or have to re read a sentence to understand it. I typically love descriptive writing, but at times i felt myself skimming through paragraphs, as the wording was a little excessive.
-i know david is supposed to be somewhat of an unstable narrator, especially towards the end as he’s losing his grip on sanity. But there were so many moments in the story where he seemed too naive for a 30 something year old man. Maddison, despite having already done several horrible things, is a good person. He knows this how? Because she looks like his ex. I really couldn’t empathize well with david at all, and found myself rolling my eyes at his blindness. Plus, his borderline obsessive “love” for Emily became a lot less romantic once you realize it was just warped guilt for cheating on her while she was being murdered.
-that ending. What. Seriously what happened? It was a complete twist, and i mean that in the worst way possible. All of the clues hint and investigating wrapped up in the last 10 pages of the book, which explained absolutely nothing.
The downhill began when david goes back to ronny’s house to find Emily’s body. There, he finds ulrich, who has apparently decided to continue ronny’s work by becoming a serial killer himself. Mmkay. David knows this because, ulrich is barefoot and has furniture in the basement? So to stop Ulrich, who hasn’t actually done anything yet, from possibly kidnapping women later, david kills him.
David then goes to patrick corley’s house to find out the truth of who “maddison sutton” is. Spoiler alert. She’s a android clone from the future. Being controlled by a disfigured time travler in the basement. Yep. “Maddison” is actually “Anna.” Who controls a clone of Emily’s body as she assassinates people to try and change the future.
So! If they can clone any body with dna, why use a missing dead woman? Wouldnt that attract more attention than someone random? If they just need the body because theirs are “disfigured”, why import Emily’s memories into Anna? Why does Anna need to act like Emily if she’s just using her as an appearance? Anna, after living Emily’s memories, “falls in love” with david. Again, why? If Emily’s as beautiful and charming as she’s described, surely Anna could’ve received love from anyone BUT the one person who would recognize Emily’s dead body?
So david then proceeds to kill all the future body snatcher people, who lucky for him have a “protocol” against murdering any one except their targets. Go figure. And the best for last, Emily is still alive. After cloning and healing her, instead of just letting her go, they kept her body frozen and dormant in the basement for 10 years. Death would’ve probably been kinder.
I didnt want the ending to leave a bad taste because the rest of the book was pretty good, but the most unsatisfying mysteries are the one’s who’s conclusion make no sense. It felt like all of the slow buildup of the book and the questions behind what “maddison’s” motivations were ended with kinda lousy explanations.
Rating: it was amazing
Prolific author Dean Koontz is in his seventh decade of writing, and I am proud to say that I have been with him nearly from the start. In the early days, writing as Dean R. Koontz and a half-dozen pseudonyms, his work was heavily science fiction-driven, and later he drifted into horror/supernatural and suspense. He has been among the best in all of these genres, and I am always excited to read anything that he produces.
Koontz’s latest effort, THE OTHER EMILY, is a terrific psychological thriller with more than a touch of suspense and hints at the possibility of veering into sci-fi or horror at a moment’s notice. Bestselling author David Thorne approaches an attractive young woman at the bar in one of his regular Newport Beach restaurants, and the first words out of his mouth is a tacky line: “Where have you been all these years?” This lady, Maddison Sutton, is a dead ringer for his late wife, Emily Carlino, who disappeared 10 years earlier.
Emily went out one night and never returned. The theory is that she may have been another victim in the killing spree of now-incarcerated serial killer Ronald Lee Jessup. David is so desperate to confirm this that he meets regularly with Jessup at the penitentiary under the guise of doing research for a new novel. Jessup allegedly murdered 27 women, most of whom were killed in the underground house of horrors that he built in his extended basement. Supposedly he is keeping 14 unnamed victims in some form of cocoon. Like the Frankenstein tale, Jessup believes that he will get out and be with these women, who he will revive from their current undead state to live in glory with him. David lets Jessup speak his nonsense purely because he wants to know if Emily is among the 14.
Every once in a while, readers come across a fictional character they connect with in some way. That’s exactly how I feel about David, especially when Koontz describes him as being impressed by Maddison’s profound interest in literature. This is unusual in this digital age when the language arts are receding into the mists of the unfashionable, along with a knowledge of history, an appreciation for complex music, general civility and so much more that he values. Yes, David is my kind of guy. I guess that is why it becomes so difficult to watch him go through the pain of having to relive his wife’s death over and over as he is possibly deluding himself that Maddison might indeed be her.
We know that this is an impossibility, especially since 10 years have passed, and Maddison is the same age that Emily was when she died. But we also are aware that Koontz deals with impossibilities for a living and does it so well to the point that he could present almost any reason for this eerie coincidence and make it sound believable.
David reaches out to a good friend, private investigator Isaac Eisenstein, and asks him to investigate Maddison once he explains how he met her and his crazy assumptions of who she might be. Isaac cannot verify much about Maddison and feels that her entire identity may have been falsified. He can only connect her to a wealthy man named Patrick Michael Lynam Corley, who died seven years earlier from a sudden heart attack. David is able to visit Corley’s residence and feels that something strange is going on. He also makes note of all the science fiction novels that line the shelves of his copious book collection (a nice shoutout to Koontz’s own start as a sci-fi writer).
The trouble is that there are a handful of people who swear they have seen Corley in the years after his death. As David starts following the tracks left by the various contacts Eisenstein utilized in investigating Maddison, he begins to find additional holes and plenty more questions than answers. He even turns up evidence of people who had been murdered in what appeared to be the work of an assassin --- those who were connected to Corley in some way.
I will not give away anything else, but knowing that Koontz has penned sci-fi, horror and even a few novels loosely based on Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN, it is easy to understand just how intense a reading experience this book is. You simply have no idea what is going to happen on the next page and cannot get there fast enough.
THE OTHER EMILY is a relentless page-turner of the highest order as readers will be eager to learn what is really behind the unbelievable events that seem to be transpiring. Koontz knows that he has crafted a finale that will shock and satisfy audiences worldwide in much the same way that he has been doing throughout his illustrious career.
Reviewed by Ray Palen
Rating: really liked it
Successful novelist David Thorne has never got over losing his muse and the love of his life 10 years ago. Emily Carlino is thought to have been one of the victims of Ronny Lee Jessup, now incarcerated in Folsom after admitting the kidnapping and of 27 women. 14 of Ronny’s victims were never found, despite a thorough trawl of the very creepy basement his ‘house of horrors’. But Jessop believes he can come out of Folsom and bring these women out again so he is divulging nothing.
Motivated by grief and a healthy dose of guilt, Thorne has continued to visit Jessup in the hope that he can get him to divulge information about where Emily’s body is, so that he can lay her to rest. Jessop thrives on other people’s emotional vulnerabilities and so to get information, Thorne has to give of himself in order to get information. He believes that will help him atone and give some solace to Emily’s mother, Calista Carlino, whom he also visits regularly.
David lives on the East Coast, but writes in California; the place where he can best remember Emily. He’s there, dining in his regular restaurant, when a young woman walks in and just like that, into his life. For Maddison Sutton is the spitting image of Emily as she was 10 years ago. It is as if time had stood still. And Maddison is attracted to him as he very quickly finds out. It’s as if Emily has come back to him and he falls hard, all the while wondering how this can be possible. Before long, they are in bed together and though Maddison remains enigmatic, she is holding out the possibility of a lifetime relationship with him, if Thorne will just be patient.
But patience isn’t Thorne’s thing. He needs explanations and he isn’t about to give up his search for Emily’s body. It is both the possible explanations for Emily’s doppelganger and Thorne’s search for Emily’s body that the bulk of this novel explores. It is hard to pin this book down to any one genre but it is definitely full of suspense.
David uncovers more information about supposedly dead people who have subsequently been seen. There’s a nasty piece of work who now owns Jessup’s House of horrors and who charges Thorne to go round it as well as selling off souvenirs to ghouls who collect crime memorabilia.
There are definite hints of the horror that we know from Koontz’ work alongside some of the other-worldliness that permeates his work. But there are other elements, too that don’t fit quite so neatly into the box. Is Maddison in fact Emily, or some kind of contrived substitute? Koontz takes us down a path that we don’t recognise; this is not a predictable novel and in doing so he creates a tense and pacy novel that keeps the reader guessing.
There is horror, there are ghouls and there is certainly mystery galore. Every time you think you know what’s coming, Koontz wrong foots you.
Thorne needs to understand what is going on because he hasn’t felt this much in love since Emily disappeared. He needs to know what’s going on, but he is terrified to find out. The answer, when it comes, is surprising and you’ll have to make up your own mind about whether you love it.
Verdict: Fast paced storytelling with suspense, twists and thrills and a trip into the unknown with an enigma at the centre that will keep you guessing all the way to the end.