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One Door Away from Heaven Hardcover – December 26, 2001

430 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Dean Koontz virtually invented the cross-genre novel, and in One Door Away from Heaven he mixes an action thriller with post-X-Files alien paranoia to remarkable effect. Micky Bellsong is a young woman at a crisis point in her life, using a stay at her Aunt Geneva's to sort things out. Then the precocious and deformed Leilani Klonk walks into her life, telling stories of her stepfather and drugged-up mother, who believe aliens will beam the girl into their mothership and heal her deformities before her 10th birthday. But tales of the stepfather's vicious past, including his hand in several murders, leave Micky believing that a far more terrible fate awaits her friend. So when the parents take off with Leilani, Micky pursues.

As is typical with a Koontz novel, nothing turns out to be what it seems, and the meticulously crafted plot tightens like a noose with every turn of the page. His characters are exceptionally drawn, driving the novel forward with realism and warmth. Micky is one of his more attractive young heroines, but the real star is Leilani, a mature young girl whose plucky nature and sparkling dialogue instantly make her Koontz's most memorable creation. She embodies his belief that despite violence, pain, and suffering, there is always goodness to be found in every person and situation. Koontz has once again proven why he is one of the premier novelists of his generation. --Jonathan Weir, Amazon.co.uk

From Publishers Weekly

Koontz's latest is powered by an impassioned stand against utilitarian bioethics, and it's chock-a-block with trademark characters vulnerable kids, nurturing parental substitutes, a dog of above-average intelligence and a villain of insuperable nastiness sure to provoke a pleasurable conditioned response from his readers. The discursive story coalesces from two converging subplots steeped in the weirdness of fringe ufology: in one, loser Michelina Bellsong struggles to save crippled nine-year-old Leilani Klonk from an evil stepdad planning to pass off her imminent disposal as a benevolent alien abduction; in the other, a strange boy who goes by the alias Curtis Hammond is the quarry of two cross-country manhunts, one led by the FBI and the other by mass murderers who, like the messianic Curtis, may not be what they seem. En route to a pyrotechnic finale in rural Idaho, Koontz shoots bull's-eyes at target issues that shape his theme, including assisted suicide, substance abuse, the irresponsibility of the counterculture and the goofiness of true-believer ET enthusiasts. Koontz's once form-fitting style has gotten baggy of late, however, and readers may find themselves wishing he had better filtered the flights of fancy his characters sometimes indulge at chapter length. For all that, the novel is surprisingly focused on its inspirational message "we are the instruments of one another's salvation and only by the hope that we give to others do we lift ourselves out of the darkness into light" and conveys it with such conviction that only the most critical will demur. (Dec. 26)Forecast: A terrific cover, depicting two female figures on a country path beneath a star-filled night sky, will alert browsers to the awe and mystery within the novel; Koontz's name and Bantam's promo machine will do the rest. Koontz could hit #1 with this one.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 606 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (December 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553801376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553801378
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (430 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #680,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 83 people found the following review helpful By C.E. VINE VOICE on December 16, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I must admit that I am not usually a fan of Mr. Koontz and his published works. Not that he isn't talented, far from it, it is just that sometimes it takes effort to read his books and follow his line of oft-twisted logic. This book, however, pulled me in from the first page and managed to keep me hooked until the very end. I found myself laughing out loud at times as well. Dean Koontz has crafted a marvelous piece of fiction, and for that he has my praises.
The characters that populate this book are the most memorable that I have come across in any genre. Leilani is hilarious and tragic in her own right- as are Curtis, Old Yeller and Michelina. These people (and animal) seem to jump off the page and become solid representations of the fictional world. I suppose that is what makes this book so great...the characters are beleivable and real.
At its heart, I believe that this novel is a philisophical one, a journey that Koontz wants to take us on so that he can show us some of the truly frightening things that are out there in our world today. While he is not dealing with the fear of fangs and fur, talons and teeth, Dean is showing us that the truth is stranger that fiction.
Koonts takes us on a journey that causes us to question right and wrong and seriously evaluate our morals and beliefs. This is a good thing. Through the eyes of his characters, we gain insight into the lifes of those that are disable, addicted, lost, forgotten and worn out. We also see plenty of compassion, heart and sincerity. This book will make you think. It will make you want to read it over and over again, making sure that you did not miss anything important. I highly suggest this book to readers of any genre, it is one that bridges all gaps.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Marifrances on January 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
For some reason, even though I like Peter Straub and Stepehn King, I have never been able to get into Dean Koontz. Well, this book is so sharp, original, and compelling that I have not been able to put it down! I am happily surprised to find myself becoming a Dean Koontz fan!
The characters of the book aren't your usual dime-novel fare; they are very unusual, funny, and intelligent. Yet they are also believable. The plot has many elements of bizzareness and realism mixed together to create a sharp-edged collage. From the first chapter, where we meet two characters that you can't help but care about right away, to the actual unfolding of the plot, there isn't a dull moment.
I'm reminded somewhat of "The Talisman" by some parts of this novel, and that's a good thing.
Read it -- you'll like it!!!
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Tracy L. Dawes on January 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I must say after reading "From the Corner of his eye" which was a little slow paced but worth the wait,"One Door Away from Heaven" captured me right from the start and never lost momentum.The story starts with the introduction of Micky Bellsong and Leilani Klonk, whom you immedately feel at home with. The way in wich these two carry on together would make for a good comedy sitcom! The story immedately throws you into a world of a E.T. searching, Phsyco stepdad, doped up mother, and many other wonderfuly interesting characters. This book keeps you on the edge of your seat right up to the last 20 or so pages, Which in my eyes is a big plus!!! I highly recomend this book,Especially if your a die hard Koontz fan!!! Thanks for such a wonderful and thought provoking book Mr. Koontz I am looking for to the next one!!!
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Wickgeo on January 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I hesitate to have a "favorite" Dean Koontz novel. I have read them all and enjoyed some more than others. This is Koontz's first novel since "Fear Nothing" that I felt bonded to the characters. They have become family and I want to follow them further in their lives, and as much as I read this is amazing. Others have written detailed reviews of the story, don't spoil your enjoyment, read and then draw your own conclusions and let the story suprise you page by page. You will care, you will remember, and perhaps look at your companions in a different way. The book is exciting, funny, unique, more than anyone has a right to expect from a novel. I've changed my mind, I will name favorite Koontz books....they are "Watchers", "Fear Nothing" and now "One Door away from Heaven".
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By William Merrill VINE VOICE on January 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
It was a relief and a pleasure to read One Door Away, because I was afraid Dean Koontz had lost it with the painful False Memory. After reading F.M. I decided to lay off the author for awhile, but reluctantly picked up his new one. I'm glad I did! The characters are mostly memorable and interesting, the suspense is solid throughout, and the climax and ending are both satisfying. You know the usual Koontz plot device of doling out limited information very gradually before eventually revealing what is really going on? As you're reading it, you're thinking, "Something's going on here, but I can't figure out what..." Then later you're saying, "So THAT'S it!" Well, he does that in this book too, but it's not the dominant aspect of the story. (Thank goodness it isn't dominant ... it's becoming a Koontz cliche.) In fact there are multiple points of view and no less than four major storylines running in parallel, but naturally the writer brings them all together very nicely. At a time when I'm STILL struggling to finish the tedious King/Straub ode Black House, it was great to find a book that's actually entertaining from start to finish. (The reviewer who quit at page 250 should have kept going!) My only minor quibble is I would like to have seen the PI character Noah better developed. He basically disappears a third into the book. But that did not diminish my enjoyment much. Overall, One Door Away From Heaven is a great read.
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