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Intensity Hardcover – January 13, 1996

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Editorial Reviews Review

A young woman staying as a guest in a Napa Valley farmhouse becomes trapped in a fight for survival with a self-proclaimed "homicidal adventurer", and races to warn his next intended victim. Unrelentingly terrifying, this book lives up to its name.

From Publishers Weekly

Koontz's career has mirrored Stephen King's to a remarkable degree?the early pseudonymous novels, the bloated blockbusters, the increased use of horror as social commentary?albeit at a lag. Keeping step, this uncommonly sleek work is nothing less than Koontz's Gerald's Game: a distillation of what's come before and a slick play to regain the top by a writer whose popularity seemed to have peaked. Koontz even makes the centerpiece of Chyna Shepherd's battle against a serial killer her attempt to free herself from the restraints that bind her to a piece of furniture?the very same challenge faced by King's heroine. And just as Gerald's Game reinvigorated King's career and writing, this masterful, if ultimately predictable, exercise in high tension should do the same for Koontz's. This is basically a two-character novel, and both principals are compelling: the spirited Chyna, a youngish psychology student, and her nemesis, homicidal maniac Edgler Vess, who revels in sensation, be it pain or pleasure?in the intensity of experience. The two link when Vess kills Chyna's best friend as Chyna hides under a bed. Chyna pursues Vess but is eventually captured by him, after which she must combat not only those cuffs but also Vess's killer dogs, Vess himself and, of course, her own terror. For once, Koontz tamps down on his usual libertarian soapboxing to let the story race?which it does fast enough to give readers whiplash as they hold on to what may end up being the most viscerally exciting thriller of the year. 600,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf; 1st edition (January 13, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067942525X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679425250
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (808 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #681,567 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

77 of 84 people found the following review helpful By DanD VINE VOICE on May 13, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's a rush: a novel set within a 24 hour time span, revolving around one character as she battles one of the most insidious villains in literature.
Chyna Shepherd is visiting her friend Laura's house. She like's Laura's family; it makes her wish she had one like it. Nice parents, a loving's gonna be a nice visit.
Then someone else shows up. His name: Edgler Foreman Vess. He is not psychotic; he is beyond that. From the letters of his name, he spells: GOD FEARS ME. As well He should.
Hiding in the shadows, Chyna watches as Laura's family is murdered. Then, in a daring attempt at escaping the hell house, she finds herself aboard Vess's trailer...and on a ride that will take her to places (both physical and mental) that she never thought she'd be.
INTENSITY is the thrill-ride of thrill-rides. Dean Koontz proves that he is, after all, the Master of Suspense, as he weaves a tale that will keep you riveted to the edge of your seat. Dean Koontz is driving down the road of mastery; you better hold on.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Laura on April 19, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I chose this book for a book report because it was recommendedby a friend. I thought it was fabulous. I've read many of thesereviews and many say it was intense. Okay, to be original, this bookwas more than that. It creeped me out because Vess (the antagonist) was real. He was the man living next to me, a teacher at my school, that uncle no one ever sees. He could be anyone. The book made me realize bad guys are not always strange old men who spend all day thinking of ways to kill people. They have jobs, families and friends just like you and me. That is why this book scared me. As for many of the people who didn't think it was so great, I can agree with you on a few points, but I don't agree they made the book a bad one. The chair. Yes, there is a point in the book where the protagonist, Chyna, attempted to get out of a chair. It was totally boring, and made me want to pull my hair out, but, Mr. Koontz obviously thought very long and hard about this act, and he deserves some respect for that. Many also argue that pace was all over the place. Well I say, come on. This was a semi- realistic book. Life does not follow a pace. Murders do not follow a pace... Let's not over analyze, okay? The book was a good one...
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42 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Laura Bellamy on July 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As an avid Dean Koontz fan, I couldn't NOT read this book. And I wasn't disappointed. "Intensity" is a good read. Perhaps not my favorite of his, but still very typically Koontz.

This novel starts out slower than most of his novels --- usually I'm entirely captured by the first or second page, he gets right into the guts of the story, but this time he paced the beginning a lot slower.

But in a relatively short time, things start to get --- well, intense.

Chyna Shepherd is staying with her best friend's parents over a school holiday and suddenly her entire host family is dead, and only she remains living. Having always been a passive person, not wanting to get involved in anything frightening or risky (thanks to a very nasty childhood), she suddenly decides this is something she NEEDS to put herself in the middle of, to vindicate her friend.

So she follows the killer. Learning that he has a 16-year-old captive, she vows to rescue her as she was unable to rescue her friend.

At first, the killer has no idea she's there, but when he finds out, things heat up a bit, and there are a few heart-stopping scenes of suspense.

The book takes place in only a 24-hour period, and each moment counts. And, as always, Koontz has a couple of intriguing surprises up his sleeve --- the identity of the killer, for one thing.

"Intensity" follows the story from both viewpoints, the killer's and Chyna's. Chyna's portions are told in typical 3rd person past-tense, but the killer's sections are told in the rarer PRESENT tense. It's a tad distracting at first, but you'll get used to it. My major complaint with this one was that sometimes, things went a little too slowly for me --- especially with a book called "Intensity.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Paul Weiss on October 15, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Chyna Shepherd, a twenty-six year old young lady, is the product of a deeply disturbed and seriously dysfunctional family. Having had to endure violence, rape, child molestation and a bizarre life of crime with an vodka-soaked promiscuous mother, she has found the best road to survival and safety is passivity and invisibility. When Edgler Foreman Vess, a sociopathic serial killer, invades the home of Chyna's dearest and only friend, Laura Templeton, and brutally slaughters the entire family, this deeply nurtured ability to hide out of sight and out of mind saves Chyna's life. The killer is not aware that there is a guest in the home that night. Laura, savagely raped and near death, is scooped up by the killer and taken to his motor home to be "enjoyed" and mutilated later in the evening. As Chyna cautiously follows hoping to rescue her captive friend, she inadvertently discovers that the killer has also kidnapped a young, innocent sixteen year old girl and is holding her captive "waiting for her to ripen, get just a little sweeter". Now driven by the possibility of elevating her life to a meaning beyond passivity and mere survival, hoping to draw some meaning from the death of her friend, Laura, who has succumbed to her injuries, Chyna resolves to rescue Ariel or die in the attempt.

I have to hand it to Koontz. The writing in "Intensity" is ... well, intense! In any given chapter taken out of the context of the whole, the tension is electric and the dramatic cliff hangers are to die for! But the fact is, that as a whole, the darn book is just too long. There are absolutely no plot twists and the only surprise is the real identity of the killer! I mean, let's face it, we all KNOW that Chyna's going to survive!
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