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73 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INTENSE doesn't even begin to describe it!
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 brother...it's gonna be a nice visit.
Then someone else shows up. His...
Published on May 13, 2004 by DanD

versus
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frightening and suspenseful, yet too long by half!
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...
Published on October 15, 2006 by Paul Weiss


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73 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INTENSE doesn't even begin to describe it!, May 13, 2004
This review is from: Intensity (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 brother...it'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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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intensity, April 19, 2000
By 
Laura (I Am Canadian! Go Leafs Go!) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Intensity (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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37 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a ride, July 26, 2005
By 
Laura Bellamy (Greensboro, NC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Intensity (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." Sometimes Chyna seemed a little TOO smart, a little TOO lucky with the ingenious ways she came up with of escaping, and at times the suspense lagged simply because I knew she was going to get out and remain alive by the end of the book, I knew she wasn't going to have any problems. I wanted to see a little bit more of a struggle for her life and her freedom, more at close quarters with the killer. Most of her struggle came when the killer wasn't anywhere near, and wouldn't be anywhere near for hours.

One of the earlier reviews for this book was, I have to say, a tad misleading, because he DOES employ a couple of his usual devices, though not in the same way. There are definitely dogs --- several of them, in fact --- though they don't save the day. And there IS a law officer in this book --- though, again, not in the typical way he uses them. And I'm not too sure about everyone's assertions that the french film "Haute Tension" was a rip-off of Dean Koontz's novel. There also happens to be a french novel called "Haute Tension" that the french FILM is more likely to be based on --- that book was published three years earlier than Koontz's "Intensity." Just because it has a similar set-up doesn't mean it's BASED on this novel --- TONS of films have similar set-ups, especially in the horror genre! And I think it's fairly insulting to Dean Koontz to try and attach his name to such an awful excuse for a movie.

On the whole, "Intensity" was wonderfully written, and exciting to read. Yet another fantastic adventure from Dean Koontz.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frightening and suspenseful, yet too long by half!, October 15, 2006
By 
Paul Weiss (Dundas, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Intensity (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! The only catch is how many tight spots she's going to worm her way of and how many times the killer is going to come within an ace of finishing up his intended night's work of blood and gore! (Does anyone remember the movie "Wait Until Dark" - remember that scene that made you jump out of your skin when the killer leaped across the room after we thought all was well??) The dramatic effect of Koontz's admittedly brilliant, psychological suspense is watered down by the mere length of the book. I actually found myself thinking it had become slightly tedious at times.

Certainly this is a novel that will be enjoyed by die-hard fans but I don't think it's the kind of novel that would prompt me into running out to the bookstore to pick up something else by Koontz. Chyna and Vess, the only two real characters in the novel, are well described and exceptionally well-developed. Like Ted Bundy and Paul Bernardo, perhaps the most frightening thing about Vess, which Koontz portrayed magnificently is the oftentimes stunning banality of these multiple murderers and their uncanny ability to blend in to their milieu and appear entirely normal.

In summary, "Intensity" was briefly entertaining but, in response to those who have suggested that it deserves a place of the list of the ten best thrillers of all-time, I can only say that I disagree.

Paul Weiss
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a real "page-turner", January 4, 1997
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Intensity (Mass Market Paperback)
"Intensity" was my first Koontz book. As an avid reader of
thriller novels, I was mildly amused and entirely not surprised by the ubiquitous byline
which invariably appears on all books of this genre: "You
will not be able to put this book down". Well, my cynicism proved
to be wrong this time. This is truly the first book which I could not
put down, from page 1. Regrettably, I started it at 11pm, so obviously I did not get
much sleep that night.
Koontz uses a simple yet effective method to lure his
readers to read on - he doesn't give you a minute to pause and take a breath. Amenities such as
taking a break for "nature calls" are out of the question; you'll have to take the book with you.
His clever use of different tenses for the two main characters
(Chyna-Past;Vess-Present) adds a nice touch, as do the mysterious
coastal elks (although it is to be regretted this theme has not
been developed further).
I agree, it is a predictable book, but then again - aren't almost
all thriller novels predictable? What makes "Intensity" better than
average is the fulfillment of the "you will not put this book down"
promise. Read this book, but don't start it late at night!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lives Up to Its Name, June 17, 2002
By 
Bill (Albuquerque, New Mexico United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Intensity (Mass Market Paperback)
Dean Koontz's novel Intensity is a fine bit of suspenseful writing that hits the mark completly. The story involves a woman named Chyna Sheppard who is caught in the middle of a gruesome killers murder of his best friend and her parents while she is visiting. Miraculously and somewhat implausably she avoids detection by the killer and stows away on his RV. What ensues is a relentless and and driving thriller that doesn't let up.
The novel is truly an intense read. Their is about 15 pages of calm before Koontz dives into the action. Some reviewers have said this book is boring, but I have a hard time seeing how this book is boring. Even the part where she is in his house and we get development of her character is not boring, but expertly handled. Koontz uses the age old suspense building technique of waiting to drive the reader crazy with suspense.
The most memorable scene in the novel is when Chyna takes care of Vess's dogs. I'll remember that one for a long time.
The only negatives I feel the book has is some rather convient set of circumstances that allows Chyna to get on the trail of the killer. Not terrible but somewhat implausable.
Overall this is a first rate thriller and the best Koontz I have read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dean Koontz--Intensity, March 27, 2002
By 
Bryan Tweed (Bloomington-Normal, IL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Intensity (Mass Market Paperback)
Koontz strikes again with another riveting novel that will not only keep your eyes glued to the pages, but also create a certain sense of emotional stress and strain that is very rare in modern suspense novels. Revolving around psych-student Chyna Shepeard, who is thrust into mayhem when the family she is staying with is brutally murdered by a psychopath, this novel's first 150 pages are absolutely fantastic. While trying to escape the evils of this horrific kiler, Chyna learns more about what motivates this beast and how she can actually save his future victims. The middle of the book is Koontz's only downfall because it tends to lag and some readers may loose some interest after an action-packed, gruesome first third of the novel. However, momentum builds to the climax in which Chyna fights not only her terrifying attacker, but her inner demons as well. A novel not for the squeamish...but then again...what Koontz novels are? Certainly one of his scariest of the 90s and a great read for any fans of Koontz or the genre.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic 12 hours! My favorite audio book!, March 19, 2001
By 
David Robinson "Home Dad" (Bradford, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Intensity (Audio Cassette)
For some reason, I think Dean Koontz books translate really well to the audio format. I loved "Fear Nothing", and based upon that experience, I decided to listen to "Intensity" on my commute. It was even better.
This book grabs you by throat 20 minutes into it and doesn't let up for about 11 and a half hours! I was intrigued by both of the primary characters and how they both aproached similar situations so differently. The suspense is unbelievable. Koontz turns what could be just a few short chapters into an entire book, chock full of nerve-jangling detail written at a nail-biting pace.
The reading of this book was splendid. It really required that she switch narrative styles so that the listener could follow what was going on, and Kate Burton does that with admirable skill. I was never confused, and she did a great job of becoming, somehow, the horror that is Edgler Forman Vess.
This has been my favorite book on tape yet! Highly recommended!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Opens and closes with a bang, and for the most part the middle is pure intensity..., March 27, 2007
By 
Andrew Ellington (I'm kind of everywhere) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Intensity (Mass Market Paperback)
`Intensity' is the first novel I've read by Dean Koontz, and in being such it had the great responsibility of either conforming me into a full fledged fan or convincing me that he's not worth my time. My initial response to the first heart pounding chapter was `oh my god, what a thrill' and then I almost immediately became bored as I contemplated where he could really go from here. The action started so quickly, so bluntly that I was confused as to what Dean could possibly have up his sleeve in order to sustain us for the entirety of the novel, and then chapter 6 changed all of that.

The novel shifts focus between two opposing ends of a horrific event. Young Chyna Shepherd is visiting the family of a friend when her whole life is changed and even challenged by homicidal adventurer Edgler Vess, a man who in one swoop tortures and murders not only Chyna's best friend Laura but Laura's parents, leaving nothing but a blood soaked memory. Mind you, this all takes place in the first two chapters. Talk about an impressively `intense' opening. The reader can be nothing but hooked...so where does Dean take us next?

Switching from Chyna's desperate attempts to make Vess pay to Vess and his killing spree the reader may start to drift in his or her interest, especially when Chyna seems relatively safe and out of harms way, but that drifting is short lived for once Edgler Vess makes it to his humble abode and his current victim Ariel is introduced the reader has newfound reason to embrace each brilliantly scribed page. As these two play a game of wits with one another we are brought into their frame of mind, Chyna's tortured victim yet soulful heroine in the making and then there's Edgler's contaminated evil that feels almost too natural. Reading Edgler's motivations and reasoning's starts to feel a lot like Bret Easton Ellis' character Patrick Bateman in `American Psycho', a man who appears nothing short of normal and has reasoned himself into believing he's the only normal one around for miles. Granted, `Intensity' is nowhere close to the sheer literary brilliance that was `American Psycho' but it has that minor similarity.

Now, in all honesty, there are times I wish this were a tad bit shorter. There are a lot of scenes that merely explain the thoughts and feelings and motivations of a particular person and it can be overkill since it can appear repetitive or redundant. This can become apparent in some of the corny descriptions Dean uses to describe the state of mind his characters are in. "She was baking a nourishing loaf of panic, plump and yeasty, and if she allowed herself to eat a single slice, then she'd gorge on it" is something that should never have to be said...and if Dean didn't insist on reiterating Chyna's fear over and over he would have never exhausted all other descriptive options and thus it never would have been uttered. A novella may have been more effective, but then again there are certain chapters and sequences that really elevate the remainder of the novel. It's a bit of a mixed bag at times, a lot of good with some moments of not-so-wonderful.

Some of the not-so-wonderful would have to be the overabundance of flashbacks to Chyna's childhood, longwinded stories that bog down the `intensity' of the situation. Some of the good though falls in the line of dialog, especially between Vess and Chyna, Vess more so. He's a very interesting villain to say the least, and Koontz paints him splendidly.

The final three chapters of the book fly by, and the reader is entranced by doubt and terror and intensity as they pine over what happens next. The final chapter, the final few pages, it left me speechless. So, I'm happy to say that `Intensity' made me want to pick up another Dean Koontz novel, and someday soon I will. He's a good writer, not brilliant, but talented enough to make twenty-four hours fill an entire novel, and while at times it gets too wordy and or too lengthy it's never so much that you want to or, worse yet, need to close the book and forsake the journey. It's truly intense and truly worth the read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting and overall brilliant., November 26, 2005
By 
Desiree Troy (St. Louis, MO USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Intensity (Hardcover)
As 'Intensity' was the first novel I have read written entirely by Dean Koontz, I was impressed by his ability to articulate so fluently in his writing style, describe things using such a powerful vocabulary that I felt as if I were experiencing the moments along with the two main characters and seeing through the eyes of both the killer and Chyna Shepherd, and captivate me so quickly. The only other two books I have read that he has worked on were 'Dean Koontz's Frankenstein Book One: Prodigal Son' which he wrote with Kevin J. Anderson and 'Dean Koontz's Frankenstein Book Two: City of Night' which he wrote with Ed Gorman. Since these books were collaborations I was unsure what to expect when I picked up a book solely written by him. I had no doubt in my mind that the book would be absorbing, sinister, and suspenseful, and I was not disappointed at all with any element of the story. Every character that Dean Koontz introduces into the story that we get to know is well-developed, interesting or made interesting through the perspective of one of the two POVs that the story is told from, and essential to the plot. That is one of my favourite things about this book, there is nothing in the story that could be extracted. The beginning, as I noted some people say started out slow, was necessarily slow-going because Koontz had to set up the characters, show us Edgler Vess's, Laura Templeton's and Chyna Shepherd's personalities. Thinking back on the beginning, I cannot think of any way he could have changed the beginning to make it more "thrilling" without completely destroying it. Not every story that has you so enthralled with the storyline you forget about your present life starts out with something exciting happening. In the case of 'Intensity' it's a good thing that the story starts out the way that it does. There was no other way that Koontz could have showed us what he needed to show us (Vess's composed insanity, Laura's respect for and closeness to Chyna, and Chyna's painful childhood, which we discover fuels her later on in the book when she feels her courage waning) because if he had attempted to change the order of the story, it seems to me, the book would have deteriorated greatly and the plot would have weakened for at least the beginning and we might not have fully understood why Chyna was such a strong individual when so many other people would have simply fallen apart instead of fighting.

This is by far one of the most fascinating books I have ever read because it is told from such diverse perspectives. Edgler Vess is not a textbook psychotic, he has a method to his madness that is both refreshing as all murderers in books seem to be exactly the same or at least resemble one another too closely to show very much originality and terrifying because you realise that if he can hide his motives so well, anyone you know could be doing the same. However, this story is not about making you so paranoid you can barely interact even with your own family members, it's mostly about hope, courage, and strength. Chyna Shepherd, a twenty-six year old psychology major, was helpless throughout most of her life but before she experiences the terrible events that happen in this book she has spent a decade of her life trying to separate herself from that loneliness and terror that she spent her childhood and half her teenage years experiencing night and day. Due to her past, she is able to survive what others simply can't because she has already experienced to some extent most of the things that happen in this book that other characters do not survive. As a child she learnt to suppress her emotions and whilst that kept her from maintaining most relationships, that helped her to survive the ordeal that Vess puts her through, first unwittingly and then, later on, intentionally. There is absolutely nothing to her character or personality that's unbelievable or unrealistic. If you suffered from a traumatic childhood, you would take away from the experiences tools that you would not otherwise possess.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a riveting plot and overall brilliant book. I also have to say one last thing about this book and who I would recommend it to. When I was in my mid-teens I spent several hours in sheer terror because of a man with the worst of intentions. That night felt like it would never end and I still remember, a little over five years later, in crisp detail, every moment of that night from how hard my heart thudded in my chest up to a week later and how monotone my voice was a few hours later describing what happened (this detail in the book especially impressed me). I really could have used a book like this during that time in my life because Chyna's tribulation makes the reader understand how a person going through what she is forced to go through can not only figure out a way to escape physically, emotionally, and mentally, but still remain "untouched and alive" afterward. I recommend this book to anyone who has suffered in their life at the hands of someone who made them feel helpless and tried to victimise them. This book is about so much more than keeping the reader in suspense due to the horrible crimes Vess commits. If you can understand the underlying messages that I have already pointed out, then this book is definitely for you.
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Intensity
Intensity by Dean Koontz (Hardcover - January 13, 1996)
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