Customer Reviews: Sole Survivor
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on August 18, 2000
If anyone were to try and describe this book as a bore, I couldn't conceive any reason why. This book held me completely spellbound. The book starts off with Joe experiencing these unusual chain of events on the one year anniversary of his wife and childrens plane crash. As the days progresses he comes into contact with families who had also lost their loved ones on this devestating flight, but as soon as he does come into contact with them, they begin to parish themselves due to unexplainable suicide and deaths. So what secrets does this "Sole Survivor" have? And will Joe feel these answers justify his loss? I know this book kept me captivated right down to the last page, and Joe's last decision.
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I recently picked up this book for four reasons:

1. It was on sale

2. I'd just finished reading "The Husband"

3. I needed light entertainment for a long flight

4. I was in a hurry and it was conveniently stacked near to the register

It was only during the boarding process that I glanced at the back cover, and discovered my faux pas, which did not escape the notice of a literate cabin attendant who gave me "the look".

Okay, maybe a novel about a plane crash is not ideal for a five hour flight, but I'm not superstitious that way (knock wood). Unfortunately, this is a typical Dean Koontz book - it starts off smoothly, gains momentum, takes off and gets moving at high speed, and just when you're enjoying the flight, it suddenly goes crazily off course, crashes and burns.

A crime reporter loses his wife and two daughters in a bizarre plane crash that kills everybody on board. A year later he's still in depression, but then he meets a woman who apparently survived the crash. He starts tracking her down, and relatives of the other victims suddenly start committing suicide under very strange circumstances. When he eventually finds her, things get even weirder, and we're back to secret labs, mad scientists and illegal experiments, mixed with cults, conspiracies and magic pictures.

Enjoy the ride while it lasts, but beware of the sudden stop.

Rated: 3.5 stars

Amanda Richards, August 30, 2006
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on March 2, 2006
I relished this book the way one would relish a good chocolate bar...reading and letting it soak into my soul. This is one of the few books I've read that actually draws you into the scenery. You don't know if it's the reality of the characters or Koontz's talented, yet subtle description of places and situations. When he's sitting on the beach, you can feel almost hear the waves and smell the sea salt. When he's on the run from dangerous people, you almost feel like you're there in the passenger seat beside him.

I finished this book, put it down and just said, "Wow..."

<u>Is there life after death?</u> That's the question this book tackles...and while the journey to this answer is spell-binding, I think we, the readers, wanted more elaboration into this question. If only Koontz knew all the answers!

I'm surprised at the negative reviews, but I can see why some wouldn't like this. Unfortunately, many Koontz readers aren't true lovers of his literary genius. Koontz books are usually prominently displayed in the grocery store's best-seller section...a convenient buy for readers not looking for a read from someone with enormous talent, but rather something that will entertain with a good plot but no supporting filler or depth.

If you're not a serious reader, but a poolside one, this might not be the book for you. The glory of Koontz's writing is in the details and the ending isn't written for the poolside crowd that want to see the impossible happen. There's no swell of trumpets and bringing back of the dead. The ending is tremendously satisfying, but I wish it was elaborated on with as much detail as the rest of the story.

To really "get" Koontz's writing, you have to have an open mind and leave aside skeptical opinions, as much of what he writes seems to be horror, sci-fi, supernatural, or suspense. You have to fully allow yourself to leave your own world or you will never be able to enjoy the tale as presented.

Nobody can deny that Koontz is a spectacular writer. I haven't read every single one of Koontz's novels and I'm glad I haven't. I think it dims your appreciation for a good novel when you read it because you spend all your time comparing it to every other work ever written by Koontz. When it comes to a good author, this can be like comparing your own children. If you have never read Koontz, definitely buy this book. If you have, try to clear your mind of who the author is and "open your heart" to this wonderful story.
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VINE VOICEon October 3, 2000
I love Sole Survivor for the simple reason that it's well-written and displays the human spirit at its best! Joe Carpenter has lost his wife and two little girls in a catastrophic plane crash. No one survived. Or so he believes, until he's visiting his family's gravesite one day and encounters the 'sole survivor'! Rose Tucker is that person. Petite, with an ethereal beauty, you wouldn't expect her to possess the strength of will she demonstrates in this story. The mystery is set, the chase begins, and Joe is racing toward a denouement that will blow his mind, AND the readers'minds as well. Koontz at his best. By the way, I saw the FOX network miniseries. It was good. Intensity is still my favorite miniseries, but that didn't take anything away from my enjoyment of Sole Survivor. Now I'm hoping that Mr. Koontz will do Lightning as a theatrical release. Years ago, when I read Lightning, it was my opinion that Rutger Hauer would make a wonderful Stefan, the anti-hero in Lightning. Now, I'm thinking Russell Crowe...An idea worth putting out there!
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VINE VOICEon May 24, 2000
In my review of Dean Koontz's "Dark Rivers of the Heart," I set forth the basic elements of the Koontz formula. "Sole Survivor" doesn't stray far from that formula, with the exception that there really isn't a love story. But like many of his works, the main character is an emotionally tortured male who encounters something unusual -- in this case, although his wife and two daughters died in a plane crash, a woman on that same flight seems to have survived, and with one of his daughters to boot. Thus begins a chase within a chase, where Joe Carpenter desperately seeks the woman and child, thereby leading to being chased by those who do not want him to succeed.
Along with the way, Koontz's fertile imagination spins a horrifying (though not in a repulsively gross way) scenario of Science Gone Wrong, involving genetic experimentation.
"Sole Survivor" gets by on a pretty compelling plot, but it doesn't have the depth of characterization and emotional resonance of his best works ("Dark Rivers of the Heart," "Watchers," or "Lightning").
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on April 4, 2000
I like listening to unabridged books on tape with my morning coffee, my eyes take an hour or so to wake up. Sole survivor was my first experience with Mr. Koontz work but won't be the last. I was spell bound, on the edge of my seat, seeing everything that happened in my mind's eye. I feel foolish, since I've avoided any Dean Koontz novels for years. If you believe all things are possible, you can't miss this chilling tale that twists and turns until you're sure the threads can't run together and be tied up at the end. My husband and I were visiting our son in our motor home when we began this tale of awesome power and total helplessness and vulnerability in the same vision. We then proceeded to listen to it that evening as well...well past midnight and into the morning hours. Exhausted but enthralled we drank tea until three. I'm not easily impressed by writers. I'll read almost any book because my favorite authors don't write enough but am highly critical of those who found a really good agent to sell their material. I only listen to unabridged novels and am even more selective with them. A reader can be a ruiner but it was wonderfully done. I'm looking forward to my next experience with this writer and am going to have to swallow a lot of negative words when I see my daugter in June. I refused to read books by her favorite author, until now. Don't always judge a book by its cover. A brief synopsis on the cover can be very misleading. Read, listen, enjoy. I intend to. I'll be back to write more, if I'm disappointed with other works; hopefully, Dean Koontz had and has more than one good novel in him.
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on August 8, 2000
This is yet another intriguing book from the master of menace.
Dean Koontz has always been my favourite author,and though this is not my favourite of his novels, it is unique and will definitely keep you intensely interested.
It is somewhat different from his other novels in that it moves slightly away from his usual structure and form but the plot is in the same what-the-hell-is-going-to-happen-next vein,that is a testament to his profound ability of bringing the story and characters together with easy grace.
His lucid manner and descriptive prose meld into an easy read. There was one specific difference in this book for me in that it left me feeling uplifted once I'd finished it,moreso than his other books.I especially like the way in which Koontz tries to teach the values which he holds in high regard, without sounding like an evangelist.
The book is a harrowing account of a young man's anguish after losing his family in an aircrash, and his journey from the doldrums to a place where he can once again love and care as he did before.
A breath of fresh air.
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on September 25, 2001
The version I read (listened to) was an unabridged audio version, and did it ever need to be abridged. The pace was excruciatingly slow. Koontz seemed stuck on full description mode - scenes which took three to four minutes to play out took about twenty minutes to describe. The entire book moved in slow motion, even the action sequences. I found myself not paying attention for long periods of time, but I never had to back up and begin again. Each minor plot point was repeatedly pounded into my skull. I've heard that a good writer shows instead of tells. In this book, Koontz did both ad nauseum.
The story is about the mysterious circumstances surrounding a plane crash, a doctor (one of the two sole survivors of the crash - even the title doesn't work), and a surviving family member, a former newspaper journalist. If you can stay awake, you will follow the journalist as he pursues the doctor, avoids the hired thugs of a major corporation, questions the metaphysical and supernatural aspects of his encounters, and explores the depths of his own depression at great length.
I almost rated this a 2 due to Koontz's well-written prose (occasionally silly, usually beautifully written, but way too much of it), and the fact that the story did become interesting during the last hour or so of the reading. Unfortunately, the brief interest only held for a short period and the story dwindled to a close, long and slow but still leaving larqe questions unanswered. If the story were reduced to no more than 10% of its current volume, it would be enjoyable. If the story adequately explored everything it hinted at, it would have been much more interesting. As it was, I only finished through sheer determination.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 1, 2000
After a tragic airplane accident which kills his wife and daughters, one man is left as the "sole survivor" in his family. Devastated by his grief, he is tormented by a feeling of meaninglessness and no will to live...until a survivor(?) from the crash appears, with a little girl in tow. This one is for anyone who has ever wondered about life's meaning and what is in store for us after we die. While you may not get THE capital letters...or even a full theory about life's ultimate meaning or life after death, what you DO get is a riveting book that tugs at the heart. This one grabbed me from the start and never let go. I'm not a fan of otherworldly or horror type books, so this is really saying something.
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on July 10, 2004
Having read many of Koontz's books, this is one of his best. It is my second favorite after Watchers. It is thoughtful and eye-opening on issues of loss. It may be an especially good read and helpful for those who understand the emotional tension of a main character who has lost close family members. He writes that "peace is to be found in the acceptance of things that we are unable to change. That friends and family are the blood of life, and that the purpose of existence is caring, commitment."
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