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The City: A Novel Hardcover – July 1, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for The City
 
“Beautifully crafted and poignant . . . The City is many things: serious, lighthearted, nostalgic, courageous, scary, and mysterious. . . . [It] will have readers staying up late at night.”—New York Journal of Books
 
“[Koontz] can flat-out write. . . . The message of hope and depiction of how the choices you make can change your life ring true and will remain with you once the book has been closed.”Bookreporter

Acclaim for Dean Koontz
 
“Perhaps more than any other author, Koontz writes fiction perfectly suited to the mood of America: novels that acknowledge the reality and tenacity of evil but also the power of good . . . that entertain vastly as they uplift.”Publishers Weekly

“A rarity among bestselling writers, Koontz continues to pursue new ways of telling stories, never content with repeating himself.”—Chicago Sun-Times
 
“Tumbling, hallucinogenic prose. ‘Serious’ writers . . . might do well to examine his technique.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“[Koontz] has always had near-Dickensian powers of description, and an ability to yank us from one page to the next that few novelists can match.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Koontz is a superb plotter and wordsmith. He chronicles the hopes and fears of our time in broad strokes and fine detail, using popular fiction to explore the human condition.”—USA Today
 
“Characters and the search for meaning, exquisitely crafted, are the soul of [Koontz’s] work. . . . One of the master storytellers of this or any age.”—The Tampa Tribune
 
“A literary juggler.”The Times (London)

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.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1st Printing edition (July 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345545931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345545930
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,504 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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

Suspense to keep you reading to the very end!
Rita Palmer
You never know what's going to happen next, this book keeps you guessing all the way to the end!!
AAC
The characters were well developed and the story engaging.
Kathie @First Page to the Last Book Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 90 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover
All great cities have a soul. At the age of eight, Jonah Kirk meets a woman who tells him she is the soul of the city made flesh. Jonah calls her Pearl. He introduces the reader to Pearl when, at 57, he starts dictating the book we are reading. Jonah attributes the appearance of a new piano in the community center (and thus the beginning of his career in music) to Pearl, whose connection to the supernatural is immediately apparent to the reader, if not to young Jonah.

Despite the supernatural elements that you would expect in a Dean Koontz novel, The City is not the kind of story that Koontz typically tells (a fact that may disappoint Koontz fans). The City is a tale of crime and conspiracy, but I liked it less for its moderately engaging plot than for its cast of fully developed characters. Among other topics, the early chapters of The City recount Jonah's love of his mother and grandparents and his difficult relationship with his (mostly) absentee father. The occasional appearances of Jonah's father build a sense of dread, as do the dreams that sometimes trouble Jonah's sleep. One is about a dead girl named Fiona Cassidy. Another is about Lucas Drackman, who murdered his parents. Not unexpectedly, both figures make threatening appearances in Jonah's life. Perhaps the dreams are prophetic, but prophecies are easily misinterpreted. Still, this is a novel that builds characters more than it builds suspense.

Courage and heroism are among the novel's driving themes. The City reminds us that those qualities are exhibited by ordinary people every day.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Aurania on July 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Thank you to Netgalley and Bantam for providing me with an advanced review copy of this title.

This was an odd book for me. For a couple decades, I religiously purchased and devoured every title he published. I fell off the reading wagon some time after I finished the third Odd Thomas book, so it has been a long time since I read Koontz.

The first third of this book did not feel at all Koontzian. It was terribly slow and was almost like an historical novel about music. I almost abandoned it several times. Thankfully, it picked up with when I was about to give up for good.

The story opens with the narrator, whom we learn is Jonah Kirk, having a brief conversation with his friend, Malcolm, who urges Jonah to tell the story of his life - specifically, the dark time in his life. From that point forward, the story is told in first person perspective as Jonah relates events occurring in his life from the time he was 9 to about 11. What I found a little odd is that none of the dialogue sounded like that of a child, but in retrospect it makes sense since the story is literally a late-50s Jonah verbally telling his story to someone recording it.

Jonah is a musical prodigy who comes from a family of musically inclined people. His mother is a gifted singer, and his grandfather a gifted pianist. Unfortunately, the book spends the first third giving a long-winded history of their life before "The Event." (My characterization, not Koontz's). This led to some horribly slow pacing, and while I appreciated that Koontz wanted to move away from his typical formula, it caught me off guard because I went into this thinking I was reading a Koontz book.

Unfair, right?
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By TMStyles VINE VOICE on July 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Reading the reviews on this book reminds me of the dichotomy that now exists among Koontz' loyal readers. I have come to the conclusion, as have many others, that sometime about a decade ago, perhaps around the time that his beloved golden, Trixie, died that a new Dean Koontz arrived. This Neo-Koontz relies much less on the supernatural and with far fewer of the chills and thrills that used to grab the reader in a "can't-turn-the-pages-fast-enough" choke hold. His novels have evolved heavily into faith based efforts that would be comfortable sitting on Christian literature shelves.

In "The City", a young black youth, Jonah Kirk, is soon to discover his God given talents as a musical prodigy despite the absence of his wayward feckless father. His near poverty driven life is counterbalanced by his wonderful loving mother, grandparents, and an inscrutable Japanese tailor named Mr. Yoshioka. Jonah's life seems to change when he meets a mysterious woman who claims to be "The City" itself, personified in her person. Almost simultaneously, Jonah meets and is soon terrorized by a woman who lives on the floor above his apartment; all of which leads to his discovery of a dangerous cabal of anarchists who threaten his very existence.

The rest of the book centers around his efforts along with Mr. Yoshioka, to ascertain what this evil group is up to and how to hopefully stop them. The problem is that not much really happens for huge chunks of the book (it could have been shortened by 100 pages with no loss of coherence). Koontz' skill as a wordsmith coupled with his tremendous ability to describe people, places, and emotions are still very much in evidence, perhaps too much so, as his multi-paragraph descriptions can get tedious.
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