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The Face: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – April 27, 2004


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Ten-year-old Aelfric Manheim is home alone when he receives a call from a stranger with a simple and terrifying message, "There is trouble coming, young Fric...You're going to need a place to hide." Meanwhile, security chief for the Manheim estate, former detective Ethan Truman, is tailing a "deader than dead" body that got up and left the morgue when he vividly experiences his own death--twice. In The Face, Dean Koontz delivers yet another spellbinding and chilling novel, where real and imagined monsters walk the streets, ghosts travel through mirrors, and the devil makes house calls. Stalked by both real and supernatural evil, the bright and sensitive Fric, virtually orphaned by his A-list Hollywood parents, and the brave but disillusioned former detective Ethan Truman, himself suffering from the loss of his wife, must rely on their wits and each other to escape a dark and disturbing fate.

The supernatural lurks just beneath the surface of the "real" in Koontz's novels, and The Face is no exception. Ghosts, angels, demons, child predators and serial anarchists run rampant in Koontz's tale--the unsuspecting reader never knows what is real or imagined until the characters themselves know--creating a disorienting and frightening experience, and one that is vintage Koontz. Whether it be the real-life "agents of chaos" who roam the world creating mayhem and death or the phone lines that carry words of the dead to the living, this is Koontz at his most powerful and terrifying.

In The Face, Koontz has created a modern fable for adults, taking the bones from tales of old and breathing new life into the characters. Clearly written for adults, The Face nevertheless channels the wit and wisdom of Aesop as well as the violence and villainy of the Brothers Grimm. While Koontz's penchant for elaborately singsong descriptions can be grating, ultimately it lends this tale its folkloric quality, i.e. "The June-bug jitter, scarab click, tumblebug tap of the beetle-voiced rain spoke at the window, click-click-click." In this fable, the world is a menacing and threatening place for adults and children alike, and the naïve and uninformed go trip-trapping through life with no notion of the trolls that lurk in the dark. The moral of this story is that, good or evil, you will get what is coming to you; it's up to you to succeed or fail for you alone decide your path punishment or redemption. --Daphne Durham --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The final pages of Koontz's newest are uplifting enough to make Cain repent and Pilate weep. And there's much else in this novel to savor-and savor it readers must, because some of the book is slow going (it's also much too long). There's scarcely an author alive who, judging by his books, loves the English language more than Koontz; there's certainly no bestselling author of popular fiction who makes more use of figures of speech and whose sentences offer more musicality. That can be Koontz's weakness as well as strength, however. Koontz is also one of the great suspense authors, and when he's fashioned a particularly robust plot to carry his creative prose, as in last year's By the Light of the Moon, he's an Olympian. But when he stretches a thin story line beyond resilience, the language can overcome the narrative like kudzu vines. That happens here, despite the tale's grandeur and strong lines. The eponymous Face is the world's biggest movie star; he doesn't appear in the novel, but his smart, geeky 10-year-old son, Fric, takes center stage, as does Ethan Truman, cop-turned-security chief of the Face's elaborate estate and Fric's main human protector when one Corky Laputa, who's dedicated his life to anarchy, decides to sow further disorder by kidnapping this progeny of the world's idol. Fric's secondary protector was also human, a mobster, until he recently died and became Fric's (somewhat inept) guardian angel. Most of the narrative concerns Corky's abominations and Ethan and Fric's dawning awareness, via numerous uncanny events, of the unfolding horror. Koontz's characters are memorable and his unique mix of suspense and humor absorbing; but his overwriting-e.g., a chapter of about 2,000 words to describe Corky's coverup of a murder, when a sentence or two would have sufficed-make this worthy novel less than a dream. Still, great kudos to Koontz for creating, within the strictures of popular fiction, another notable novel of ideas and of moral imperatives.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (April 27, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553584480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553584486
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (262 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,924,130 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

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By C. Middleton on June 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
From the start, the stage is set for this unusual and original tale with the rain, pouring down incessantly over the city of angels. In fact, the grey, gloomy skies and rain are major characters in the book. (Koontz refers to them constantly, and to great effect) We have all the ingredients for the standard thriller genre: troubled and sensitive cops, a dazzling Hollywood star, an exceedingly intelligent and evil antagonist and the constant threat of doom, hanging over the reader like the sword of Pericles, ready to drop at any moment. But ~The Face~ gives us something more than the prototype: stereotypes are brilliantly combined with the paranormal. Throughout the reading, my rational mind continued to search for logical explanations for the many strange events that happen to the main characters. To my frustration, however, no rational answers came forth because, in most cases, there weren't any. This novel makes excellent reading because what you see in not always what you expect or get...
The strongest aspect about the writing itself is the author's skill for characterization. Even the apparent insignificant characters in the novel have certain depth, which invokes the feeling one gets when meeting someone casually for the first time. He devotes each chapter of the tale from the perspective of each major player, and we easily enter their minds, feel their thoughts and emotions. Particularly the ten year old boy, Fric, with his pubescent humor and loneliness...and, of course, the terrifying literature professor and his Deconstructive, post modern stance on the written word. As a ruthless anarchist, he could have no better or appropriate philosophy concerning literature.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Lonnie E. Holder HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is one of Koontz' best. The beginning was a little slow to take off, but I was hooked around page 50 or so, and could barely keep from flipping to the end to see how it all ended. What impressed me most about this book was the outstanding ending, with more than one of those twists that many authors try to put into a book, but here they are all successful.
Channing Mannheim is the highest paid actor in the world. Handsome to the point where he is called "The Face," he lives a life style that none of us can imagine. Surrounded constantly by bodyguards, servants, and various hangers-on, he is the epitome of the rich and famous. While Channing is mentioned frequently throughout the book, we meet this world-famous man personally but once. However, we lack not for principal characters. The most important are Aelfric (who likes to be called Fric) Mannheim, Channing's 10-year-old and somewhat normal son, Ethan Truman, a former police officer, now head of Channing's security and married to the late Hannah Truman, Corky Laputa, anarchist extraordinaire, and Dunny Whistler, once (and perhaps always) Ethan's best friend, though turned to a life of crime before he died.
While these four characters are the focus of the multiple chapters, Koontz does his very best to complicate the story by introducing a host of secondary characters. The characters are described in sufficient depth to enhance your understanding of the personalities of the principal characters, and while the complexity of the story challenges the ability to keep track of who's who, in general I was able to stay on top of what was happening in the story.
With all these characters running about, there must be an interesting story here, and there is.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In order for a book to be good, one thing it absolutely must have is interesting characters. This one does. From the ex-cop turned security chief, to the little boy in peril, these are characters I'd like to see more of, and that's always a good sign. If you read a book and at the end you wish you could know more about the people in the book, then you've found a pretty good read. But this one doesn't stop there. It also has a beautifully crafted story that builds slowly, gaining steam gradually, so you can savor the taste of it as you read along. It's eerie, not ghastly, and the ending made me weep. Give it a look, you probably won't be disappointed.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Freddy Jones on March 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The story centers around two key characters. The first is an ex-cop named Ethan Truman. He is now the chief of security for one of the most famous actors in the world today Charles "The Face" Manhiem. As of late, The Face has been receiving packages that point towards his death, filled with strange and unusual items. Ethan takes it upon himself to catch the person responsible. However, Ethan's life gets even more complicated when he begins to see an old friend walking around that is supposed to be dead, and the fact that his friend's body dissapeared from the morgue makes things even stranger. Now Ethan must solve two mysteries - the identity of the person who wants The Face dead, and if his friend is really alive or not. The other main character of the story is The Face's son Aelfric Manhiem. Ten year old Fric begins to receive strange phone calls on his private line telling him that he needs to find a place to hide because something evil is coming. At first, Fric things that it is a prank. However, as time goes on, the mysterious caller begins to describe what has Fric has done during the day, what different rooms of the house look like, etc.. As Fric begins to prepare for this mysterious evil force, Ethan becomes wrapped up in his own problems which puts both Ethan and Fric in danger of being victims of events that are somehow connected.
This book seriously impressed me. I have been a fan of Dean Koontz for many years, and I have read the majority of his books. That is why I had my doubts about this one. When an author produces so many fantastic books, you begin to wonder if it is only a matter of time before they run out of ideas, and The Face is one of Koontz's latest novels. As soon as I began reading this book, my doubts were put to rest.
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