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Breathless Hardcover – November 24, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Koontz (Relentless) delivers a hard-to-classify stand-alone set near the Rocky Mountains that will appeal more to fans of his Odd Thomas books than those partial to his Hitchcockian thrillers. While out for a walk, reclusive Grady Adams and his wolfhound, Merlin, spot two white furry animals as large as midsize dogs and as quick and limber as cats that aren't like anything previously known to science. The sudden arrival of these mysterious creatures out of the blue appears to be linked to several other baffling phenomena. Meanwhile, a sadist, Henry Rouvroy, tracks down his identical twin, James, and kills him and James's wife in order to assume his brother's identity. After the murders, Rouvroy is unsettled by evidence that the dead have not stayed dead. Koontz's cryptic dedication to Aesop (twenty-six centuries late and with apologies for the length) may hold the key to what's going on, but readers are likely to find the moral of this peculiar tale, if there is one, obscure. (Dec.)
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The endearing golden retriever heroine of The Darkest Evening of the Year (2007) and the real-life golden retriever star of A Big Little Life (2009) acquire a male peer in Koontz’s new novel, an Irish wolfhound named Merlin despite the fact that, unlike his female colleagues, he does nothing magical. He’s also not one of the protagonists, though he’s the faithful friend of four of them: his master, his vet, and two creatures entirely new under the sun, who, adorably child-sized, big-eyed, and furry, seem at first closer akin to him than to humans but turn out to be genetically indistinguishable from Homo sapiens. The pair, dubbed Puzzle and Riddle by Merlin’s people, arrive simultaneously with thousands more pairs of their kind all over the globe—and just in time. For, in Breathless, as in many previous Koontz novels, this old world’s in a helluva fix. But this time, Puzzle, Riddle, and their kin may set things right. At any rate, the creatures’ arrival immediately triggers one outstandingly good development: an angry drunk sobers up and lightens up enough to seek out the parents he’s long been estranged from; en route, he thwarts a heinous criminal. Furthermore, because the newcomers are considerably more than they initially seem, they effect more good, including their own escape from Department of Homeland Security detention. A first-rate first-alien-encounter yarn. --Ray Olson
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Top Customer Reviews
I chose this book as a kickstarter, having been an avid Dean Koontz fan. I liked his method of Introducing individual characters, and spends a chapter familiarizing the reader with them.
I was a little disappointed with the conclusion of one key character, and felt Dean could've developed a deeper storyline with them. In summary, I would recommend this book as the overall story was very entertaining and held the readers attention.
The experience of the average citizen is very different from that of a police officer, investigaor, prison guard, or prosecuting attorney. Evil exists and Mr. Koontz looks directly into its icy heart.
But great good also exists - true compassion, self-giving, sincere faith. And this is the realm that the author likes to concentrate on while creating the conflicts that give his books such power, dynamism, and suspense. But Breathless goes a step beyond, a leap beyond, really, in introducing a theological construct of striking originality. What if an astonishing proof were given to humankind that a benevolent Being did indeed exist? It's a proposition so intriguing that its effects would be nearly limitless, perhaps ushering in a new age of light. To watch Mr. Koontz create the characters and weave the events of such a strikingly original story is to watch imaginative genius.
Priests and clergymen, of which I am one, are endlessly trying to convey the fathomless love and beauty of the Creator and his constant efforts to draw us to him. The author accomplishes this with such creativeness and subtlity that I am indeed breathless.
But right when you start to get really excited about the story, it seems to come to an abrupt and ill-conceived ending. Questions and story lines are haphazardly tied up, with no real creativity and no movement forward of the story or characters. I wanted a confrontation between good and evil; I wanted a mystery resolved; I wanted a good ending - and Mr. Koontz doesn't deliver on any of them.
I'd taken a break from his writing for close to a decade, with only recently having read his last `animal' story, "The Darkest Evening of the Year" (which I enjoyed). I thought I'd give him another chance. I guess I can scratch that idea.
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