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Breathless: A Novel of Suspense Mass Market Paperback – November 23, 2010

3.0 out of 5 stars 540 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (November 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553591738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553591736
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (540 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #291,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Brown on November 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I've always enjoyed Dean Koontz. I haven't read a whole lot of his books...but probably a good half-dozen of them over the years, and none have ever been disappointments. However, he's managed to leave me disappointed this time. Not because this book didn't have all the elements of a really great book. It did. But simply because it never fully realizes its potential.

Koontz gives a great setup. Lots of characters with rich histories...many of them rooted in deep pain. The gentle furniture maker who used to be a military assassin, the dedicated veterinarian who was the victim of mental and physical abuse for 10 years as a child, the serial killer who's only once come close to being caught and is on the hunt again...as a work for hire, and the twin who is on a gruesome mission to "become" his brother. All strong stuff. And then we've got the overriding mystery...two nearly-indescribable creatures who appear out of thin air and display nobler-than-human behavior. Why are they here? Where did they come from? And will they become guinea pigs in the labs of big, bad Homeland Security?

This really is a compelling set of questions...and it takes about 7 hours and 45 minutes of the 8-hour audio book to get to this place. But then...Koontz seems to weary of the story, or run out of ideas, or something. Whatever the cause, he neatly wraps up many (but not all) of the questions he's raised so quickly that it belies the (at times plodding) pace of the earlier parts of the book. Personally, I was left wanting. There's a gentle-enough sensibility about the book...I'd even describe it as beautiful at points...that I can't believe this was a cynical attempt on the author's part to provide a setup and then not finish the job...but it comes up so short of his usual work that I still had to consider the possibility.

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Format: Hardcover
In the Colorado Rockies, Grady Adams and his Irish wolfhound, Merlin, have just discovered two creatures unlike anything they've ever seen before. As they welcome these mysterious animals into their home, they soon discover that their arrival coincides with a wondrous event that will forever change their lives and millions of other all over the world.

Dean Koontz never seems ceases to astonish me with the amount of tricks up his sleeve. Each installment in his illustrious career is unique and otherworldly, with Breathless being no exception. In recent offerings Koontz has come under fire, unfairly so in my opinion, for not being the same guy who once scared us around every turn with evil characters and harrowing plots. Lately, dogs have become main characters more than usual, and for whatever reason a lot of fans and critics alike have not looked kindly upon his change of style. In a bold and effective move, Koontz sticks it to the doubters and transforms familiar elements in a way we never imagined.

Not only is Man's Best Friend featured in Breathless, but in this story animals play a bigger role than most of, if not all, Koontz's previous works. However, fans who feel like they have been missing out will be pleased to know that this is one of the most suspenseful novels Koontz has written in a while, with a fast paced plot laced with just the right amount of dread, wonder, and redemption. We're even treated to some frightening and disturbing scenes that will have many readers looking under their beds and in their closets long after reading. Once again Koontz`s prose and dialogue are delivered at the highest level as we follow several storylines to a powerful conclusion.
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Format: Hardcover
Dean Koontz is an enigma of a writer. Some of his books have unforgettable plots, characters, and mystery. A few miss one or more of those. "Breathless" lacks all three. As usual, he starts to create a mystery but quickly falls back into colorful description of scenery, people and moods. Count how often he uses color related words such as copper, gold, silver, blue, etc etc etc to describe the sky, the grass, the road, the twilight, a meadow, yadda yadda, yadda. Koontz must get royalties from Crayola.
Once again, he uses a dog as a featured star but this dog lacks the charisma and talent of his dogs in some of his great past novels (i.e.-Watchers). This dog, an Irish Wolfhound and his master seem bewildered about the happenings around them. Mainly, the appearance of two unusual creatures which Koontz describes endlessly without ever creating a true vision for the reader.
Then, he throws in a lunatic, a card counter, a vet, a killer and various supporting characters who come and go and never create a real sense of being.
Endless dialog about chaos theory, man's fear of new evolution and plot lines that wander to and fro without a worthy climax and you have a total mess.
I read every Koontz book and often buy them. I am glad I did not buy this novel because it bored the heck out of me when confusion and boredom reigned.
His last book "Relentless" was much better and he has written lots of great stuff but this is not worthy of this fine writer. If this were the first Koontz book I ever read, I would probably dismiss him as a confused writer unable to create interest. It's not. So let's hope for better work next time and let's hope that young Koontz readers check out his past stuff and dismiss "Breathless" as an ugly hiccup in his writing career.
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