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One Door Away from Heaven Hardcover – December 26, 2001
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This month's Book With Buzz: "The Silent Corner" by Dean Koontz
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Dean Koontz virtually invented the cross-genre novel, and in One Door Away from Heaven he mixes an action thriller with post-X-Files alien paranoia to remarkable effect. Micky Bellsong is a young woman at a crisis point in her life, using a stay at her Aunt Geneva's to sort things out. Then the precocious and deformed Leilani Klonk walks into her life, telling stories of her stepfather and drugged-up mother, who believe aliens will beam the girl into their mothership and heal her deformities before her 10th birthday. But tales of the stepfather's vicious past, including his hand in several murders, leave Micky believing that a far more terrible fate awaits her friend. So when the parents take off with Leilani, Micky pursues.
As is typical with a Koontz novel, nothing turns out to be what it seems, and the meticulously crafted plot tightens like a noose with every turn of the page. His characters are exceptionally drawn, driving the novel forward with realism and warmth. Micky is one of his more attractive young heroines, but the real star is Leilani, a mature young girl whose plucky nature and sparkling dialogue instantly make her Koontz's most memorable creation. She embodies his belief that despite violence, pain, and suffering, there is always goodness to be found in every person and situation. Koontz has once again proven why he is one of the premier novelists of his generation. --Jonathan Weir, Amazon.co.uk
From Publishers Weekly
Koontz's latest is powered by an impassioned stand against utilitarian bioethics, and it's chock-a-block with trademark characters vulnerable kids, nurturing parental substitutes, a dog of above-average intelligence and a villain of insuperable nastiness sure to provoke a pleasurable conditioned response from his readers. The discursive story coalesces from two converging subplots steeped in the weirdness of fringe ufology: in one, loser Michelina Bellsong struggles to save crippled nine-year-old Leilani Klonk from an evil stepdad planning to pass off her imminent disposal as a benevolent alien abduction; in the other, a strange boy who goes by the alias Curtis Hammond is the quarry of two cross-country manhunts, one led by the FBI and the other by mass murderers who, like the messianic Curtis, may not be what they seem. En route to a pyrotechnic finale in rural Idaho, Koontz shoots bull's-eyes at target issues that shape his theme, including assisted suicide, substance abuse, the irresponsibility of the counterculture and the goofiness of true-believer ET enthusiasts. Koontz's once form-fitting style has gotten baggy of late, however, and readers may find themselves wishing he had better filtered the flights of fancy his characters sometimes indulge at chapter length. For all that, the novel is surprisingly focused on its inspirational message "we are the instruments of one another's salvation and only by the hope that we give to others do we lift ourselves out of the darkness into light" and conveys it with such conviction that only the most critical will demur. (Dec. 26)Forecast: A terrific cover, depicting two female figures on a country path beneath a star-filled night sky, will alert browsers to the awe and mystery within the novel; Koontz's name and Bantam's promo machine will do the rest. Koontz could hit #1 with this one.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The only drawback: Koontz has a tendency to be verbose with his description, and again, he outdoes himself here. While it does not detract from the plot or characterization, he probably could have streamlined enough to get the page count somewhere below 600 pages without removing anything essential.
Bottom line: It is a very good, borderline great read if you are willing to make the time investment (my kindle version said 688 pages, but I think I have seen a 700 page print version).
Koontz weaves this tail with his inimitable descriptive prose that at times resembles poetry. His enduring love for his late Golden Retriever manifests itself as a recurring theme of the spiritual bond between Persons and their Dogs.By being slightly less intelligent than Humans, a dog still possesses an Innocence that allows them to recognize the Playful Presence of our Creator.
All of this provides a back drop for an exciting battle between Good and Evil. I found it to be equally as thrilling even though this was the second time that I have read this novel. I truly recommend choosing this for an enjoyable experience.
P. S. Although I am an unconditional fan of Dean Koontz and everything that I have had the pleasure to read that he has written, my all time favorite Dean Koont novel is still "Watchers"!
When Leilani moves into the temporary housing of a trailer next to Aunt Gen and Michelina Bellsong, her experience and view on life draw out the best of Micky as Micky races to save Leilani from Dr. Doom.
Meanwhile we have a very unusual young boy, Curtis, whose life is being threatened because of his special gifts. Add in a disillusioned PI, a couple of twins who are determined to aid Curtis and a dog whose visions of the true meaning of life becomes an inspiration and this rag-tag group set out to change humanity, one soul at a time.
8/17/2015 Yea, I reread this book yet again and was wowed as if it was the first time I'd read it. I'd say with this book, Koontz is at the top of his game. It is simple, spiritual without being religious and full of the beauty of just being alive and sharing that joy with others. This may be my favorite Koontz book.