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The Face Hardcover – May 27, 2003
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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
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is outstanding! You don't want to put it down. These aren't just characters, they're people you care about, as if they were your friends.
From beginning to end. When it does end you don't want it too. It's a shame that they won't be ongoing in books to come.
So instead of complaining about Odd Thomas. Read this one,or Innocents , it was awesome.
I'm a Koontz fan to the bone. I know a good book. The Face is truly a great one.
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. This guy is truly bad without being outlandishly comic-bookish, similar to many other serial killer types in the thriller market place. Corky Laputa is just plain wicked.
If you're expecting the stock-standard thriller with all the tired stereotypes, you'll be disappointed with this novel. Then again, it has all the successful ingrediants one might expect, but Koontz throws in an interesting wrench into the work, which makes the book refreshing and highly enjoyable.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Would highly recommend it.
Thrilling suspenseful and moving all in one book.
Leonardus G. Rougoor, "Waiting in the Shadows"