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The Good Guy Hardcover – May 29, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 386 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Bestseller Koontz (The Husband) delivers a thriller so compelling many readers will race through the book in one sitting. In the Hitchcockian opening, which resembles that of the cult noir film Red Rock West (1992), Timothy Carrier, a quiet stone mason having a beer in a California bar, meets a stranger who mistakes him for a hit man. The stranger slips Tim a manila envelope containing $10,000 in cash and a photo of the intended victim, Linda Paquette, a writer in Laguna Beach, then leaves. A moment later, Krait, the real killer, shows up and assumes Tim is his client. Tim manages to distract Krait from immediately carrying out the hit by saying he's had a change of heart and offering Krait the $10,000 he just received. This ploy gives the stone mason enough time to warn Linda before they begin a frantic flight for their lives. While it may be a stretch that the first man wouldn't do a better job of confirming Tim's identity, the novel's breathless pacing, clever twists and adroit characterizations all add up to superior entertainment.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Big Tim Carrier maintains the lowest possible profile, but that tactic crumbles after he is mistaken for a hit man, and when the hit man arrives, poses as the client and tries to cancel. But no one aborts this guy's missions. Tim rushes to shield the prospective victim, writer Linda Paquette, and it soon becomes obvious that the killer has access to every auto-, phone-, and credit-tracing device known to law enforcement (is he a cop?). Moreover, he somehow can pressure law enforcement to be unhelpful, as Tim and Linda discover when Tim's police friend Pete Santo is warned off so firmly that he joins Tim and Linda on the run. For most of its length, this is white-knuckle suspense as gripping as any Koontz has ever written, and the principals all have intriguing backstories that are eventually, with the frustrating exception of the killer's, fully disclosed. Yet the climax and the denouement seem half-baked and perfunctory. This is, however, as politically passionate and common-guy witty as his other, better recent books. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (May 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553804812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553804812
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (386 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #673,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kcorn TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
First off, there is nothing supernatural in this book. That deserves to said up front, as some people prefer Koontz when he is writing in a different vein.

This was one of the most riveting suspense novels I've read lately. The basic dilemna? A guy walks into a bar and is mistaken for a hired killer. He tries to pay off the REAL killer and, for a time, it seems as if this will work. But the killer catches on and the chase is on, as "the good guy" tries to save a beautiful woman from death.

To add to the intrigue, she has no idea why anyone would want her killed. Neither does he, of course. So they have to keep running from a guy who seems to be almost psychic, a man with connections that run deeper than could ever be expected.

I loved the way each character practically jumped off the page, the interaction between them and more. The subtle details Koontz adds are what separates him from other, less skilled writers. His writing is also tight, tense and neither stereotypical or too dense. Take this one with you this summer or have it on hand for times when you want a good read. You won't be disappointed!

Other Koontz books worth checking out:

The Husband

Brother Odd (Odd Thomas Novels)
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"Good Guy" Tim Carrier, a mason by trade with a body (and head) like John Wayne, finds his low-key lifestyle interrupted by a bizarre barroom encounter, during which he's handed an envelope full of money and kill instructions intended for a contract killer. Forced to make the first of what will be many quick life-or-death decisions, Tim removes the target's photograph and address from the envelope and attempts to call off the kill minutes later, when the real assassin arrives at the bar, by posing as the buyer and offering up the $10,000 as a no-kill fee in consideration for his change of heart. As Tim suspects, however, this ruse buys him only limited time, which he uses to alert the intended victim, the physically lovely but psychologically fractured Linda Paquette, of the murder plot. In short, an opening hook that I found every bit as irresistable as the one that kicked off last year's "The Husband."

What ensues is a classic cat-and-mouse thriller, in which Tim and Linda must draw upon all of their physical and mental reserves to stay a step ahead of an assassin for whom the term psychopath doesn't begin to do justice. What's worse, he seems to almost magically anticipate Tim and Linda's every move, giving the impression that he's acting under the direction of a group with law enforcement connections and daunting technological capabilities. As always, Dean Koontz finds clever ways to build suspense, telling the story from several points of view and propelling the story line forward in bite-sized chapters that could easily be visualized as scenes in a blockbuster movie.

Koontz uses another interesting technique to build suspense that I found particularly effective.
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Format: Hardcover
Koontz has become very adept at giving his readers a suspense novel that features a unique, high concept idea. The opening chapter of The Good Guy sets up yet another intriguing concept. A man in a bar is mistaken for a hired killer and given $10,000 and information on a woman he is to murder. Before our hero realizes what has happened, the man is gone. Moments later the real killer sits beside him and Tim (our hero) passes the killer the money but tells him he has changed his mind and no longer wants the woman killed. It doesn't take the killer long to realize that a mistake was made and soon he is after the woman and Tim who is determined to save her life.

It's a clever concept, but Koontz doesn't do enough with it. The bulk of the novel is a straightforward series of chance scenes. Koontz builds suspense effectively enough, but there are few significant twists and turns in the plot, and those that are provided are not entirely satisfying. The mystery, as to why this woman has been targeted for murder, is unlikely and wafer thin.

The most nagging irritant for me is that the opening sequence in the bar, which serves as the foundation of the novel, makes no sense when we learn more about the killer. The killer works for people he communicates with whenever he needs information, fresh clothes, or some collateral damage cleaned up, yet the original contact is made in person in a bar. This is completely inconsistent with everything else we know about the killer and the people who hired him. The obvious reason for this is that Dean needed an in-person exchange to occur so that Tim could get mixed up in the action.
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Format: Hardcover
Tim Carrier is just a nice guy with a big head. When he enters a bar, no one notices. When he saddles up to the counter and orders a drink, only his friend the bartender really pays attention to him. Well, the bartender, and the nervous man who followed Tim into the bar--the guy who thinks Tim is a contract killer.

Confused, Tim watches as the man leaves...only to be replaced, minutes later, by the REAL hitman. This guy is cool, collected, with dark eyes that convey all manners of evil. It won't be long before this man realizes Tim is not his employer; and soon Tim and the target, a beautiful woman named Linda, will be running for their lives from the ultimate human evil.

"The Good Guy" starts out like Koontz's last few novels; i.e., rivetting and suspenseful, but not entirely unique (Koontz has created a new genre: the too-good-to-be-true hero with a mysterious past, running from a sociopathic human evil). However, "The Good Guy" soon branches into territory Koontz hasn't explored since the eighties, and is a wonderful return to a darker suspense form. It's a shame Koontz has been branded a horror novelist (ironically enough, the sole novel that earned him that monicker was in fact a science fiction tale), because he is truly a master of suspense. Nobody writes like he does; his imagery is breathtaking, his knack for banter un-paralleled. True, I'd like to see more grit in his writing (starting in the late nineties, with the exception of "Odd Thomas," his novels have been almost happy-go-lucky), but when it comes to analyzing happiness and love and everything that makes us human, few do it better than Koontz.
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