From Publishers Weekly
Koontz (Forever Odd
) is likely to have himself another bestseller in this pulse-pounding thriller with echoes of Hitchcock and Cornell Woolrich. One morning, Southern California gardener Mitchell Rafferty gets a call on his cellphone from a stranger saying that Mitch's beloved wife, Holly, has been kidnapped and that he has less than three days to come up with $2 million in cash. Of course, he's warned not to involve the police. While Mitch is still on the phone, the kidnapper proves his seriousness by directing Mitch's attention to a man walking a dog across the street. A moment later the man is shot dead. Mitch must walk a fine line—cooperating with the police inquiry into this murder without revealing Holly's plight. Koontz ratchets up the tension in a manner sure to captivate most readers, though some may find the ending anticlimactic. (May 30)
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*Starred Review* It's another boring day in paradise for gardener Mitch Rafferty, planting impatiens on a rich client's lawn. Then his cell rings. It's Holly, his wife, and she doesn't sound good. Someone slaps her, she screams, and a man comes on to tell Mitch that he has 60 hours to raise $2 million to ransom her. Just so Mitch knows they mean business, the man says, see the guy walking a dog across the street? Mitch looks and blam! A bullet to the head kills the dog walker. Let this be a warning, too, that the kidnapper-killers will know if Mitch says word one to the cops about his predicament, and Holly will suffer. Where is a gardener supposed to get $2 million? The sinister caller says he'll let Mitch know; just be a good machine and follow instructions. Despite his terror, Mitch does until . . . But uh-uh-uh, nothing
should be given away about this sinuous nail-biter's developments. Suffice it to say that Mitch's intensely warped family, managed according to his rigidly materialistic psychologist-father's theories; two betrayals, one of Mitch, the other of the kidnappers; a slick child pornography entrepreneur; a humane but persistent police detective; and a New Ager psychopath all help ratchet up the suspense and the violence. But Koontz focuses relentlessly on Mitch and, in chapters scattered judiciously throughout the latter 230 pages, Holly. Not for him the flirtation with evil thinking that an Elmore Leonard does so well or the temptation to sympathize with evildoers that an Alfred Hitchcock offers. And yet Koontz is no less an artist for his championing of the good and his determination to have readers identify with it, as this hair-raising thriller attests. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved