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The Husband Hardcover – May 30, 2006
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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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*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 Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
And his stories, or at least the ones I've read, are always very compelling and original, if somewhat offbeat, dark, bizarre and odd. Perhaps it's precisely that oddity and darkness that makes his stories so compelling.
In any case, in this story he revisited a familiar theme present in many of his other works- that of family dysfunction. Reading his stories often makes me very appreciative of the family I have. In this particular story the dysfunction centered mostly around greed and betrayal, with the bad behaviors taking place between brothers. Actually, the evil deeds were done by one brother, and his cohorts, with the other brother reacting in an incredibly resourceful, intelligent, courageous and admirable way. This resourceful character theme is also a recurring one in many of his stories. I like to believe that I would behave in such a courageous and intelligent manner as this, if I found myself caught in such a difficult predicament, but I probably wouldn't.
That's interesting enough, but when you add in the theme about money, where one brother is willing to do some interesting things for the sake of the almighty dollar, well, that just adds fuel to the fire, or, rather, momentum to the story.
In closing, I'd just like to say that I choose to believe that there is only a small segment of the population that is as deviant as many of Koontz's characters are. Am I living in a bubble? Maybe. But I sure hope not.
That's the implausible scenario I found after loading the free sample onto my Kindle. But my faith in Dean Koontz to make sense of the madness overpowered me so I bought it. Then Mitch's situation got even worse; in fact the deck had been stacked against him since birth. He had more bad guys against him than he, or I, could imagine. And he's a good guy! Made me want to grab my .357 Magnum and lend a hand. It's a good thing Mitch is physically capable and a fast learner because things just kept getting worse, plus he has a nosey police detective scrutinizing him over a crime he witnessed.
This book is a page-turner and the author didn't let me down. There's just one thing wrong with it, and all other great stories: I couldn't leave it alone, and soon it was over.
I just wish he would do more books like this.
Mitchell Rafferty is one of those characters who throughout the book amazes you with the changes in his personality and of course the surprises you get with his brother Anson's character puts you on the edge of hate and wanting to buy a gun to shoot the guy. Holly, Mitch's wife takes a little longer to materialize into the main stream but here you just want to hold her hand and kiss her. These three are the most memorable but Koontz depicts a number of others who get into your head and stay there.
This is a murder, suspense, crime thriller so enjoy!
Most recent customer reviews
He has some great novels