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Innocence: A Novel Hardcover – December 10, 2013
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*Starred Review* Addison Goodheart, who must never be seen, and last-nameless Gwyneth, who must never be touched, meet sensationally cute at the end of evading a big, enraged man shouting that he’ll kill her. Confronting one another by the Dickens collection of the grand central library of a never-named American metropolis, they realize, as he says, that “we’re made for each other.” Love at first sight, though heavily impeded (by his clothes and her makeup), saves both them and the story time, which they need because her would-be rapist-murderer is about to find her, no matter her many hideouts, and which the reader relishes because this is as speedy a chase-thriller as any Koontz, a past master of the form, has ever constructed. Written in Koontz’ late mellifluent and reflective manner (Addison ponders as well as reveals his backstory in many flashbacks), the book is also another of his moral thrillers, fueled by deep disgust with the world’s evils—especially abusive violence, especially against children—and by definite, though idiosyncratic, Christian hope for redemption. And so this entrancing romance resolves, like Koontz’s The Taking (2004), apocalyptically, in a new Earth. --Ray Olson
“A thriller that’s both chilling and fulfilling.”—People (four stars)
“Laced with fantastical mysticism, it’s an allegory of nonviolence, acceptance and love in the face of adversity. . . . The narrative is intense, with an old-fashioned ominousness and artistically crafted descriptions. . . . An optimistic and unexpected conclusion [mirrors] his theme. Something different this way comes from Mr. Koontz’s imagination. Enjoy.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Mystery and terror, the paranormal and romance—all combine to make Innocence a challenging and emotional experience.”—New York Journal of Books
“This novel really is something special. . . . This may just be the book Dean Koontz was born to write.”—Thriller Books Journal
“Entrancing . . . as speedy a chase-thriller as any Koontz . . . has ever constructed. Written in Koontz’ late mellifluent and reflective manner . . . [Innocence is] fueled by deep disgust with the world’s evils [and] hope for redemption.”—Booklist (starred review)
“[An] imaginative, mystical thriller from bestseller Koontz . . . This is the most satisfying Koontz standalone in a while.”—Publishers Weekly
“Masterful storyteller Koontz delivers perhaps his most eerie and unusual tale to date. The timeline in this amazing story is compact, and readers will be swept along as they try to unravel hints and clues as to the true nature of both the protagonists and the unfolding drama. Unpredictably spine-chilling and terrifying, this is a story readers won’t soon forget.”—RT Book Reviews
“Elegant . . . Fans of Koontz’s previous series will be left hoping that Addison and Gwyneth, too, will return.”—Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
On a personal note - Dean Koontz (while being one of my favorite authors) is also high on my list of really good people. I don't know him personally & never even met him, but contacted him and asked for a donation of a signed book to auction off for an animal rescue non-profit fundraiser with little hope of hearing back since I hadn't gotten responses from other authors I'd contacted . He very kindly and generously sent a signed copy of A Big Little Life". I'm sure he gets requests all the time and I was amazed and grateful that he responded.
Well, that's a similar scenario to other Koontz books--the good guy on the run, people with special abilities/gifts, terrible villains out to commit horrors. You know what to expect with such reliables: very lovely prose, a spiritual perspective, the power of love and courage and self-sacrifice. The world is more than what is normally seen.
Koontz delivers a tale with heart, soul, and a thriller's pace. The one-star deduction for me is for the structure. I was okay with it for a few chapters, but the back and forth--past to present--wore on me after a bit. I understand why he did it, and he certainly carries it off far better than some other stories I've seen with this structure. I just do not LIKE that structure. :( So, that's what kept it from being a 5-star-er. The time whiplash.
If you love supernatural thrillers with innocent, kind, merciful protagonists--like Odd--then read this. I enjoyed it a lot, and the ending was beautiful and full of hope.
Possibly very mild spoilers here on in, but nothing major--still, figured might as well give a warning to the very sensitive about such things:
Dean Koontz has created a protagonist and world that has echoes to that in the Odd Thomas books (which I love!). A good-hearted man with a special ability and a particular curse. He has suffered much, as Odd, and must overcome for the sake of love. This is an apocalyptic tale--the world is heading for some sort of disaster, which is hinted at from early in the novel, for those that read with care, paying attention to the small clues that add up. (That's the spoiler that I worried over.) Odd Thomas readers will get it, because those books set-up similar warnings.
Innocence is beautifully written and, for me, this was the only driving force that kept the pages turning. I gave it four stars based on the excellent prose and skillfully woven plot but was very disappointed with the theological and philosophical points the author was evidently trying hard to make. I found myself wishing I could grade it twice. Once as a piece of literature and again as a work of philosophy. As philosophy it would have barely garnered two or three stars.
The theological approach for Innocence is strongly Roman Catholic (not surprising because Koontz embraces that religion) however all traces of vicarious redemption are missing and the chapter intended to explain the relationship between God's sovereignty and human free will falls woefully short of the goal . Many Christians may be shocked or even offended by the book's conclusion. When the action is over, world redemption rests on scattered individuals who are born and grow to adulthood free from original sin. These sinless humans are despised by normal society but in the final analysis are the only hope of a world destroyed by disease and a lust for power. Eden must be rebooted and maybe mankind will get it right the second time around.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyable read, kept me guessing till the end.