Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


The ratings:
5 stars  excellent
4 stars  very good
3 stars  good
2 stars  fair
1 stars  poor

Blog stats:

Navigate the site:

Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

Advertise: Rates & stats

Authors & publishers:
I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« McCall Smith, Alexander: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency | Main | Allison, Peter: Whatever You Do, Don't Run »

Koontz, Dean: The Husband

  

Printer-friendly page! Use print preview to see how this page will appear.

Bantam © 2006, 448 pages
4 stars

Note: I read this book in part for The Sunday Salon. See this related post.

Up until now I'd somehow missed Dean Koontz's career. He's written some fifty books, a number of them New York Times bestsellers. His first book was published in 1968, and he published his breakthrough novel Whispers in 1980. He's one of those writers whose names appear in larger type than the titles on their book covers. Reading Koontz's 2006 thriller The Husband, I can see why he's so successful. The book is lightning paced, with short, easily swallowed chapters and a heart-thumper of a plot. The premise: 27-year-old landscaper Mitchell Rafferty--married three years and still crazy in love with his wife--gets a call on his cell phone in the middle of the day. Mitch's wife has been kidnapped. The psychopaths holding her tell Mitch he has to fork over two million dollars in sixty hours' time. They're deadly serious--a point they make abundantly clear within minutes of contacting him. At once Mitch's contented world is shattered. And we get to watch as he tries to figure out how to get his hands on the money and save his wife and evade the police and elude surveillance. And so on. It's a really good read. What I particularly like is that Koontz takes us through his protagonist's thought processes, so that we understand how a regular guy might respond to the insane situation into which he's been thrust. When Mitch needs to buy ammunition for a gun he's gotten his hands on, for example, he doesn't know how to ask for it at at the counter of a gun shop without looking suspicious. We get to see how he decides what to do, sitting in the car outside the store. That Mitch has to fumble his way through things, thinking on the run, makes his response to the kidnapping more realistic.

[INSET TEXT: When Mitch needs to buy ammunition for a gun he's gotten his hands on, for example, he doesn't know how to ask for it at at the counter of a gun shop without looking suspicious.] The book is not without flaws. The author sometimes allows an almost mystical element to creep into the story, which isn't necessary:

"An important truth hid from him, hid not in shadows, hid not behind the boxed holidays, but hid from him in plain sight. He saw but was blind. He heard but was deaf.

"This extraordinary perception grew more intense, swelled until it became oppressive, until it had such a physical dimension that his lungs would not expand. Then it rapidly subsided, was gone."

There are a couple really bad sentences in the book. (One of them has the word "susurration" in it, so it may be an inside joke: Koontz is apparently known for using the word in most of his novels.) The ending is a little disappointing. And Koontz gives his protagonist an elaborate but implausible back story--his parents raised Mitchell and his siblings as if they were science experiments, subjecting them, for example, to extended periods of sensory deprivation and humiliation. The background serves to explain the characters and reactions of Mitchell and his brother Anson, who plays a large role in the story, but it's all a bit over the top and distracting and, again, unnecessary. Mitchell and Anson need not have endured so unusual a childhood to have ended up as they are.

The Husband is flawed, to be sure, and it's the sort of book that would get Harold Bloom tut tutting from on high. But it'll also remind you how fun it can be to get lost in a page-turner.

Tags: , ,

< Tweet it! | Reblog
https://www.book-blog.com/2008/01/koontz-dean-the.html
Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Comments




Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In


About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






The Sunday Salon.com



Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.