Tag Archives: Dean Koontz

A Review of Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz

Ashley Bell: A Novel

by Dean Koontz

4,0

I’ve read a few books by Mr. Koontz over the years. Some of them have been great, others have left me feeling unfulfilled. He certainly knows how to write. His descriptions often make me just stop reading and let the picture that he is painting settle into my brain. His characters often feel so real that you are sure that you really know them.

Ashley Bell begins like one of his best works. I was immediately drawn into the story. Bibi Blair’s character was alive and strong. She was someone who I really wanted to get to know. She was driven and nothing was going to stop her. Not cancer, or anything else.

As the book progresses, you learn more about Bibi. She is an author. One of the ideas that comes up, during a section about writing, is that some authors write a book in a well structured manner. They outline their book, laying out the plot before they even start to write. Other authors jump right in. They develop a main character, and then that character has a life of its own. The character takes the story wherever it ends up going. Bibi is that type of an author, and maybe Dean Koontz subscribes to this philosophy also. That may be why so many of his books have such great characters and the scenes are so realistic. His characters are alive inside of his mind. That also may be why some of his books seem to wander around trying to come up with a satisfying conclusion.

On the whole, Ashley Bell was a captivating book. The story was engaging. I liked Bibi Blair, but the rest of the characters were not that fascinating. I was a little disappointed with some of the story development, but it worked. I think most readers will find it an exciting book and enjoy the multiple storylines.

I give Ashley Bell 4 Stars out of 5, and a Thumbs Up. If you are a fan, then you probably will like this book. If you have never read Dean Koontz before, this would be a good starting point.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

Ashley-Bell-CoverTHE MUST-READ THRILLER OF THE YEAR: Featuring the most exhilarating heroine in memory and a sophisticated, endlessly ingenious, brilliantly paced narrative through dark territory and deep mystery, this is a new milestone in literary suspense and a major new breakout book from the long acclaimed master.

At twenty-two, Bibi Blair’s doctors tell her that she’s dying. Two days later, she’s impossibly cured. Fierce, funny, dauntless, she becomes obsessed with the idea that she was spared because she is meant to save someone else. Someone named Ashley Bell. This proves to be a dangerous idea. Searching for Ashley Bell, ricocheting through a southern California landscape that proves strange and malevolent in the extreme, Bibi is plunged into a world of crime and conspiracy, following a trail of mysteries that become more sinister and tangled with every twisting turn.

Unprecedented in scope, infinite in heart, Ashley Bell is a magnificent achievement that will capture lovers of dark psychological suspense, literary thrillers, and modern classics of mystery and adventure. Beautifully written, at once lyrical and as fast as a bullet, here is the most irresistible novel of the decade.

Book Details

Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Bantam (December 8, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345545966
ISBN-13: 978-0345545961
Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.8 x 9.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds

About the Author

dean_photo_1When he was a senior in college, Dean Koontz won an Atlantic Monthly fiction competition and has been writing ever since. His books are published in 38 languages and he has sold over 450 million copies to date.

Fourteen of his novels have risen to number one on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list (One Door Away From HeavenFrom the Corner of His EyeMidnightCold FireThe Bad PlaceHideawayDragon TearsIntensitySole SurvivorThe HusbandOdd HoursRelentlessWhat the Night Knows, and 77 Shadow Street), making him one of only a dozen writers ever to have achieved that milestone. Sixteen of his books have risen to the number one position in paperback. His books have also been major bestsellers in countries as diverse as Japan and Sweden.

The New York Times has called his writing “psychologically complex, masterly and satisfying.” The New Orleans Times-Picayune said Koontz is, “at times lyrical without ever being naive or romantic. [He creates] a grotesque world, much like that of Flannery O’Conner or Walker Percy … scary, worthwhile reading.” Rolling Stone has hailed him as “America’s most popular suspense novelist.”

Dean Koontz was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He graduated from Shippensburg State College (now Shippensburg University), and his first job after graduation was with the Appalachian Poverty Program, where he was expected to counsel and tutor underprivileged children on a one-to-one basis. His first day on the job, he discovered that the previous occupier of his position had been beaten up by the very kids he had been trying to help and had landed in the hospital for several weeks. The following year was filled with challenge but also tension, and Koontz was more highly motivated than ever to build a career as a writer. He wrote nights and weekends, which he continued to do after leaving the poverty program and going to work as an English teacher in a suburban school district outside Harrisburg. After a year and a half in that position, his wife, Gerda, made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: “I’ll support you for five years,” she said, “and if you can’t make it as a writer in that time, you’ll never make it.” By the end of those five years, Gerda had quit her job to run the business end of her husband’s writing career.

Dean Koontz lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.

A Review of The City By Dean Koontz

The City
By Dean Koontz

This is a wonderful book to read slowly and savor. You need to take your time and live inside of this story for a few days. You don’t want to have to read this book quickly, just to say that you have, to write a review, to stay on track, to complete your task. Because this book is a book to read slowly and enjoy, it isn’t going please some reviewers. They want a book that they can sit down with and read from front to back, finish in a certain number of hours, and then sit down, break the book apart, and write a review. If you do this, the story will never make it past the walls of your analytical mind. You will be hung up on the style, or wording, or something else that will prevent you from swimming in the life of Jonah Kirk. So slow down, put off that deadline and just enjoy one of the best narratives of the year.

Mr. Koontz has given us a magical story, a story of a young man who was only ten in the late sixties, but this story is told by the Jonah Kirk of today. This narrative style allows for a foretelling of the future, since Jonah knows what has already happened. But he only give glimpses, no spoilers. This is a very unique way of telling the story.

The characters are so believable and full of life, and the writing is so richly textured, that you feel like you become part of the story. That is why you need to take your time, and allow everything to ripen, to become full of flavor.

This story has everything that you can wish for in a novel. It has heroes and villains, a bit of magic, young love, music, great quotes and ideas that make you think about your life, and fabulous writing to tie it all together. Mr. Koontz has outdone himself.

I know that I’m going to reread this book many times. I am also going to listen to the audiobook. My Public Library doesn’t have The City as an audiobook yet, but I will request that they purchase a copy.

I give The City 5 Stars out of 5, and Two Big Thumbs Up! This is going to be one of the “Must Read” books of 2014. Put it on your list, you won’t be disappointed.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from NetGalley.com.

Book Description
Release date: July 1, 2014

#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz is at the peak of his acclaimed powers with this major new novel.

The city changed my life and showed me that the world is deeply mysterious. I need to tell you about her and some terrible things and wonderful things and amazing things that happened . . . and how I am still haunted by them. Including one night when I died and woke and lived again.

Here is the riveting, soul-stirring story of Jonah Kirk, son of an exceptional singer, grandson of a formidable “piano man,” a musical prodigy beginning to explore his own gifts when he crosses a group of extremely dangerous people, with shattering consequences. Set in a more innocent time not so long ago, The City encompasses a lifetime but unfolds over three extraordinary, heart-racing years of tribulation and triumph, in which Jonah first grasps the electrifying power of music and art, of enduring friendship, of everyday heroes.

The unforgettable saga of a young man coming of age within a remarkable family, and a shimmering portrait of the world that shaped him, The City is a novel that speaks to everyone, a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share. Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, it’s a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart.

Product Details

Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Bantam (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345545931
ISBN-13: 978-0345545930
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.0 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds

About the Author

Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.

The book description is from Amazon.  The City