The Face

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9780007130719: The Face

A novel of fear and suspense, love, loss and redemption, from one of the greatest storytellers writing today. The Face is Dean Koontz’s most chilling, gripping and original novel to date.

THE FACE. He's Hollywood's most dazzling star. His flawless features inspire the love of millions – but light the fires of hatred in one twisted soul. A few rain-lashed days before Christmas, a warped star-hater has sent six sinister messages to him, promising a very nasty surprise for the festive season.

The Face's security chief is Ethan Truman, an ex-LAPD cop trying to rebuild his life. Having tracked down the messenger but not the source of the threat, he's worried. But not half as worried as he would be if he knew that Fric, the Face's ten-year-old son, was home alone and getting calls from a pervert claiming he's Moloch, 'devourer of children'.

While the unnatural downpour continues, Ethan must face the secrets of his tragic past and the unmistakable premonition of his own impending violent death as he races to solve the macabre riddles. Meanwhile, a terrified young Fric is planning to go into hiding in his father's vast Bel Air mansion – putting himself beyond Ethan's protection.

And Ethan may be all that stands between Fric and an almost unimaginable evil …

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Review:

The Face mixes both elements of psychological and supernatural terror in an unusual and disturbing way. "The Face" is a Hollywood superstar who's never at home. For his lonely son Fric, that's the keynote of life: a father who gives him everything, including the run of a fabulous Bel Air mansion (the Palazzo Rospo) in a large estate, but no personal affection. A series of cryptic gifts arrive, suggesting a stalker's threat to the actor, but in fact the person in danger is 10-year-old Fric.

The house security boss, former LAPD cop Ethan Truman, isn't that worried. The Face is away as usual and the Palazzo's defences are spectacular. What does worry him is that after tracking down the middleman who delivered one of those sinister parcels, Ethan is killed--twice. But yet he lives, as though time has been rewound; and he keeps glimpsing an old friend who is very definitely dead.

Koontz's villain is a memorably unpleasant creation; thanks to wealth, contacts and horrible ingenuity, this bad guy is well-equipped to crack the Palazzo defences, kill Ethan and grab Fric. Gradually his inhuman scheme is revealed.

Meanwhile the supernatural element is working on the other side, though shackled by rules that forbid direct action. Fric gets disquieting phone calls warning that someone or something called Moloch, devourer of children, is coming and that the boy had better find a safe hiding place. Chillingly, the caller always knows exactly where Fric is and what he's doing. And these messages somehow don't register on the Palazzo's elaborate logging system.

Appalling rain drenches Los Angeles as Moloch's day approaches; Fric's terror grows, Ethan and a friend who's still in the LAPD follow hopeless leads and even the dead begin to despair of thwarting a psychopath who holds all the high cards. No plan, however, quite survives contact with reality. The finale offers extreme violence and electrifying twists, and delivers satisfaction. --David Langford

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