The new thriller from Dean Koontz is an emotional rollercoaster telling the story of five days in the life of an ordinary man – a story that will challenge the way you look at good and evil, life and death.
Jimmy Tock comes into the world on the very night his grandfather leaves it. As a violent storm rages outside the hospital, Rudy Tock spends long hours walking the corridors between the expectant fathers' waiting room and his dying father's bedside. It's a strange vigil made all the stranger when, at the very height of the storm's fury, Josef Tock suddenly sits up in bed and speaks coherently for the first and last time since his stroke.
What he says before he dies is that there will be five dark days in the life of his grandson – five dates whose terrible events Jimmy will have to prepare himself to face. The first is to occur in his 20th year; the second in his 23rd year; the third in his 28th; the fourth in his 29th; the fifth in his 30th.
Rudy is all too ready to discount his father's last words as a dying man's delusional rambling. But then he discovers that Josef also predicted the moment of his grandson's birth to the minute, as well as his exact height, weight, and the fact that Jimmy would be born with syndactyly – the unexplained anomaly of fused digits on his left foot. Suddenly, the old man's predictions take on a chilling significance.
What terrifying events await Jimmy on these five dark days? What nightmares will he face? What challenges must he survive? As the novel unfolds, picking up Jimmy's story at each of these crisis points, the path he must follow will defy every expectation. And with each crisis he faces, he will move closer to a fate he could never have imagined. For who Jimmy Tock is and what he must accomplish on the five days his world turns is a mystery as dangerous as it is wondrous – a struggle against an evil so dark and pervasive only the most extraordinary of human spirits can shine through.
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Life Expectancy confirms that one of the pleasures of reading Dean Koontz is that he is never especially likely to do the same thing twice in a row. Here he gives us a suspense novel with a supernatural element--Jimmy's dying grandfather prophesies at his birth that he will have five really bad days in his twenties and we watch these with real concern that he may not survive them. Even on the day of Jimmy's birth things go badly--a mad clown loses his wife in childbirth and massacres hospital staff; a bizarre feud between clowns and aerialists is a significant part of what follows. One of the strengths of Koontz's writing is that he works out in finely-blocked detail precisely how his average characters get themselves out of desperate situations by ingenuity and pluck, and without suddenly becoming super-powerful; even at his most wildly inventive, he remembers to be plausible. And this is one of his best books for a while simply because he has fewer axes to grind--this is pure story-telling of the smoothest kind. --Roz Kaveney.Review:
‘Dean Koontz straddles the genres, and pretty successfully, too … Odd Thomas is a short-order cook in a restaurant in Pico Mundo, a small town in the Mohave Desert. He also has an instinct for people who are going to cause mayhem. And when one of them turns up and orders breakfast, the novel kicks into gear … Odd Thomas is certainly a page-turner – this is a read-at-a-sitting novel – with a terrific final twist’ The Observer on Odd Thomas
'Dean Koontz is not just a master of our darkest dreams, but also a literary juggler' The Times
'Koontz has near-Dickensian powers of description, and an ability to yank us from one page to the next that few novelists can match' Los Angeles Times
'A modern Swift … a master satirist.' Entertainment Weekly
'If Stephen King is the Rolling Stones of novels, Koontz is the Beatles.' Playboy
'Dean Koontz writes page-turners, middle-of-the-night sneak-up-behind-you suspense thrillers. He touches our hearts and tingles our spines.' Washington Post Book World
'Tumbling, hallucinogenic prose. Serious writers might do well to study his technique.' New York Times Book Review
'Fast-paced and dark … Koontz knows we live in a world where evil delights in justifying itself … Classic literature that deserves a place on the bookshelf beside Orwell's 1984 and Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.' California Literary Review
'Koontz is writing right where popular culture swells into something larger, just as it did for Homer, Shakespeare, and Dickens. He's got the gift.' Australian
'Koontz is a superb plotter and wordsmith. He chronicles the hopes and fears of our time in broad strokes and fine detail, using popular fiction to explore the human condition.' USA Today
'Inspires both chills and serious thought … has the power to scare the daylights out of us.' People
'The poet laureate of paranoid pop fiction.' Denver Post
'Koontz achieves a literary miracle … stunning physical description, unique turns of phrase.' Boston Globe
'Near Dickensian powers of description.' Los Angeles Times
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0007196946