While I absolutely love Dean Koontz, this book was really really short and not that good to be fair. At least when compared to some of his other works.
A gifted clairvoyant. A shocking vision. A deadly killer.
Dean Koontz writes a spine-chilling novel in The Face of Fear – a gripping tale of predator and prey. Perfect for fans of Richard Laymon and Harlan Coben.
‘Real suspense… tension upon tension!’ – The New York Times
Graham Harris is a gifted clairvoyant, and during a television interview, he ‘sees’ a murder being committed. He knows that the killer is the man the police have named the Butcher – the slayer of nine young women.
Learning of the psychic identification, the Butcher begins to stalk this ‘witness’ to his crime, and traps Harris and his girlfriend at night in a vast forty-two-storey business building, hunting them relentlessly from floor to floor…
“Relax and enjoy yourself, Edna.” He untied the sash at her waist. The robe fell open. Under it, she was naked. He gently squeezed her breasts. “If you cooperate you’ll come out of this just fine. And you’ll have a lot of fun. I’m not going to kill you unless you force me to it. I’m no butcher, Edna. Me … I’m nothing but your ordinary, everyday rapist.”
The book starts off great with a serial killer on the loose, viciously murdering women just like the Boston Strangler or Ted Bundy. Our hero is a clairvoyant who is able to see when murders are happening and who can deduct, by touching things, just how the murder came to be and also things about the murderer – like his name: Dwight.
His experience and attitudes were stamped on his features. His toughness shone through clearly, yet there was the boyish quality too. Kindness. Intelligence. Humor. Sensitivity. He was a deep-down good man. But the fear shone through as well, the fear of falling, and all of the ugly things that had grown from it.During his twenties and early thirties, Graham had been one of the best mountain climbers in the world.
Him and his girlfriend make a pair comparable to Holly and Hodges in Finders Keepers * Stephen King. It’s only when the murderer starts calling the police and leaving mysterious quotes behind that they start believing he wants to be caught or he absolutely thinks he can never be caught.
‘Man is rope stretched between the animal and the Superman—a rope over an abyss.’”
What really destroyed the book for me was the mid-book reveal of who the murderer was. Bollinger, one of the cops was turned crooked into a life of crime and him and his *cough* special friend Billy, wanted to kill and rape women to a new world order.
Wind exploded into the room. It had the voice of a living creature; its screams were piercing, demonic. Snowflakes swirled around him, danced across the top of the conference table and melted on its polished surface, beaded like dew on the grass-green carpet.
I was expecting to see a bit more supernatural but there you have it, just run of the mill psychopaths getting together do to some chaos. At least the writing is full of the lovely metaphors and comparison Mr. Koontz is so good at. The tension is rising but due to the reveal, there isn’t a lot to do and guess as to who the killers are. The only part that creates the thriller aspect is the chase on the window-ledge of a high building, especially when Graham, ex alpinist, now has a fear of heights and can barely stand outside. His struggle doesn’t come from an unhinged dirty cop being after him but more from trying to get over his fear of heights to go help his lover who is in danger.
If he didn’t move, she would die. He would fail her utterly. She didn’t deserve that after the eighteen months she’d given him, eighteen months of tender care and saint-like understanding. She hadn’t once criticized him for whining, for his paranoia or his self-pity or his selfishness. She had put herself in emotional jeopardy that was no less terrifying than the physical risk demanded of him. He knew that mental anguish was every bit as painful as a broken leg. In return for those eighteen months, he had to make this climb for her. He owed her that much; hell, he owed her everything.
The book was an OK read. But there is definitely something I wanted to share. Bollinger in one of his flashbacks talks about a threesome he did with his murder partner Billy. I wanted to laugh so hard!
He watched himself moving in and out of the girl, then looked up and saw Billy staring at him. Staring intently. Eyes wide, electric. Eyes that weren’t entirely sane. Although he was frightened by it, he returned the stare—and was plunged into an hallucinogenic experience. He imagined he was rising out of his body, felt as if he were floating toward Billy. And as he floated, he shrank until he was so small he could tumble into those eyes. Knowing that it was an illusion in no way detracted from the impact of it; he could have sworn that he actually was sinking into Billy’s eyes, sinking down, down….His climax was considerably more than a biological function; it joined him to the whore on a physical level, but it also tied him to Billy on a much higher plane. He spurted deep into her vagina, and precisely at that moment Billy spilled seed into her mouth. In the throes of an intense orgasm, Bollinger had the odd notion that he and Billy had grown incredibly inside of the girl, had swelled and lengthened until they were touching at the center of her. Then he went one step further, lost all awareness of the woman; so far as he was concerned, he and Billy were the only people in the room. In his mind he saw them standing with the tips of their organs pressed together, ejaculating into each other’s penis. The image was powerful but strangely asexual. There was certainly nothing homosexual about it. Absolutely nothing. He wasn’t queer. He had no doubt about that. None at all. The imaginary act that preoccupied him was similar to the ritual by which members of certain American Indian tribes had once become blood brothers.