The Face
Dean Koontz
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Buy *The Face* online

The Face
Dean Koontz
688 pages
April 2004
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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The author of numerous bestsellers including Intensity, Sole Survivor and, my favorite, Watchers, Dean Koontz has long been known as a master of chilling storytelling. Although his books are most often classified as horror, those who know and love Koontz’s work know that his books are much more than just horror. They are a blend of mystery, deep characters, unmatched plots and usually a touch of other-worldly phenomena. It has been said that Koontz books actually defy genre and that they can simply be called "Koontzes".

The Face, one of Koontz’s most recent novels, certainly falls into the above description. On the surface, it is the story of a famous movie star, known by his adoring fans as "The Face," and the crazy maniac who wants to make his life hell by kidnapping his vulnerable son. However, once you look closer, you realize that The Face is about much more.

Ethan Truman has worked for The Face since his life lost meaning when his beloved wife died of cancer. A former cop, Ethan works as The Face’s head of security and has become close to the star’s son, Aelfric. When strange packages start arriving for The Face, Ethan becomes concerned that someone may be plotting to harm the billionaire. As he struggles to figure out the mystery the packages present, he is given the news that his best friend from childhood, Dunny Whistler, has succumbed to the coma he has been in. Although Ethan and Dunny have not been friends for years, since Dunny chose a life of crime, Ethan has been named the executor of his estate. However, when he goes to see him in the morgue, the body has mysteriously disappeared.

As Ethan receives numerous surprises from his supposedly dead friend, a madman creates chaos wherever he goes. Embittered literature professor Vladimir "Corky" Laputa has found a way to bring about the mayhem he so desires—by infiltrating The Face’s mansion and committing an unspeakable crime. He and Ethan are on a collision course that will almost surely result in Ethan’s death…until he gets a little help from the beyond.

The Face is not just a story of cat and mouse. It’s a story of surviving great grief, of the lonely life of a superstar’s child, of the hope and joy that can sometimes arise out of ashes. With luminous characters, fast-paced storytelling and the writing style that is signature Koontz, The Face will keep you up all night reading and leave you affected days after you’ve turned the last page.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Angela McQuay, 2004

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