Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Ashley Bell - Dean Koontz

Bibi Blair is a writer, a surfer, an adventurer, a fiancee, a daughter, a friend - and a young woman diagnosed with an incurable form of brain cancer. Given a year to live by her doctor, she replies "We'll see."

Bibi is the main character in Dean Koontz's newly released novel, Ashley Bell.

I was a big fan of Dean Koontz's back in the eighties, when I enjoyed a good horror story. I let some years pass before I picked up another of his titles - the first Odd Thomas. And it's been a few more years again. I was intrigued by the marketing campaign for this newest novel. 'Who is Ashley Bell?' That's what Bibi needs do - find Ashley Bell, save her - and her cancer will be cured.

Koontz is a skilled and imaginative author. His stories are inventive and ask the reader to pay close attention. And you must in Ashley Bell, for nothing is as it seems. The past and the present mix and meld and the reader is never quite sure what is truth and what is fiction. Each new chapter brings a twist to Bibi's search for Ashley Bell.  I did have to put the book down a few times - I felt overwhelmed by the numerous descriptive passages and some lengthy diatribes. But I picked it up again as I wanted to see the search for Ashley Bell through to the end. (Although I felt a bit let down by the final pages.

Koontz's use of slithering sounds, fleeting glimpses and things that go bump in the night are just as, if not more than, frightening than full on, fully viewed terrors. (I'm a little afraid of my Scrabble board now) And it wouldn't be a Dean Koontz book without a golden retriever in it - Olaf in this case

Although it was a good read, I don't think it quite met the publisher's description as 'The Must Read Thriller of the Year." Read an excerpt of Ashley Bell. You can connect with Dean Koontz on his website, find him on Twitter as well as on Facebook.

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