FACE, TheDean Koontz

Ex cop turned security chief to one of Hollywood’s famous stars, Ethan Truman, has been fielding a series of packages sent to his employer, actor Channing Manheim. All of them arrived anonymously, containing enigmatic and threatening items. To top it off, his childhood friend, who was in a coma for weeks, has died, but the body seemed to walk off. Literally. He’s had two incredibly real visions of his own death, and now he and Manheim’s 11-year-old son are being visited by the ghost of Truman’s dead friend. That, and there’s only three shopping days ’til Christmas.

Handled by anybody else, The Face would have been a muddled contrived mess. First off, at the core, The Face is a suspense thriller, with Truman on the trail of the mysterious stalker. Of course, since this is a Koontz novel, we have elements of the supernatural- the childhood friend brought back to life to act as a guardian angel to Truman, by forces that may or may not be aligned with good. Then you got the characters that spice the story- self-styled Anarchist and sociopath with the unfortunate name of Corky and a predilection for yellow rain slickers; Fric (snicker), the 11-year-old son of Channing Manheim with an adult sense of logic at odds with his young imagination; and Hazard, the 6-foot-7 cop friend of Truman who, if this is ever made into a movie, would hands down be played by Michael Clark Duncan.

Again, had anyone but Koontz written this book, it wouldn’t have flowed so seamlessly, and probably wouldn’t have the engaging characterization that held me. Highly recommended for anyone seeking something just a little askew of the norm…