Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Mystery Book Review: The Husband by Dean Koontz

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of The Husband by Dean Koontz. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.The Husband by Dean Koontz

The Husband by Dean Koontz
Bantam (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-553-80479-0 (0553804790)
ISBN-13: 978-0-553-80479-9 (9780553804799)
Publication Date: May 2006
List Price: $27.00

Synopsis (from the publisher): What would you do for love? Would you die? Would you kill?

We have your wife. You can get her back for two million cash. Landscaper Mitchell Rafferty thinks it must be some kind of joke. He was in the middle of planting impatiens in the yard of one of his clients when his cell phone rang. Now he’s standing in a normal suburban neighborhood on a bright summer day, having a phone conversation out of his darkest nightmare.

Whoever is on the other end of the line is dead serious. He has Mitch’s wife and he’s named the price for her safe return. The caller doesn’t care that Mitch runs a small two-man landscaping operation and has no way of raising such a vast sum. He’s confident that Mitch will find a way.

If he loves his wife enough... Mitch does love her enough. He loves her more than life itself. He’s got seventy-two hours to prove it. He has to find the two million by then. But he’ll pay a lot more. He’ll pay anything.

Review: In The Husband, Dean Koontz's latest thriller, the tension slowly but inexorably builds throughout the story that at any given point one wonders how much further it can be taken. Though tempting to read in one sitting, Koontz divides The Husband into three manageable parts, giving the reader an opportunity to pause and catch their breath before continuing.

What would you do for love? Mitch Rafferty, a man of limited financial means, is thrown into a surreal world when he receives a phone call telling him that Holly, his wife, has been kidnapped, and demanding $2 million for her safe return. To indicate how serious his callers are, and as an illustration of their omnipresence, a stranger walking down the street near to where Mitch is standing is shot to death.

Would you die for love? Would you kill? There are a number of unexpected turns along the path Mitch takes in following the demands of his wife's kidnappers. The strength he finds to deal in real time with his increasingly complex situation is derived from a combination of his devotion to his wife and his determination to get her back unharmed.

Until death us do part. Holly plays a more prominent role in this final section, with the narrative alternating between Mitch's and her point of view. Koontz maintains a high level of suspense by allowing Holly to be as deceptively clever in dealing with her kidnappers as they have been with Mitch.

The Husband leaves a few plot threads loose at the end, but hits so close to home (could this possibly happen to me?) that its images will haunt the reader long after the last page has been read.

Special thanks to FSB Associates for providing a copy of The Husband for this review.

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