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From the Corner of His Eye - Dean Koontz

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Author: Dean Koontz / Genre: Crime / Thriller

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    8 Reviews
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      08.12.2002 11:28

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      WOW - Advantages: Fascinating reading - Disadvantages: Over too soon

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      25.07.2002 22:42
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      Unfortunately it is a sad day when the realisation occurs to a reader that occasionally writers tend to sell out to the markets and the commercialists. Dean Koontz is a writer who through his past work has managed to catch my eye with his implicative writing techniques and imaginative plots. However, with Corner Of His Eye, it feels as though, through a lack of both effort and creativity he has managed to churn out a novel which disgraces both him as a writer and the style of literature which he adopts. The characters, which Dean Koontz has decided to progress and develop, are weak and shady. The notorious Bartholomew who is listed in the preface bares little or no relevance to the text at hand. Apart from a brief inclusion in the dying moments of this ghastly piece of literature, Bartholomew is nothing more than a shadowed and unpredictable name to the reader. Throughout, he bares neither emotion nor intelligence; this was perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Dean Koontz Corner Of His Eye. The plot is either very complex or absolutely ridiculous, a joke and an excuse to bare a backdrop for weakly developed characters to institute. Sorry Dean Koontz, but I opt for the later. It appears that the beginning of the novel and its conclusion are two separate artefacts. It is difficult for the reader to make heads or tale of the plot and the characters that inhabit it. Koontz chosen style of literature does the novel no favours; the only thing flowery in his choice of words is a lack of restraint. The story churns on and on yet it bears no relevance to the reader or the questionable knowledge Koontz is attempting to establish. The tale is encrypted with relevance to Junior Cain. His exploit as a confused and bewildered man enraptures the reader’s imagination but only for a while. Although Koontz has created a believable psychological manifestation in Junior Cain he has not been able to sustain his complex character. The plot is a web o
      f sub plots, which shall confuse and frustrate the reader. Although the initial idea of a man (Junior Cain) who is unable to control his violent interactions with people (he kill his wife Naomi) and becomes physically sick at his murderous intentions is interesting, you can’t help but feel that Koontz is trying to do to much with the pages within Corner Of His Eye. After this idea, Koontz introduces Vanadium, similar to Bartholomew in that he is another shall and irrelevant character, his purpose is to track Junior Cain and suspend his murderous intentions. Then there is a mysterious woman, raped by Cain, she bore his child and Vanadium seems to have some connection to this woman which the reader is never able to appreciate due to Koontz rushed and unintelligence dialogue. In saying this, there are some positive points. Koontz does manage to present some powerful images. For instance, after the murder of Naomi, Cain is so physically sick that he is hospitalised, the reader is puzzled but intrigued by this complex character, of course, this doesn’t last and Koontz rushes, happily exchanging detail and professional literature for a quick fix. Corner Of His Eye is a weak novel, which almost caught my imagination with an initial brave and creative start but through the hesitation of Koontz literature, allowed me to slip through its novels fingers. Unfortunately, although I admire Koontz as both a writer and a figurehead, even I cannot applaud or even accept such nonsense, which is Corner Of His Eye.

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        19.01.2002 20:37
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        My first experience of Dean R koontz was reading the superb "Watchers". The version I bought cost £3.50 and was published in 1987. Since then he’s been part of a special set of writers that I’ve sworn by over the years. From this particular genre, this includes Steven King, James Herbert, Richard Laymon and the outstanding genius that is Clive Barker. In his own words "Dean Koontz was born into a very poor family and learned early on to escape into fiction – though books were scorned by his parents as a waste of time...He now lives in California with his wife, Gerda. Between writing his novels he enjoys interior decorating, collecting art glass and, of course, writing." Why have his books been so popular over the years? Well, he writes extremely well and tells a great story. I personally don’t think that he’s ever bettered "Watchers" which was made into a pretty reasonable movie. DK writes in a style that tempts you into reading the next chapter. He’ll often leave the chapter ending in a way that the book becomes difficult to put down which has it’s downside along with the usual result that you rattle through the read at a rate of knots. DK has his critics. From time to time he’s been accused of writing to formula and this is understandable on occasions. He often centres the story around a rampant psychopath who often doubles as a sociopath as well. The main characters should really rumble what’s going on earlier but often appear a little slow and find out too late but still in time to sort the villain. So what of "From The Corner Of His Eye"? Well. It’s a big book – 820 pages, in fact. Guess what? Yes, it centres around a psychopath who is also a sociopath. In this case, it’s Junior Cain. Junior’s real name is Enoch and, by profession, he is a physical therapist but due to a tragic childhood, he’s somewhat unbalanced
        . He draws a lot of inspiration from the works of Caesar Zedd, which promote self-confidence. Cain suffers from the delusion that he is profoundly attractive to all women and this is compounded by his pre-occupation with the Arts and fine works. His background is unfurled to reveal a psychotic individual who murdered his father and is prone to random, violent outbursts that can result in the ultimate sanction. Initially, Cain is married to Naomi. Early on in the book he murders her and through typical self-mutilation ends up in hospital. The police are suspicious but, eventually, Cain gets away with it and even gets awarded a huge lawsuit in a typically litigious set of circumstances that could only happen in the States. One of the investigating police officers – Thomas Vanadium – simply doesn’t believe Cain’s story and decides to stick around to see if he makes a mistake. This becomes an important aspect of the story, especially the pre-occupation with dimes that grows in eminence as the story builds. Two births combine to provide the axis around which the rest of the story revolves. Agnes Lampion is pregnant and gives birth to the child prodigy – Bartholomew Lampion. In the process, her husband Joey dies in a car accident that they are both involved with on the way to the hospital. Meanwhile, Seraphim White gives birth to Angel White. Sadly, Seraphim dies soon after giving birth and her sister, Celestina White adopts the child. Celestine is a brilliant artist desperate to establish a successful career through her paintings. Angel turns into an "apple pie sweet as sky girl" who’s name was insisted upon by her dying mother. Whilst in hospital, Cain dreams of a child called Bartholomew. This arouses a huge sense of guilt and fear in Cain and he makes it his mission to find and destroy the child called Bart. There is a sinister connection between Cain and one of the children but I’ll stop t
        here so as to not to spoil the plot. The rest of the story is about Cain’s desire to find the child but the path he chooses takes him on a course towards the wrong one. Sounds straightforward but Koontz introduces a supernatural angle in that Bart is no ordinary child. He suffers from cancer, which leads to the removal of both his eyes at the age of 3. Koontz builds an emotional sub plot that is very moving. The phase of the book that describes the build up to and the aftermath of Bart's operation brings a tear to the eye and is handled sensitively. As Bart’s prodigy becomes more obvious it seems that he has a very special ability from which the title of the book is drawn and provides the rationale for its conclusion. There is also a link between Bart and Thomas Vanadium, which is revealed later on in the story. Koontz develops the characters in a very, detailed and painstaking manner. His attention to detail is immaculate and you can imagine the profile cards sitting in his index box as you progress through the book. Like all successful authors, he creates an empathy between the characters and the reader that lure you into to his latest spell. As ever, DK writes in his fluent style although, on this occasion, I found the early stages of the book less pacey than normal. Koontz lacks the macabre machinations of King or the prevalent panache of Herbert but he probably doesn't care. He's sold millions of books over the years and has established himself as one of the Grandmasters of his genre (along with a few million dollars). This book is recommended as a very tangled web that’s weaved in a typically entertaining Koontz yarn. Downside, it left me feeling, once again, that DK could have made more of this and, in particular, the conclusion (care taken not to give you too many clues as to how it ends). I’m still stuck with liking "Watchers" more than anything else DK’s ever writte
        n and I’m still waiting for him to surpass it. The book is available at the usual outlets e.g. Amazon.com. My copy cost £6.99 and has IBSN 0-7472-6680-8. More info is available at deenkoontz.com which has details of his latest offering ~ "One Door Away From Heaven" Marandina

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          21.12.2001 18:52
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          I read a really good opinion on dooyoo which basically said that this book was not worth the paper it was printed on. Now usually I tend to follow this sort of advice, so when somebody says a book really is not worth reading then I won`t read it. This time though I just had to test it myself as I`m a huge fan of Dean Koontz, having read every single one of his books, and sometimes reading some of them a second time, I`ve not been disappointed by any of them. I have to say I wasn`t disappointed by this one either. It is rather a long story covering all of 819 pages, but as usual the writing style of Mr Koontz kept me gripped throughout. Because of the way it`s written, it`s not the sort of book you can start reading then pick up and carry on two weeks later. The story centres around several peoples lives and will keep jumping from one person`s story to the next, so unless you follow it closely you`ll forget what`s happened in the last chapter. However I love this type of writing style because it will leave one person`s life with something gripping about to happen, then move onto the life of somebody different, making you read really fast till the story gets back to the previous person and you can pick up where you left off. What makes this book even better in my opinion though, is that you don`t find out how each of the characters are linked to one another until fairly close to the end. With a story like this you are forever tring to figure out the link yourself as you`re reading, and with some books this is quite an easy task but with this one it is not. The title, `From the corner of his eye`, is actually taken from a paragraph about 3/4 of the way through the book. The main character of the book is Bartholomew Lampion, known by everyone as Barty. An exceptionally clever little boy whose sight is suddenly taken away from him by cancer. Although I wouldn`t really describe the story as a true horror one, the tale of little
          barty`s rise from baby to child is more fantasy, as he doesn`t exactly follow the norm as far as child development goes. The next main character worth mentioning is Junior Cain, a physiotherapist and part-time psycopath, this soon turns around though as he promotes himself to full-time psycopath. Mr Cain enters the story by killing his wife and putting himself in hospital as a result. I won`t reveal what exactly he ends up in hospital for, but for this part and the parts of MR Cain`s other illnesses the writing does get pretty descriptive, and not nice descriptive either. While in hospital Junior dreams of the name Bartholomew, from this and other events he comes to the conclusion that Bartholomew must be the child that resulted from him raping one of his physio patients, and makes it his purpose to find this child and destroy him. Junior however has jumped to the wrong conclusion, this part is made clear from fairly early on so I`m not giving the game away. Although the rape did produce a child, the baby in question was female, and as with other parts of the story, you won`t find out how Barty and the baby girl are linked until quite close to the end of the book. Junior`s hunt for destruction is also hampered by the apparent haunting of a police officer named Vanadium who he thought he had killed. Vanadium is also connected to Barty, although he doesn`t realise this until he meets Paul Damascus in sad circumstances. Tom Vanadium also has a special gift, but up until now he though he was the only one who possessed anything like it. After the death of his beloved Perri all Paul could do was walk. Up to a point of no return, Paul`s walking had never had a destination in mind until he thought back to the letter he had written to Harrison White regarding Agnes Lampion. Agnes Lampion, known as Barty`s mother but known by even more as the pie lady, was a magnificent woman. Not because of her son or because she had an
          y strange powers, but because the size of her heart and the kindness she spread to the more unfortunate made her very special to a lot of people. Even Agnes only knew a part of the incredible gift that Barty had been given, despite the fact that what she knew already was more than she could undestand fully herself. Along came an angel, a little girl named angel that has more meaning to her name than even her own mother realises. Born through the most violent of circumstances, she was the sweetest girl who looked as though she was going to follow closely in Celestina`s footsteps. Celestina isn`t the girl`s natural mother but as close as anyone could be. Just at the start of a promising career as an artist, Celestina`s world suddenly starts collapsing around her with more devastation that surely one man can`t produce on his own. This is the point where Cain thinks his bad luck is about to end, but even he can`t know that it`s only just beginning and it`s going to get worse, a lot worse. Some people prefer a story to be direct and short, but I love Dean Koontz`s long winded approach to writing. The way he goes into great detail about all the characters and the landscapes really gives you an insight into all the people in his novels and all the places that they visit, it`s much easier to imagine that you`re there and really get into the story. This book is no exception to the case, I could almost picture Barty as though he were stood in front of me, and couldn`t wait to find out what happened to him next and what effect he had upon the people that he met. The detailed descriptions of Cain and his obsessions, strengths and weaknesses are what add an edge to the story, just when you think you`ve got him sussed he goes one step further to prove that he`s totally evil. As good as I usually am at guessing the ending to a story, and most story ending are fairly predictable, this one I definitely wasn`t expecting as it was
          extemely out of the ordinary. I`ve only described to you a small section from this brilliant novel, as to tell you more would spoil the magical moments, and there are some truly magical moments. Follow Barty`s life closely for you`ll never know what to expect next. You can pick up this exceptional book from most major book stores priced £6.99. Don`t worry I haven`t just compromised my tightarse reputation as I got it with my ipoints so it didn`t cost me a penny. ISBN: 0-7472-6680-8 Ps. Unless you`ve read the book you won`t understand the title, so don`t waste time trying to figure it out ;0)

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            11.11.2001 17:29
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            Usually, when I write a book review here, it is because I have loved the book enough to want to share the experience with others and, hopefully, encourage them to open its covers and enjoy it themselves. Today, however, I am hoping to achieve the opposite effect. Everything about From the Corner of His Eye is so unmitigatingly dreadful, that if I can persuade even one of you not to come within a mile of this God-foresaken tome then I will consider it worth it. At the risk of totally digressing from the book and boring you witless in the process, I feel it is pertinent to mention that I usually like Dean Koontz, I appreciate his easy style, simple-yet-effect plots and his ability to churn out pretty enjoyable works at an alarming rate. Corner of His Eye, however, is nothing more than tosh. So what exactly is wrong with this book? Let's start with the plot. If you glance at the description at the top of the page you will see the character Bartholomew Lampion is mentioned, and his blindness. Would you be surprised to learn then, that Bartholomew (Barty) doesn't, in fact, appear, except for an initial mention, until the last quarter of the book? I certainly was, in fact the first part of the novel seems to have little connection with the latter pages, save for the fact that Koontz is trying (very trying) to take us into the realms of chaos theory for beginners. Frankly, I think it is a very bad sign when even the marketing men and dust-cover writers can't precis the plot, it really doesn't bode well and the mention of the seagull just puts me in mind of Eric Cantona. In fact the similarity doesn't end there, in that Cantona's 'trawler' speech probably made more sense than this book. I will try and tell you a bit about the plot, but it is so unwieldy and improbable that I know I'm not going to do it very well, however, I just know you aren't going to take my word for it otherwise. So here we go.
            The story really begins with Junior Cain (deliberate name choice? Probably) and his recently-wedded wife, Naomi, embarking on an innocent picnic in the woods. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when Junior kills her in the spur of the moment and we discover that he is, in fact, not a very nice man at all. This is the part I hate Koontz for the most. This novel actually begins quite well, so you find yourself drawn in to the storyline as Junior, totally unaware of his psychopathic nature can't understand why each of his murderous acts result in a physical and torturous manifestation of his guilt. For example, following his wife's murder he throws up so much he is hospitalised. So far so horror/thriller, and when a slightly other-worldly detective - he can, apparently, make coins disappear into thin air - Vanadium, sees through Junior's profession of sorrow and begins to make it his life's quest to catch him, the reader is hooked. What a shame Koontz didn't just stick to that tale. But no, every action has an equal and opposite reaction dontcha know? So we must also follow the plot line of the woman who bore Junior's child after he raped her, with whom Vanadium has a tenuous link, and about seven other plot lines, each more fantastical than the next but which Koontz would have us believe are all linked in the great big interconnectedness of all things. Now, I'm not a scientist, but even I found Koontz's argument laughable. He is supposedly creating a world of coincidence, but what he gives us is nothing more than contrivance. Half way through I was desperate to stop reading, but I just 'had' to know what Barty had to do with all this.... and then he arrived, in typical Koontz child-prodigy form - and with him comes a whole lot of other hokum regarding parallel universes. Have I lost you? Consider yourself lucky, this is only a fraction of the dreadfulness which you will experience if
            you try to follow Koontz's train of thought, and I should know, because I persevered with this to the very last predictable, schmaltzy page. Even the characters, allegedly some of the most 'unforgettable' he has ever written, are so numerous that you keep forgetting who is who and who is connected to whom, so much, in fact, that after a while you cease to care. I rather think Koontz ceased to care too, because once Barty arrives the book seems to totally run out of steam. According to the rest of the dust jacket Koontz is 'venturing far beyond traditional boundaries', Well, they got that right, providing their definition of traditional boudaries involve such heinous crimes as plausible story and sensible plot development. Koontz is trying to be profound, certainly, and, I think, trying to say to us, 'hey guys, be nice to each other and especially the children, won't you? Cos it's a crazy world out there.' Oh, that he had felt able to achieve that sentiment in less than 700 pages. If you see this book on the shelves and it catches the corner of your eye, I beg you, turn away. Bookends Don't believe me? Still wish to go ahead with the folly of buying this damn thing? Oh well, if you really must - and don't say I didn't warn you - you can bore yourself witless for 5.59 if you buy this at Amazon. I, foolishly, acquired the hardback, but at least I can use it as a doorstop.

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              20.09.2001 04:50
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              I've been a fan of Dean Koontz for some time and bought this book to read on holiday. However, it never got there, I made the mistake of reading a few pages about a week before we left and by the end of the week the book was finished. Koontz has always had a knack for producing good characters, and the ones in this book are knockouts. The blurb on the book jacket makes you think that it is all about a boy named Barty, but in truth he doesn't really have much to do with the main narrative until quite late in the book. The majority of what comes before is concerned with the doings of a psychopath (who doesn't realise that he is one), and his torment at the hands of the detective hunting him (in almost supernatural fashion). Around these people, several plot strands - which appear unconnected but turn out to all link together - are woven. In the greatest tradition of thrillers, the story keeps you turning the pages even when you want to put the book down, but the real surprise comes at the end. It isn't giving anything away - really - to say that in fact this novel is a treatise on quantum mechanics cleverly disguised as a thriller, quite educational really!

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                18.09.2001 05:49
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                Bartholomew Lampion was blinded at the age of three, after doctors removed his eyes to save him from cancer. However, at thirteen, he becomes able to see again. A roller coaster and a seagull both have something to do with this miracle, as does Barty’s desire to make his mother proud of him before she dies. The odd thing is that she has already died once – the day Barty was born. The cover blurb for this novel is certainly one of the most interesting blurbs I have seen in a long time and it goes hand in hand with this novel, which is very different from anything Koontz has written before. Recently, the author has come under fire for formulaic elements in his novels – for example, the consistent use of the words ‘chuff’, ‘bougainvillaea’, ‘blacktop’ and ‘Coors beer’. In this novel, these words disappear from sigh (apart from ‘blacktop’). In addition, dogs normally play a huge role in his novels and here, a golden retriever makes only a tiny appearance. He also does not quote from ‘The Book Of Counted Sorrows’, something quite astonishing. His characters are superb. His villain is one of the nastiest he has created simply due to the fact he cannot see himself for what he really is. He views himself as a normal person who is inflicted with problems through no fault of his own. In reality, he is a crazed killer and this makes him a monster far nastier than anything Koontz has created from a genetic engineering project, for example. Koontz also gives some startling main characters – Edom and Jacob, Agnes, Barty and many more. They are deep, with a multitude of sides to them and the reader will undergo a variety of emotions as they read about their adventures. Koontz starts with numerous plot strands that he eventually weaves seamlessly together to link the whole plot. This is done with skill and it shows that Koontz is once again at the top of his
                craft. The book is long, but it does not drag and unlike his previous novel, ‘False Memory’, the plot moves along very quickly. Dean Koontz is normally known for his masterpieces of ‘Watchers’, ‘Lightning’ and to a lesser extent, the Moonlight Bay novels. However, with ‘From The Corner Of His Eye’, he has excelled himself. The novel is excellent and may well be his best to date. If he can continue to produce novels of this calibre, he will be riding the best-seller charts for years to come. His fans will adore it and no true fan can go without reading it.

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                  26.07.2001 08:58
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                  This is a truly scary but heart-warming story of a little boy named Barty and his mother who have no idea that from the day he is born evil is out there searching for him. Barty is a very special little boy. He can read by the age of 2. He can walk in the rain without getting wet. He can walk in the places where the rain isn’t. His mother loves him dearly. She first died on the day he was born. At the age of 3 he is blinded when doctors find that he has tumours behind both eyes and remove his eyes to save his life. Junior Cain is not what he seems to be. He loves his wife, the beautiful Naomi, then he kills her to see if he will be upset by her death. Now he’s haunted and hunted by a very special detective named Vanadium. After a dream he can’t even remember he goes in search of Bartholomew. Seraphim White is the 16-year-old girl Junior Cain raped and left her pregnant with his child. Her father is a Baptist minister; there’s no way she wants to tell him that she’s pregnant so she hides under baggy jumpers and corsets until she goes into labour, the same day that Barty is born. Will Cain find Barty? What happens to Seraphim and her baby? Read it and find out. This book is not what I expected at all Koontz can twist a tale into directions you’d never dream of. I totally fell in love with Barty he’s such a sweet wee thing and he never lets anything get him down

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                  At the age of three, to stop a fast-spreading cancer, Barty had his eyes removed. At the age of 13 his sight returned, all due to a rollercoaster and a seagull. Barty's desire to make his mother proud of him before she died can't be discounted; the first time she died was the day Barty was born.