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I really love to read but find buying books can be quite expensive and so I get most of my books from car boot sales. While browsing recently I found the book Hideaway by Dean Koontz and decided to give it a go. I had recently read the books Odd Thomas and Lightning by the same author and while they had not really been my thing they also hadn't been that bad plus hideaway was only 50p!
In case you have never heard of Dean Koontz before, he is a very popular author of fiction with many of his books being number 1 best sellers. Most people compare him rather unfavourably to Stephen King, but I would say whereas on the whole Stephen King writes horror, Dean Koontz writes thrillers with a touch of sci-fi, horror and mystery thrown in. Sometimes I feel that his books read more like crime novels with a touch of strangeness thrown in. A number of his books have been turned into films, but I cant say that I have seen many of them and in fact I think I have only seen one called Phantoms starring Ben Affleck (it was pretty rubbish, but seems to be on TV a lot!)
This review might contain a few minor spoilers
Hideaway tells the story of Hatch Harrison and his wife Lindsey. The story begins with the couple driving on a snowy night. Early on we can see that the couple have somewhat lost the will to live due to the death 5 years earlier of their young son Jimmy. As they are driving along they are involved in a serious accident Lindsey is injured but alive but unfortunately Hatch is killed, however due to the circumstances of his death (dying in a very cold river) Hatch is a candidate for Resuscitation. After being dead 80 minutes Hatch is resuscitated and his life begins again.
Due to their brush with death Hatch and Lindsey have a renewed sense of life and are happier together than they have been since their sons death, so happy in fact that they are planning to adopt a child. Unfortunately not everything is so perfect as Hatch starts having terrifying dreams of murder and mutilation and when these visions start seeping into his waking life, Hatch begins to wonder whether he is brain damaged or whether something more sinister is responsible, it seems Hatch did not come back from the afterlife alone.....
This book is written from the perspective of a number of different characters, but mainly from that of Hatch and Lindsey and whereas Koontz somewhat succeeds in making Lindsey a slightly interesting character he is not so successful with Hatch and he comes across as being a little blank with only occasional attempts at humour or emotion. Koontz also writes from the perspective of an evil character (trying not to give too much away) and I think he is successful as the character is quite spooky, though I would say that all the talk of mutilation and killing people becomes repetitive and sometimes you feel like just saying 'get on with it'.
I would say the book is quite predictable as every time something new happens you can easily see that it is a set-up for something else to happen later on. I know to some extent authors have to set things up early on so that the reader doesn't feel that things are just coming out of the blue, but I think the best authors manage this without the reader noticing too much. For example it becomes obvious very early on where the final showdown will be as there is so much information given about this location that it would be stupid for it not to be important later on.
Probably the only thing about this book which did surprise me was how quickly it finished, after reading around 425 pages of build up the conclusion was wrapped up in no more than a few pages. I was a little disappointed with this as I had imagined a bit of excitement and action and in the end it just felt a little rushed and as if the author had lacked a better idea of how to finish the book.
Overall I would say this book was an ok read and kept my interest much better than other Dean Koontz books, however if it was a toss up between me reading another Dean Koontz book and the worst Stephen King book I think I would probably choose the Stephen King book. This is because Stephen King adds much more realistic detail to his books and characters whereas in a book such as Hideaway you just barely care what happens to the characters. I wouldn't recommend this book to people as there are so many better books out there but at the same time I cant say that it is a bad book and if you are a fan of Dean Koontz or have never read any Stephen King before, you may find that it an enjoyable book.
I've read a few Dean Koontz novels before and really enjoyed his work, so I was looking forward to this when I came across it in Asda at the strangely bargain price of £1.
On the front we're told this is 'the international bestseller', and after reading the blurb on the back it sounded like a good read; dark, mysterious and a Koontz classic.
Hideaway probably fits into the horror genre, and, like most of his other books I've read (such as the Odd Thomas series), it has an air of otherworldlyness about it. I'm not usually a fan of storylines that cross the boundary of realism, but this is done is such a way as to be understated so it still feels realistic rather than being too far fetched.
The book throws us straight in the deep end as Hatch Harrison and his wife, Lindsey, are involved in a nasty car accident on an icy road. Both are transported to hospital, though it appears Hatch is unable to make it and Lindsey overhears the doctors say it's too late for her husband...
Obviously besides herself with grief, Lindsey is already gripped in depression following the death of her son to cancer shortly before. But something of a medical miracle happens as Hatch is taken to a special unit within the hospital dedicated to resuscitation methods. After a long and anxious procedure, Hatch is revived and literally brought back from the dead thanks to Jonas, a top doctor who has dedicated years to the new procedure.
With a new life in hand, the couple seize it with a whole new perspective. This is where darkness sets in again as a dual storyline regarding Vassago, a brutal serial killer who is hell-bent on pleasing the devil to earn himself a place on the other side with him, is played out.
Links between the two storylines unfold as it seems Hatch, who was one on the otherside, receives eerie premonitions. Hoping such visions are bad dreams and coincidences, or perhaps a medical phenomena, the couple strive to make the most of their second chance and adopt Regina, a very characteristic but disabled young girl. But the visions can't be ignored any longer, and soon enough Hatch finds himself drawn into another world, as does Vassago, as it appears the two are now inextricably linked.
We're kept guessing until the end as to what exactly is going on, and whether or not Hatch is able to act fast enough to stop the evil that is lurking under the surface.
Koontz really hasn't let his readers down with this book. It's beautifully written, almost poetically, with characters very well developed and easy to warm to (or despise, depending on the character in question!). Scenes are vivid and the plot is original and unique, and he is able to keep the darkness and suspense up right until the very end.
The 501 pages of the book are split into 3 main sections, each with their own chapters and divisions by dots, making it easy to read and follow the dual storyline.
A quote by the times on the book reads: 'Not just a master of our darkest dreams, but also a literary juggler'. I would definitely agree. Whilst the book is dark, it also has a glimmer of hope and drew out emotions well whilst I was reading it. As I've already said, it does have a twist that is otherworldly, but it's done in a realistic way, making it intriguing, interesting and addictive to read.
Highly recommended whether you've read any of Koontz's previous books or not. It's one that kept me reading until the end, fully immersed with the characters and plot.
The RRP is £7.99 but it's selling on Amazon for £5.95.
They made a film out of this book. That, I feel, is always a good sign that the book is worth reading. Read the book and ignore the film. No, wait, you must from the film -it is awful.
Hideaway is a masterpiece of modern occult style lore - demons and technology, medicine and fate. Koonz uses established techniques to keep the reader with the book once they've opened it; a tragic and horrific crash and then he very quickly slides comfortably into his wonderful writing elegance that makes it all but impossible to put the book back down. You will be finished reading in no time and when you do put the book down you'll shiver.
Things are wrong after the accident, for one; there is some killer on the loose and for two this cold-blooded murderer seems to have some sort of connection to the hero. The killer is a strong character, in the book he makes a superb anti-hero. Entire chapters are devoted to following his movements and not one of them is a waste of space.
Lindsey barely survives a car crash into an icy river. Hatch, her husband is actually pronounced dead for over sixty minutes. He is brought back to life by an experimental resuscitation. To everyone's amazement, he seems to make a complete recovery. However, his near-death experience has left him with disturbing visions of murder and violence that seem all too real. Is he linked to a being of murderous intent and is it all his own fault for cheating Death?
Dean Koontz writes either sublime page-turning thrillers or clichéd tripe. This is what comes of publishing several novels a year. Inevitably, many of them will be sub-standard and the quality will suffer. Unfortunately, "Hideaway" is a perfect example of this. This is largely because the plot has not even a small shred of credibility. Vital to the success of any supernatural thriller is a tight plot you can believe. "Hideaway" has a plot that is so tenuous that it is virtually impossible. Koontz suggests that Hatch is somehow inextricably linked to a half-demon murderer known as Vassago. However, the reason for this is never explored. There is no attempt made to explain the improbable linking of the two and in fact, the book's blurb seems to contradict the plot itself. The sleeve claims Hatch has brought a demon back with him due to his experience yet Koontz makes it clear throughout that the proclaimed demon has been on Earth for a number of years. He even hints that "Vassago" may not even be a demon at all; rather he is a maniac with delusions of grandeur. Such gaping plot holes make "Hideaway" an unconvincing and disjointed read at best.
The plot is not exactly propelled along either thanks to an almost complete lack of action. Koontz's characters are all so apathetic to the events going on around them that it is hard to care what happens to them. Even the murderer and his victims seem completely uninterested as the story ambles along. Characters have no depth, which means I cannot share an empathy with their plights while settings have no originality. From the dank, dark fun house to the jaded Private Detective, this a book of cliché and Koontz is clearly churning to a "thriller by numbers" formula.
Koontz's writing, usually full of rich, vivid imagery and atmosphere is devoid of any passion, flow or direction. Dialogue is stunted and this results in no reason to keep reading. Add to this a complete lack of pace and even in the hit and miss world of Dean Koontz this is a poor effort. Pick it up in a charity shop, read the first page and the last. Reading anything in-between would be a complete waste of your time.
N.B First published on www.thebookbag.co.uk
Hideously deformed and decomposing bodies, a Lazarus-like return from the dead and a race against time to save a girl?s life. What more could you ask for from a horror novel? PLOT Lindsey and Hatch are driving along a snowy dark country road. Hatch?s driving is cautious and efficient but even his skills cannot save them from the blockage caused by a jack-knifed lorry. Their car falls into a ravine where their struggle for life begins. Lindsey is saved but Hatch dies before help reaches them. However, Dr Jonas Nyeburn has been working in the field of reanimation for many years and that night he and his team succeed in bringing Hatch back from the dead (all 80 minutes of it). The couple?s life should now be on the up, as they succeed in adopting a ten-year-old disabled girl called Regina. However, people who have wronged the couple begin to be murdered and Hatch finds that he has developed a psychic link with the murderer. He soon realises that the psychopathic man will be hunting down him and his family. STYLE This novel certainly succeeds in gripping the reader?s attention. From the opening pages your mind tingles with anticipation at the prospect of excitement and tension, which Koontz swiftly delivers in the opening scenes. Once Hatch has endured his deadly experience the layout of the novel changes as he discovers and develops his psychic link with the murderer. The book is then laid out in short chapters, often alternating between the experiences and thoughts of first Hatch and then the killer. This technique emphasises how intrusive this disturbed mind is becoming upon Hatch?s own world and clearly illustrates how the killer can inadvertently discover information about the family through this mental connection. The juxtaposition of the chapters also provides a contrast between the good, normal personality of Hatch and the damaged, evil persona of the murderer. PERSONALI
TY GOES A LONG WAY We are given sufficient background information on Hatch and Lindsey to be able to understand the type of people they are and their motivations. They had a young son who died of cancer. It was hard for them to put this behind them but it makes them all the more loyal and determined parents to their adopted daughter and it is clear that they will risk everything to protect her. Koontz goes further to give us an insight into the personality of the killer. There is seemingly an imbalance in the background depth provided between the heroes and the villain. However, the heroes are normal everyday people with the same thought processes and value systems as us. They are easy to empathise with and it is the psychotic killer, who seems to have no conscience, no genuine feelings of love, compassion or friendship who is harder to understand and, therefore, requires further explanation as to how he has developed and grown to be as he is. Koontz describes the killer?s first murder done at the tender age of twelve when he kills his own best friend. The killer cannot feel true love, friendship etc and believes that those who do are just pretending, that all these emotions are just weapons or tools to be used to get what you want from someone and those who show signs of loving or camaraderie are just very weak and have fooled themselves into believing these emotional lies. Koontz?s descriptions of the killer?s past help us to understand how he has developed as he has and why he is motivated to murder now. We are, therefore, more able to anticipate his reactions to situations and when he kidnaps Regina we know that she really is in mortal danger. HIDEAWAY The murderer lives under an abandoned funhouse, which was the scene of his first killings years before. It is dark there, to protect his sensitive eyes, which he believes can only stand the dim light of Hell. There he has constructed a grisly collectio
n of art. This collection consists of murdered men and women, each then positioned in a way apt to reflect their weaknesses; a religious woman?s cadaver is positioned in a kneeling position holding a crucifix but with her head removed from her body and re-sewn on backwards to represent her turning from Christ. More than a gruesome gallery this funhouse is the killer?s hideaway. A hideaway from human emotions, a hideaway from the despicable living world, a hideaway from all that is abhorrent to him. However, he is not the only character in the book to have found a hideaway. When Regina has been kidnapped by the murderer she is put through an horrendous ordeal and the only way she can deal with it is to retreat into her own hideaway. This place she has developed as a protection from the harsh realities of world, from her fear of rejection, from the cruelties of life. Regina?s hideaway is deep inside her mind. There she has a secret room, which only she can access. There she is happy, she is loved and she has a bedroom with painted flowers on her wooden bed, as only a truly loved and wanted child would. It is to this mental hideaway that she escapes while she is in the clutches of the murderer. The killer cannot follow her to her hideaway and there she is always safe. RUBBER KNICKER TIME Koontz has once more succeeded in producing an exciting, gripping novel. When I had got to the end of the 400 page novel I was not ready to stop! I wanted the pages to continue with the enthralling story of this twisted killer, this kind couple and the little girl who deserves love. The actions of the killer are fascinating and seem all the more appalling as we are able to glimpse into his mind and be close to his movements through Hatch?s psychic link. Koontz has come up trumps again and this book will have pride of place on my shelves and I wouldn?t dream of hiding it away!
This is the first Dean Koontz novel I've ever read and I'm pleased I did so. I had avoided them because I thought they would be trashy and really gory - the same reason that I originally avoided Stephen King novels for many years. I'm now an avid King reader and I think this novel may make me an avid Koontz reader too. The story involves a man who is brought back from the dead who then starts having odd visions. The great thing about the novel though is how Koontz makes you care for his characters. If you've avoided Koontz for the same reason I have, then change your mind now and READ!
Resuscitated after a near fatal accident, Hatch Harrison fears his near-death experience may have had some sinister effect when people who have wronged him begin to die violently.