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The Good Guy - Dean Koontz

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Author: Dean Koontz / Genre: Crime / Thriller

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    8 Reviews
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      14.01.2010 14:48
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      Entertaining nonsense that you wont put down once you pick it up

      I have to admit that I like Dean Koontz. He isn't intricate or even overly-articulate, but his books are simple enough and well enough written to capture my attention and keep a grip on it for untold hours. I first discovered him a few years ago when I real his "By the light of the moon", and have since kept him on my list of must-reads. It helps that he keeps the characters to a minimum and focuses on a small amount of relationships.

      In this book, Tim Carrier is perched upon his favourite bar-stool, chewing the cud with his old pal and bar owner Liam Rooney. Purely by accident, somebody walks in and hands Tim an envelope stuffed full of money and a picture of a woman, mistaking him for a hit-man. Subsequently, the rightful receiver of the envelope arrives to pick it up, and in a double whammy, mistakes Tim for the person who he has to pick the envelope up from. By now, it has become apparent to Tim that the woman in the picture is in grave danger.

      Without uttering a word to his friend, Tim sets about locating the woman, who looks likely to be the victim of a hit. When he finally locates her, she seems not to know the reason why she is under attack, but agrees to run with Tim anyway. On the run, they are pursued on an almost unholy level by the hitman who Tim first met in the bar, and find that no matter how hard they run, he is just around the corner and hot on their tail. As time goes on though, Tim begins to wonder exactly why his new companion is under attack.

      I could not put this book down. From the very outset, it is incredibly well written and beautifully detailed. Koontz not only creates his characters, but he creates a detailed world for them to exist in, whether they are on the road, or hiding in a coffee house. He also creates great tension (sometimes of a sexual nature) between his characters. Why his books are so tight is purely down to the fact that he doesn't batter us over the head with masses of unneccessary information, and makes his tales about 2 or 3 characters with only an occasional diversion from that.

      In this book in particular, the main two character's sizzle together, but they also have an unabiding loyalty to the few people in their lives and who they interact with. Although it sometimes gears towards the predictable, even insane, the book gives its tough characters enough credibility that we are not gasping at its stupidity all the way through. Its not often that a book gives enough character to its baddie as well, but Koontz takes great pleasure in creating an OCD-righteous character in Krait that he believes he is beyond humanity and has the absolute god given right to do his work.

      This book was published on paperback in January 2008 by Harper. The dimensions of the paperback are 17.6 x 11.2 x 3.4 cm. Running in at a fairly swift 448 pages, it will seem less by the time you've raced through it. You can buy from amazon for £5.49 brand new, but can also get from just a penny if you buy it used, which is sometimes worthwhile if you aren't planning on adding it to your library.

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        29.09.2009 14:18
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        Recommended

        I've had this book for a couple of years now and I think I've read it three times. Some of Dean Koontz's books are well worth keeping and reading again when you've forgotten lots of the plot and this is one of them in my opinion.

        Tim Carrier is a stone mason who lives a quiet life, he does his job and has a couple of beers in the pub then goes home. One night while having his first beer he gets mistaken for a hitman but doesn't realise it until it's too late. He is left with an envelope containing a photo of a woman called Linda Parquette and ten thousand dollars. When the real hitman arrives he gives him the money and tells him he's changed his mind about the job than takes the photo to the woman to warn her. Naturally the hit is still on and Tim has to persuade the target she is going to die if she doesn't run. Why does anyone want Linda Parquette dead and will Tim and Linda be able to outrun the killer Krait long enough to find out?

        Firstly I have to say the initial scene where Tim is mistaken for a hitman is fairly loose, he likes engaging strangers in odd conversations and I always think when I read it that if it was me I would be leaving the bar during that conversation thinking "what a looney tune" but as Tim is a big bear of a guy and perfectly able to look after himself I suppose he would react differently. Later on when we find out more about Tim it becomes clearer.

        Secondly the fact he tries to stop the hit and goes to Linda to warn her then goes on the run with her initially seems impossible. I think about people and how they are and would estimate 99% of people would want to keep out of it. Again though when we know more about Tim it becomes clear that is what he would do.

        I think over the last few years Koontz has been trying to inject a bit of good into his world, it's almost like he's aware of how much bad there is in the world and seems to need wholesome, reliable characters in his books to balance this out. I personally like the hopeful characters he writes and enjoy a bit of good in his books because there really is too much bad in the world.

        The chase is a great read with Krait seeming to be almost psychic in his ability to find Tim and Linda but with Tim remaining one step ahead of the killer throughout. Again though this is something we later learn is natural for Tim and it becomes clear that he would actually be able to achieve this.

        The chemistry between Linda and Tim is great and really works well alongside the constant danger that lurks just around the corner. The other characters in the book add more depth and explanations to the plot and it all comes together nicely at the end.

        The killer, Krait, is suitably a bit insane and definitely falls into the sociopath category which makes for a calm, collected and charming killer who gets himself into his own situations along the way. Technology plays a part in this book too and Koontz seems to have a healthy respect and paranoia for big brother style technology.

        Overall the cat and mouse scenario works well especially as Linda has no idea why anyone would want to kill her. It's always best if the target doesn't know in this kind of book because it makes it even more alarming that it could happen to anyone for some small reason they are unaware of. It's typical Koontz to write a situation that is scary because it could happen to you and that's one of the things I like best about his books.

        The book is a good read for any Koontz fans and a good way to be introduced to the author's style if you're not a fan, it's a fast paced read with plenty of twists and turns that keep you wondering throughout. Some of my friends don't like the good characters he often has but in a book about random evil there has to be some good to balance it out.

        I recommend this book and can honestly say I'll probably read it again in the future when I've forgotten parts of the plots again. The book is available in paperback for £3.66 from Amazon or 1p used. The only disadvantage to this book is the improbability of Tim's help but Koontz makes this work with the background he gives us later on.

        Definitely one to read at least once.

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          08.08.2009 15:09
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          Brilliant book, brilliant autor

          The thing that strikes me the most about the author Dean Koontz is that I never seem to be able to spend a long time reading his books. The Good Guy is one of those books, I could not put it down.

          My favourite aspect of this novel is that most of the story line is hinted - there are many many unanswered questions - but this is in no way a bad thing.

          The Good Guy is about a man called Tim who finds himself in a situation that he can't seem to walk away from. He is a likeable character that Koontz keeps us guessing about, having finished the book there are still many assumptions I have made about Tim's character that will never be proven, but I like that.

          I don't want to give too much of the story away as there are so many twists and turns, it would be a shame to know what is coming next. I found myself competley immersed in the book, feeling butterflies every couple of pages!

          Of all the Dean Koontz books I have read, this is probably the most 'realistic' in that it could be based on a true story. I will be lending this book to my friends - but I want it back!

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            03.08.2009 22:06
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            A Koontz masterpeice

            When I was much younger, I loved all things horror. Films, books, anything else that might scare me - I loved the lot.

            Somewhere towards the end of that phase, I came across Dean Koontz. Horror to thriller, I guess, is a natural transition.

            Now, after many years of fluffy 'chick lit' I came across Dean Koontz in a discount bookshop. The Good Guy sounded good from the back cover - like it would satisfy my sudden desire for more meaty novels, and as they'd priced it at £2.99 instead of the £6.99 RRP I deposited it in the pile I'd picked for my upcoming (and now sadly departed) holiday.

            The Good Guy is about Tim Carrier, a mason, who suffers a case of mistaken identity and his life changes forever. Sitting in his friends bar one evening, he is mistaken for a killer and handed an envelope full of cash with the instructions that 'you'll get the rest when she's gone'. Before he can do anything, the real killer enters the bar, and mistakes him for his client. A split second decision and his life shoots of on a tangent he has no control over, and could cost him his life and all that he holds dear.

            Each page leads us towards the encounter, but not quite as you expect it. And also reveals more about the man called Tim and the woman called Linda who he is intent on saving. It also brings us some insights to the killer who hunts them down.

            The chapters are relatively short, which makes the reading fast, and the pages turn almost on their own.
            Koontz is a master at character building so that you want to take this journey with them, whilst with-holding vital information to throw at you later.
            The technology spoken of in the book is right up to minute, which makes in easier to roll the film in your head. You can actually imagine this happening in real life - which is seriously scary.

            And that brings us to the brilliance of Koontz as a writer. You can believe his stories could actually be real.

            I will definitely be revisiting this writer in the very near future

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              30.11.2008 17:37
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              A fast-paced thriller with relentless action - recommended!

              This book caught my eye in the library a few months ago; I have read books by the same author previously and the synopsis of the plot was certainly intriguing. I borrowed it and read it as soon as I had some spare time.


              The Author

              Dean Koontz is a prolific American author who has written many No.1 New York Times Bestsellers. He writes in the suspense genre mainly but also incorporates horror and science fiction. Interestingly, in his early career he wrote under a number of pen names, including that of Trixie Koontz his dog!


              The Plot

              Tim Carrier is sitting in his local bar, relaxing, enjoying a beer at the end of a hard day, minding his own business, when he gets mistaken for a contract killer and passed a manila envelope by a stranger, who then disappears into the night. He glances in the envelope handed to him. It contains a wad of hundred-dollar bills and the name and photograph of the "target". While he is still sitting at the bar, trying to figure out what to do, the real assassin enters the bar, spots the manila envelope and mistakes him for the guy trying to hire his services.

              What follows is a roller-coaster of a chase, as Tim tries to outwit the trained, professional killer and keep the intended victim out of his grasp.

              Why has the killer got so many resources at his fingertips? Why would anyone want this ordinary woman dead? And what secret is the seemingly mild mannered stonemason Tim hiding that makes him such a formidable adversary for this assassin?


              The Book

              This is a real page-turner, the kind of book that would have kept me up until the wee hours in my single/younger days (before I became a Mum of twins!) The action is fast paced and exciting.

              The chapters are short and punchy, the pace of the book relentless.

              The main characters are well developed although many of the nuances of the finer details of their personalities are not fully revealed until the finale of the book. The motivation of the hired killer is never fully explained, more hinted at, but this doesn't detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.

              There are just three main characters; Tim, the assassin and the female intended target, and a couple of other "fringe" personalities.

              I found the assassin a really intriguing character; he is depicted as a well mannered individual with impeccable taste and high personal standards, gentlemanly, even courteous. However the dark side of his personality is sufficiently violent and perverse so as to prevent any real empathy towards the man.

              Although the timescale of the majority of the book is just a couple of days, there is plenty of action to keep the reader's interest. By switching the perspective of the story between that of the pursuer and the pursued seamlessly, usually on alternate chapters, the breathless pace of the book is maintained easily. There are no long paragraphs of descriptive narrative, this book really is "all action".

              The conclusion of the book is also very neat - no loose ends, no unexplained details left for the reader to surmise about - a tidy conclusion with everything finished off in a satisfactory manner.


              Conclusion

              If action-based suspense thrillers are your thing, then this is definitely recommended. It's a really enjoyable read.


              Trivia

              The main female character in this book was named after a Californian woman who won the honor in an auction in aid of Canine Companions for Independence.


              Other Information

              ISBN 978-0007226603
              448 pages
              Available from 1p plus P&P on Amazon Marketplace
              Or try your library!



              (This review has been previously posted on Ciao! by me under the same username carcraig and has also been posted on Helium under my name Caroline Craig)

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                14.08.2008 08:29
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                a must read book!

                i bought this book as dean koontz is one of my favourite writers and i wasnt disappointed with this. it tells of a stone mason named tim, who is quite a loner and his only real friends are the bar manager whose bar he goes to and his wife. one night he is sitting at the end of the bar and a man approaches him and gives him an envelope with money and a photo of a woman. tim doesnt get a chance to tell the man he has made a mistake as he just rushes out. then another man who turns out to be krait, the killer turns up and takes the envelope from tim but tim has taken the photo and there begins the cat and mouse chase with tim and krait looking for the woman and tim gets there first manages to convince her someone wants her dead and there begins a rollercoaster journey. the book is good as it is written from all three points of view. it really is a must read book and you wont be able to put it down! i have just got my 16 year old son reading his books and its good that we actually have talks about the books we are reading.

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                  07.04.2008 10:07
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                  RECOMMENDED xx

                  Tim Carrier lives a peaceful life. By day he is a stone mason and a good one at that, by night he sits quietly on the end bar stool in his friend's tavern, having a couple of beers and remaining anonymous. He likes it this way. He tells himself he is not lonely and does not need anyone else in his life. The fact that he is a huge, monster of a man, although a gentle giant, doesn't help his cause.

                  So when a strange man comes into the bar and gives him an envelope full of cash saying "you get the rest when she's dead", Tim just doesn't react quickly enough to relay to the other man that he is not who he thinks he is. Matters are worsened a few minutes later when the real killer arrives and thinks Tim is the "hirer". Desperately trying to stop the potential killing of this woman, Tim offers the man the money "not" to kill her.

                  He just doesn't realise that Krait, the killer, is persistent and actually takes pride in his work. A game of cat and mouse is on as Tim tries to save Linda Paquette, the mark, and Krait ruthlessly chases them down.

                  I thoroughly enjoyed this story of pursuit. It was non-stop and everything I read in each chapter was thrilling and interesting. I never once read a chapter or even a paragraph that I thought was mamby pamby, as Koontz can sometimes draw out in me. There were no long winded descriptions of how the sun rose over the mountains or any other pretty scene setting like this. It was cold hard thriller writing and kept me absorbed from start to finish.

                  I loved the character of Tim. He made me feel exceptionally safe when reading about him and I was grateful that Linda was with him and Tim had decided to try and save her from Krait. He is a massive man and in a lot of ways in the physical description we get and for physical similarities only he kept reminding me of Blaze or John Coffey (the huge characters from Stephen King's books) but he was certainly not slow in the brain area like Blaze or Coffey, and was brilliantly clever in his actions to get away from Krait. It was hard to accept that he wasn't simple in the beginning as it is such a stereotype in the books I read, but after a few chapters I settled in with Tim's character and found my feet.

                  Krait on the other hand was easy to accept right from the start. A total nutter! He really is shown to be a cold calculated and very capable killer. We are shown through chapters dedicated to Krait, things that have happened in the past with his victims. These are revealed through Krait's thoughts and as he is a total megalomaniac he is constantly thinking back to past "victories" and ideas he might like to try out on new targets before he finishes them off. Some of these are pretty nasty and although I am not easily offended or shocked, his torture methods will upset some people. Krait is brutal, no two ways about it and absolutely relentless in his pursuit of Linda and Tim. The more you read the more you actually hate him and love the others. It is not often I feel that way about a character in a book, but Krait really did have me wanting to pop a shot off, from a safe distance, and get rid of him.

                  I loved the way the chapters were split between Carrier & Linda and then the killer - Krait. It really helped separate the pursuer and the pursued and I found myself looking forward to each chapter in turn so I could learn the next step in both their plans. It wasn't always totally in turn and sometimes you get a couple of chapters on Linda and Tim, then back to the killer, but when they are in the chase it is definitely separation by chapters that brings this story alive. Coupled with the fact that each chapter was not too long in length, it never dwelled for too long on one instance and kept the pace up the whole time.

                  I think this book would make an excellent film. I could just imagine the whole relentless efforts of all three main characters shown through an action packed film. Something to think about???

                  Anyway - if you like Koontz or any pursuit type books this is a highly recommended read.

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                    22.03.2008 02:14
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                    A cracking good read with an ever-so-slightly unoriginal plot but a unique intro that sets it all up

                    Dean Koontz is one of those writers who has been around for ages; absolute yonks and yonks in fact!! He has written everything from spy thrillers (ICEBOUND and DRAGONFLY- both written under a pseudonym and only the former of which is currently available) to strict sci-fi (STRANGERS, DEMONSEED and WINTER MOON) through to cat-and-mouse edge-of-your-seat suspense novels (such as CHASE or INTENSITY) into which category this, one of his latest novels, falls. Koontz has even tackled Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN, bringing it firmly into the modern age and has warmed hearts the world over with his creation of ODD THOMAS; a grill cook with the ability to see the recent, and sometimes not so recent, dead and whose adventures so far have taken him miles from his home in Pico Mundo.

                    In fact Koontz has been writing for so long and has such a plethora of titles behind him that many of his earlier works are currently out of print and written under false names in any case. Its fair to say that page-by-page, Koontz could definetly give Stephen King a run for his money and he is another writer who has been kicking round for years in a very similar vein.

                    THE GOOD GUY is about as far from ODD THOMAS or FRANKENSTEIN as you could possibly get and is one of Koontz's more down-to-earth novels that relies on Hitchcockian tactics to keep the reader hooked and enthralled rather than the suggestion of anything supernatural.

                    Timothy Carrier is sitting in his local bar when he is approached by a man who hands him an envelope with the instructions "'Half of it's there. The rest when she's gone." Inside the envelope is the picture of a woman Tim has never seen before and a shed load of money. A second later, another man enters the bar, sees the envelope and strikes up conversation. Very quickly, Tim realises he is the victim of two counts of mistaken identity- the first man thinking he is a hitman; the second man thinking he is the client. Removing the photo from the envelope, Timothy tells the hitman he's changed his mind and proceeds to track down the woman from the photo to warn her. With that one, single descision, Timothy Carrier's fate is altered and before he knows it he is on the run for both his life and for the woman he has saved. It no longer becomes a matter of why anyone would want her dead but more how long the pair can stay alive ahead of a near unstoppable killer.

                    The plot is not an original one, though the way events are put into place is certainly unique, but Koontz still doesn't fail to deliver with each chapter leaving you more on the edge of your seat than before. The whole damsel-in-distress theme has been used before too (and by Koontz himself on more than one occasion- this is a man, after all, who loves re-using his plots and ideas in new and inventive ways; how many times has he used golden retrievers as lovable plot devices? How many times has his books featured bad guys relentlessy pursuing their victims against all odds? How many times have the lead characters been best friends/ partners who spend 9/10 ths of the book cracking wise? ) but this somehow doesn't seem tiresome here even after we believe we have seen it all before....

                    The thing about Koontz is that even when he is a tad formulaic (and he is certainly guilty of this here) he is still a real pleasure to read. His books are as heavily laden with pop-culture references as they are with tidbits of philosophy or literal references to other, greater works but he is still something of an easy read which is no bad thing provided it is done and done well!!!

                    Certainly THE GOOD GUY moves at a breakneck pace that pulls the story along in its flow and unlike some of his novels which drag on just that little too long and seem a little too heavy-going (FROM THE CORNER OF HIS EYE anyone...?) this is the perfect length to keep you entertained whether you read it on the bus or train to work, whilst sunning yourself on the beach (what with our weather?) or even just relaxing in your bed at the end of a tiring day.

                    For a Koontz novel, this book may seem pretty run-of-the-mill to siome, but if you've grown a little tired of his recent efforts, its worth picking this up and giving it a go as it rates on the higher end of the scale for his novels and is without a shadow of a doubt a really cracking read. The pace never lets up and if the ending is a little cliched, it is not enough to spoil what pleasure you get from following the plot through to its conclusion.

                    Certainly for me, it is one of the better thrillers he has written and restores my faith in the fact that theres plenty of life in the old dog yet!!! Dean Koontz, as of this book, still ranks in my top 5 authors and this novel will take pride of place in my extensive collection of his works.

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