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I've read Koontz novels before and loved them so I was looking forward to this one. Unfortunately, despite it still being a descent read, it wasn't as good as I had hoped because of the writing style.
The tag line on the front cover reads: 'The terrifying new thriller'. I wouldn't really say it was terrifying, but it just about fits into the crime thriller genre. We don't see the FBI and criminal profilers or private investigators, rather, this book puts the protagonist at the forefront.
Ryan Perry is 34 and in reasonable condition, which is why he was so shocked when one day he begins having heart problems. Having seen his specialist and been put through nerve-racking tests, they find the condition is life threatening. Put on the waiting list, Ryan begins a life of waiting for a transplant.
The thing about Ryan is that he's not just a normal guy. Well, not normal in the usual sense because he's a millionaire after a successful run of computer geekiness. His girlfriend is by his side but he keeps her at a distance whilst the health problems ensue and he begins to question everyone in his life.
The first question is why he's suddenly developed a heart condition so deadly. Could he have been poisoned? When he gets his transplant things start to settle down, but not for long. It looks like someone wasn't too happy with the way things have turned out for Ryan, one of the lucky ones who got a donor...
I won't say anymore about the plot incase too much is given away, but there are some twists that make the novel, well, novel. I liked the characters and the scenes that were painted by Koontz and I felt at times that I could envisage what was happening.
Nonetheless, for some reason I just didn't find this as easy to read as I had expected. Perhaps it was the writing style itself, which I noticed particularly when the plot had slowed down considerably, that just wasn't quite fluid enough or natural enough. It was still an enjoyable read, just not one that I found as gripping or thrilling as it could have been.
Praise on the back cover for the book includes: 'There's surprise after surprise, including a killer finale... a read-in-one-go novel' - Independent on Sunday and 'Psychologically complex, masterly and satisfying' - New York Times. I wouldn't necessarily agree with the read-in-one-go part because, like I said, it didn't have the same readability factor that other Koontz novels have had for me. It wasn't as complex as it may seem from the second quote either, but it had enough characters and plot to keep it interesting and within the crime/thriller genre.
Overall, this was a little disappointing when considering what I had expected. However, it's worth a read as long as you don't necessarily anticipate it being a thrill a moment, it being an addictive novel you can't put down, or it having a spectacular ending.
406 pages over 57 chapters
I picked this book up a few weeks ago in Oxfam. Hadn't heard of the title, but had recently been introduced to Dean Koontz novels. I was keen to read a few more. This was the only one of his books they had, and it seemed as good as any to go with!
PRICE / AVAILABILITY
As I said, I picked this up from an Oxfam store. Charity shops and bootsales are great places to pick up books cheaply, especially if it's something by a best selling author. They'll be quite easy to come by!
You can purchase this one for as little as a pound if you type the title and author into Google Shopping, and it's available from all the usual places such as Amazon.
If you don't shop online and your local bookshop doesn't have this, I'm sure they'd be happy to order it in for you.
According to The Book Depository, the RRP of this one is £6.05. So wherever you get it from, it should be reasonably priced.
THE WRITE UP
Your Heart Belongs To Me
" "For one man, they are the five most terrifying words of all . . ." One year after the heart transplant that saved his life, thirty-five-year-old Ryan Perry has never felt better. He's getting back everything he nearly lost forever--his business, his his life, and, with luck, his beloved girlfriend. Miracles do happen. Then the unmarked gifts begin to arrive--a box of candy hearts, a heart pendant. Most disturbing of all is a graphic heart-surgery video and its chilling message: "Your heart belongs to me." Ryan is being stalked by someone who feels entitled to everything he has. She's the spitting image of the twenty-six-year-old donor of the heart beating steadily in Ryan's own chest. And she's come to take it back. "
The blurb above gives information on the story from only a third of the way in and onwards. This is where the story pretty much begins to develop. I was surprised, although not put off, that the opening chapters were so long, detailed, and in depth. I was surprised because they didn't really develop into much in terms of the main story, but not put off because, like all Dean Koontz' writing, it was interesting and made you want to keep going.
If you'd read the back, like I had and like most people do before chosing a book, you'd wonder when the inevitable heart transplant was coming. And I think it would have been more enjoyable reading up to this point without knowing it would happen.
It is worth noting that the book is divided into three parts. Each clearly marked. Before the transplant, during, and after.
The story starts by introducing you to the main character, Ryan Perry, who is a young and wealthy internet entrepreneur. You also get to know his girlfriend Samantha. These characters are developed throughout the opening chapters, and in the first third of the book you don't really get to know much about any of the other characters. The only people who are mentioned briefly are a private security firm working with Ryan, medical professionals and the staff at Ryan's home. This seems to be an effective way of keeping the reader focused on the main plot without getting side tracked.
From the start, the writing is good; it flows well and you're soon drawn into the story. I'm someone who struggles to get into a book, but haven't found this with both Dean Koontz novels I've read. The scenes are set well with enough but not too much description, the characters develop, and you can quickly relate to the main character, Ryan's, way of thinking. So much so, that you can get as tunnel visioned as he does! (Although I won't say too much and give the whole plot away!).
When I got to the end of the book, and the plot was being wrapped up, I did however, feel a bit cheated. A lot of the beginning and middle sections seemed to be filled with red herrings. Some of these were explained in part, but no "oh wow! I didn't see that one coming!" style twists. Some of the previous happenings were not elaborated on at all.
This is the second Dean Koontz I've read (as I said before), and the second time I've been disappointed by an ending. I've seen the same thing mentioned by other reviewers, so it seems to be a bit of a trend.
Thought had clearly gone into the whole plot, from start to finish, and the end was interesting enough to satisfy the reader, but I think with these types of thriller / mystery novels, one expects even more twists and turns than what's provided here!
I enjoy Dean Koontz style of writing immensley, he really does tell a story well and it's clear he has a good working knowledge of whatever subject he's writing about. What did bother me in this book, right towards the end, was some of his 'non PC' terms. He refers to a young boy with Down's Syndrome as a 'Down's Syndrome boy' which I was quite taken aback by. I'm sure this was an oversight, but could potentially offend a reader!
A good read with an interesting subject matter, and a leading character that the reader can identify with.
A very well written story, that will draw in even the most impatient reader within a few chapters.
Some good twists at the end, although nothing groundbreaking. A little more focus on the ending, and a little less on the beginning, and this book could rate much higher!
I'll definitely read another Dean Koontz novel (in fact, I already am!).
I have read a few Dean Koontz books but this one was proper boring and I couldn't wait to finish it. I was glad the book was so easy to read and it was over so quick because I sussed out what was going to happen quite early and then everything else was too obvious to be very interesting.
It's about a man called Ryan who is a millionaire after he sold his internet company so he has loads of time on his hands and spends it wind surfing with his girlfriend. He finds out he only has a few months to live and goes on the transplant list for a new heart. He gets a transplant in double quick time and you can probably guess what happens then from the name of the book.
Even though you think this is going to be a horror story it's more of a thriller because a lot of the story is about the emotions of Ryan when he realises that frightening things are happening to him. He knows something is wrong but he convinces himself that it's all natural stuff going on even when its obvious that it isn't.
The book isn't frightening and didn't make me think or feel anything about the characters even when they are scared or upset. When Ryan starts sussing out that somethings wrong he starts investigating it and thats why the story gets so boring because everything is too easy for him. He gets help from a private investigator and it makes it too predicatable because Ryan doesn't have to do any proper investigating and everything falls into his lap too easily.
The story moves dead slow because nothing much happens at all apart from a few pages where theres a bit of action but there isn't very much. It's stupid because the whole book is full of Ryans thoughts and it gets boring after a bit because he seems to think the same thing over and over again.
It's written cleverly and the story moves forward smoothly but Dean Koontz has changed his writing style and now it's too descriptive and flowery. Like when he takes 3 pages to describe the outside of someones house, its too much and makes it feel like he is just dragging the pages out because there isn't enough story to fill it.
Dean Koontz is running out of things to write about I reckon because if you read his older books they are full of action and dead exciting but now they are dull and there is no real story in the book just a bunch of thoughts about how Ryan feels and this isn't interesting to me, especially when I was expecting a thrilling read that I could enjoy like I have his other books.
I've been a fan of Dean Koontz for many years now and have read everything he's ever written except his newest book. Your Heart Belongs To Me is a book Koontz wrote last year and became an affordable paperback this year so I picked up a copy from Tesco as part of their 2 for £7 deal.
The first thing that struck me about this book was how thin it is. It's 400 pages and quite large text which I knew wouldn't last me beyond a sitting and as far as Dean Koontz goes this is a very short book. He seems to produce at least a couple of books a year and this one he probably knocked out in a couple of weeks!
The basic storyline for this is Ryan Perry is 34, loaded and successful and happy until he finds himself with a heart problem that needs a transplant or he will die quite quickly. He manages to get the transplant but then strange things start to happen to him and he is threatened with losing everything: his money, his friends, his freedom, his new heart and his life.
This book started out with all the promise of Koontz from years gone by. Mystical and supernatural happenings mixed with human faults and desires and I could not put it down. I couldn't wait to read the next line, the next chapter, and I sat through an entire afternoon and read this right the way through without stopping. I've found in more recent books Dean Koontz seems to be trying to express and explore how good good people are against an evil force and his books have a slightly melancholy feel to them but this one was like revisiting the Koontz who wrote Watchers. It also reminded me a bit of The Face too.
The fact that the main character was wealthy meant this book could move along at an incredible pace and he could go wherever at the drop of a hat and had equipment around him that added to the mystery which is different for a Dean Koontz book, he often favours the poor man in an impossible situation routine.
The supernatual happenings really add to the story and make it all the more confusing. I spent most of the book not having a clue what was happening and how things were happening and not really knowing at all! In fact I think I thought about it too much because when we reached the conclusion I was really let down it was such a simple and obvious ending.
The character of Ryan Perry is very well written and you do feel like you know him but the girlfriend Samantha is a pointless character in my opinion. I just couldn't see why she was in it with the way things turned out. Some of the supporting characters are also very good, mysterious and efficient and necessary to the plot.
This is a really good book for most of it and took me right back to Dean Koontz's early work. That's not to say I haven't enjoyed his more recent stuff but as one of my friend's said to me not long ago "wouldn't it be nice if the main character wasn't such a bland guy who never drank more than one beer just for a change?" and he was right the main character of the last few could be the same guy in each of them. Ryan Perry you'll be pleased to hear does drink more than one beer!
But the ending left me so deflated. It could have finished in so many weird and wonderful ways and I had all kinds of ideas about how it would conclude and then when I finally got to the reason behind all the threats and the source of them it was so obvious I just never imagined Dean Koontz would have chosen that as his conclusion. Worse, the last chapter where we see what the characters eventually did have many of Koontz's obsessions slotted in. I can't say anymore than that without ruining the plot but anyone who's read some of his recent novels and then reads this will know which obsessions I'm referring to.
Overall this is for the most part an excellent book, the characters are well described and with the exception of Samantha add alot to the plot. The pace is so fast you'll find it hard not to read it in one go and the scope for what could have happened is amazing but the last quarter of the book when the threat is revealed is such a disappointment you wish you hadn't read the conclusion. It's definitely worth a read for the first three quarters but expect the obvious for the ending.
I'm going to give this 4 stars because when it's good it's really, really superb but I have to deduct one star for the truly awful, unoriginal ending.
From the various things i had read about this book (and a Dean Koontz fan) I was really looking forward to reading this; however I was quite disappointed with this book.
The character Ryan Perry is not a sympathetic character and you are not drawn to him at all, therefore you don't really feel much sympathy for him. In some ways the storyline feels rushed, and rather vague. DK is usually pretty good at building up suspense and tension, but in this book it is completely lacking. Part 1 of the book is about Ryan as he discovers his heart condition, and the waiting for his transplant, but you don't get any indication of his desperation or need for a new heart, which is main reason for behind the stalking in part 2. You also don't feel that time is slipping away from him, and that his health is deteriorating. During this time he also experiences some paranoia, but again this isn't discussed in depth.
Part 2 leaps forward a year to the anniversary of his transplant, when the stalking begins. Again it all seems a little too contrived and not at all believable. His paranoia returns, and he repeats his actions of part 1, but not for any good reason. The annoying thing for me is that it could have been really good, the subject matter of organs for sale is interesting and that alone could have made a good thriller. It didn't need the supernatural element at all.
Part 3 is the denouement and probably the best section of the book, as you finally understand the reasons behind the stalking and the consequences. The subtle message behind this book is that if we ignore the subtext going on around us in life, then we can miss out on many things. However it was all too subtle for me.
The only good thing for me is that I got this book for half it's RRP from Tesco. I hope that for the next one DK is back on form. I will read this book again in the hope it improves with a second reading.