When I heard Dean Koontz was releasing yet another novel, I knew I had to read it. I set out to put my craving for Dean Koontz to rest, but instead it only made me want to read more of his works.
In his latest thriller, young author Bibi Blaire is diagnosed with a rare brain cancer called gliomatosis cerebri, which is supposed to be incurable. Most patients lose the battle within a year.
But Bibi manages to do the impossible. The cancer is gone soon after diagnosis, and she is released from the hospital. After leaving she becomes obsessed with finding and saving a girl named Ashley Bell.
The premise of this book was enough to captivate me, and its fast pace kept me going. This book is over 500 pages long, but it rarely feels like it drags. The entire time the reader is given the feeling that something in this world is wrong, something about the situations are wrong but every time a development happened I was just as surprised.
Koontz is a very descriptive writer, and most of the time the descriptions are so vivid that the reader becomes immersed. Multiple times I was reading before I had somewhere to be, and I would have to set an alarm because I was so in danger of being so engaged with the story.
Bibi is a lively character who never stays still. She is always moving, always thinking and always creative in her tactics. Since she has a strong history in writing and literature it was only fitting that there were many illusions to famous works, one of which was Harry Potter. These propelled the story and assisted with explaining the plot twists.
The perspective shifts between many different time periods and people, all in a very clear third person. Normally this would bother just about anyone, but Koontz very clearly labels where the time shifts are and within the first sentence or two it is clear who the chapter is about.
I went into this novel expecting to be able to predict the ending and in a way I could, but it wasn’t until I was a couple chapters before the scene actually happened. There were two different plot twists where I had to put down my book and think back in the book, realizing they do make sense and that I should have realized it. For me, these are the best types of surprises.
In all, ‘Ashley Bell’ gets five haunting memories out of five.
Arts & Entertainment Editor