Tag Archives: The City

Book Review: Innocence by Dean Koontz

Innocence – Dean Koontz | Penny Dreadful Book Reviews (Est ...

Whew! We are finally – finally – going to discuss another Dean Koontz novel! 🙂 Hang on to your hats, everyone; this one’s a doozy!

Innocence, by Dean Koontz, is a standalone novel about a man who is so ugly that he inspires everyone else to hate him on sight. This young man – Addison – lived alone with his Father, a man who was also considered sickeningly ugly, beneath a city for some time. Six years ago, Addison’s father died, and ever since our hero has lived alone.

Father was not Addison’s biological father. That man ran off before Addison was born, and so he never knew him. But Addison did know his mother, with whom he lived for eight years, before he had to leave and ended up in the city. It was while he was running from a gang of teens who had seen his hideous visage that he met his adopted Father.

Our hero cannot stay underground all the time, of course. He has to go to the surface from time to time to get food, which he usually has to take from closed stores at night. His Father had to do the same before him, and he taught Addison to leave money behind for the things they “bought” in this manner. At other times, Addison goes to the surface to visit the local library during the darkness, when no one can see him. On different occasions, he goes topside to watch the storms come and go.

This night, he heads to the surface to visit the library. While there, he hears a man shout and sees a woman roughly his own age racing away from her pursuer. Between the two of them, Addison and the girl manage to lose her hunter. But our hero finds he can’t leave the young woman alone; he can tell she needs help. So he offers to aid her in her dilemma.

Innocence (ebook) by Dean Koontz | 9780007518036

Cautiously the heroine of this tale, Gwyneth, agrees to accept Addison’s help. Naturally enough, though, she asks why he hides his face. Addison explains that he doesn’t want to scare her and, even though she says she doesn’t care about appearances, he insists on keeping his countenance hidden. Gwyneth eventually accepts this, then states her own rule: Addison is not to touch her or make skin contact with her. She cannot be touched – at all.

Thus we have a hero who can’t be seen and a heroine who can’t be touched. Curious yet?

If so, since I don’t want to spoil anything too much, let’s just say that the title Innocence is right on the nose. From the description I’ve offered here, it’s not hard to see a parallel between this novel and the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. While Addison is a most decidedly un-beastly character, I would be willing to bet that this fairy tale might have helped inspire Koontz to write this book. There are certain overtones that hint at Beauty and the Beast up until the middle of the story. From then on, though, the tale takes a different turn entirely.

To make this review perfectly honest, I have to admit that I never finished reading Innocence. It was too close to reality – and seemed too much like a prophecy – for me to complete it. A few pages from the finale, this blogger shut the book and put it away. So far, I haven’t had the nerve to read the last few pages, despite being told by a friend what happens at the end of the tale.

Perhaps I will be able to finish Innocence someday. But it will not be today. The book is written like The City, from the first person POV with short chapters that can be a paragraph in length. These will in turn preceed lengthier installments. The big difference is that this book has a more linear timeline than The City did.

I hope Innocence entertains you, readers, as it did me. Though I didn’t complete the book, I found the story to be sound and enjoyable. It is not a horror novelm and just because it didn’t work for me does not mean that you won’t like it. It just means this blogger has to get up the nerve to finish the novel at some point. 😉

‘Til next time!

Dean Koontz Quotes. QuotesGram

Dean Koontz: The City

Whenever I enter a library, a bookstore, or a book aisle in a chain store, I feel very at home. I think that, if it were possible, I would even live in a library. Books have been my friends for most of my life, and I cannot help loving them any more than I can help loving the wind or the sunshine. They are part of me, just like the soil I was raised on.

This brings me to another Dean Koontz book I read, The City. I discovered it during the same trip to the library when I picked up Relentless. What attracted me to The City, however, was its setting. The City is described as a “coming-of-age” story, but it is the decade wherein the events of this Koontz’ story are set that caught my attention. The City is set in the turbulent 1960s in the U.S., a time I am not very well acquainted with because: a) it occurred before I was alive, and b) so much has been written and said about the ‘60s that I am wary of trusting any book or story that claims to tell those who read it “exactly what happened in the ‘60s and what the ‘60s mean to current times.”

Mr. Koontz is an author I trust, and so I picked up The City in the hopes that he could, in a roundabout way, educate me about that time period. The story was not entirely as in-depth about the events in the ‘60s as I had expected/hoped, but that is because it is a story, not a history book or a manifesto of some sort. And despite this vagueness about actual events, the story’s tone suits the times just fine.

The focus of The City is Jonah Kirk. At the beginning of his first person narrative, Jonah states, “For as long as I have been alive, I have loved the city. It is a love that has been reciprocated.” (I may not have the exact words; I no longer have the book with me. Apologies, therefore, for any misquote! 😊) Jonah tells his story in the fun, rambling way I have come to associate with oral story tellers. They do not start off with, “’It was a dark and stormy night when I was born.” They jump feet first into the interesting stuff, usually by saying something like, “I was playing baseball when I was twelve and ended up socking the neighborhood bully in the jaw.” They give you the goods and then fill in the details. Jonah is no exception.

Right off the bat, Jonah gives the reader an apparently impossible statement, hooking them immediately. Though The City lacks the rollicking suspense and humor of Relentless, this does not make it any less interesting. Where Relentless grabs the reader in a headlock and races said reader into the end zone like a human football, The City has the suspense tempo of an afternoon fishing trip, or the subdued strength of a story told beside a campfire. Before the reader knows it, they are having trouble breathing waiting for the hammer to drop on Jonah’s world – and for the mystery of the city’s “love reciprocated” to be totally revealed.

I will not spoil The City for you, readers. This is not a story I would characterize as horror fiction; it has its creepy moments, but nothing scary enough to keep the children awake in bed, throwing their flashlight’s beam all over the room looking for monsters. Relentless was more frightening in many ways than The City. Also, The City is actually a very good, entertaining, “coming-of-age” novel, better than many others I have read.   All in all, I was impressed with it and I think I can recommend it highly to whoever would like to pick it up.

Dean Koontz may specialize in horror fiction these days but, at least in this little corner of the world, he has earned himself the admiration of one who usually prefers swashbuckling romances to stories of the undead and demons. I raise my sword to him in salute to him.


The Mithril Guardian