Like Hitchcock, Koontz feels no demand to make sense of a plot's layerings of motivation as long as his story moves grippingly. And this tale (originally published in softcover as written ""by Leigh Nichols"") keeps the reader well in hand even when explanations become ever more outrageous, and unbelievable. So it's all the old dimenovel stuff, expanding into expressionist clichâ€šs with a steel-fingered mad German brainwasher about to rape the heroine on his operating table. On vacation in Kyoto, Alex Hunter, millionaire owner of a Chicago detective agency, is taken by the beauty and singing voice of Joanna Rand, mistress of the Moonglow nightclub who also uses the restaurant to showcase her voice. Hunter sees quickly that Joanna bears a striking resemblance to the kidnapped Lisa Chelgrin, daughter of Senator Thomas Chelgrin, who hired Hunter's agency ten years ago to help find her. Today, Joanna nightly has a shocking dream about a steel-fingered hand bearing a hypodermic needle but has no memory of her earlier life as Lisa Chelgrin. She has been reprogrammed with an entirely fictitious life. For what reason? Alex at first thinks her cold father has engineered this horrible mental revamping of his daughter for monetary gain. But plot developments become ever more bizarre, especially against a background of Japanese streets and hotels, with weirdly knowledgeable assistant villains popping up left and right and at last luring Alex and Joanna out of Kyoto. At last, however, she is captured and swept off to a Zurich sanitarium--where a still newer life background is to be stenciled in, after the insidious Dr. Rotenhausen has had his way with her. Nichols/Koontz delights in describing ravishing Japanese meals and washing in plenty of high-toned textures and colors, as well giving Alex a background as the adult child of alcoholic parents. Not for the ages, in fact dumb--but it'll be read.
Pub Date: Feb. 2, 1989
Page Count: -
Publisher: Dark Harvest (P.O. Box 941, Arlington Heights, IL 60006)