DRAGON TEARS by Dean Koontz


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 An electrifying terrorfest in which Koontz (Hideaway, 1992, etc.), inking his silkiest writing yet, takes on the serial-killer novel and makes it his own. Koontz hooks us at once (``Tuesday was a fine California day, full of sunshine and promise, until Harry Lyon had to shoot someone at lunch'') and never lets go. Harry is a cop, and the man he guns down--with help from Harry's partner, Connie Gulliver--is a crazy who disrupts the cops' restaurant-lunch by shooting the joint to bits. It's an exhilarating opener--and it's also a lovely red herring, because the crazy has no connection, other than as another symptom of the rot of modern life, with the killer that Harry and Connie take on later. He's Bryan Drackman, who fixates on the cops when he's drawn to the restaurant carnage. Bryan, like most serial killers, believes that he has godlike powers; but Bryan--and here's Koontz's ace--really does. Mutated in the womb by radiation and drugs, Bryan has grown into a sociopath who can conjure up any entity he wants--especially ``Ticktock,'' a giant who stalks Harry, Connie, and several others, including a dog whose periodic narration (``Piece of paper. Candy wrapper. Smells good'') is so charming that you don't mind that Koontz used a similar dog-ploy in Watchers (1986). Ticktock warns Harry & Co. that they'll die at dawn--and it's only late into the night that they learn of Bryan's greatest power: the power to stop time, which unveils in a jaw- dropping set-piece in which the cops flee through a frozen world with Ticktock close behind. But Bryan, the cops now know, must sleep after his time-stopping binges: Can they find him before he wakes up? Koontz gets a bit preachy about social decay--but his action never flags in this vise-tight tale that'll rocket right to the top of the charts. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for March)

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 1993
ISBN: 0-399-13789-0
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1992


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