MR. MURDER by Dean Koontz


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 Koontz's earliest thrillers (Night Chills, etc.) were stripped-down vehicles designed for speed and suspense, nothing more. In its terrific visceral energy, this latest, with the author's simplest plot in years--one long chase involving a Frankenstein-like monster, his guardians, and his victims--harkens back to those early affairs; but Koontz is a literary phenomenon now and feels free to load his writing with all sorts of sermons about modern-day woes. The title itself is polemical: ``Mr. Murder'' is the hated sobriquet that People magazine gives to Marty Stillwater, a rising mystery writer who might as well be called Dean Koontz for his California address, stable family life, and strong opinions about the nobility of storytelling and the corruption of American society. At first, Koontz seems to be aping Stephen King here, not just for his put-upon writer-hero but also for the malevolent, perhaps not quite human, twin of Marty's who blows into town, shades of The Dark Half. Koontz is his own writer, however, and it's soon clear that Alfie is no figment made flesh but a wonderfully creepy organic killing machine with a surprising origin and astounding recuperative powers (fueled by Slim Jims and Big Macs) who wants only to take over Marty's life--his wife, daughters, and writing career--and will squash him to do it. Also, Alfie's moral code comes from films he's seen--including porno films in which severe discipline alone brings females into line. Meanwhile, the top-secret federal agents in charge of Alfie--as well as of the experiment that produced him--are desperately hunting their charge, who's gone AWOL and beserk.... Blood pours; children shriek; Alfie makes like a werewolf on steroids while Marty acts like a lion--and Koontz nails the reader to the page once again, despite the soapboxing. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for December)

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 1993
ISBN: 0-399-13874-9
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1993


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