SOLE SURVIVOR by Dean Koontz


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 With only a sliver less suspense, Koontz follows up 1996's Intensity with an afterlife novel about a plane crash. Los Angeles crime reporter Joe Carpenter (ah, those initials) needs resurrecting. One year ago his wife, Michelle, and two daughters, Chrissie and little Nina, actually did die in a devastating plane crash over Colorado: no survivors. In a dive, the plane had rocketed straight into millennial rock, leaving only two pieces larger than a car door. Joe, locked in unbearable grief, has quit work, sold his house, moved to a studio apartment over a garage, and is gnawing himself to death with weight loss. Meetings with a compassionate survivor group haven't helped. Rage and anger with an unjust God in whom Joe doesn't believe takes up all his energy. Then visiting his wife and children's graves, Joe finds Dr. Rose Tucker, a black Asian woman with great presence who's taking Polaroids of his family's burial sites. She tells him she survived the crash! But suddenly two men appear and start shooting at her as she races off. Joe soon finds himself involved in unraveling a suicide plague that has struck relatives of the plane's dead. Rose has taken Polaroids of the graves of other relatives as well--but whoever gets one of her pictures first sees a blissful image of the afterlife, then commits suicide, often horribly. As Joe tracks Rose down, he hears that a little girl survived with her, a girl named Nina. Has mankind reached a turning point, as Dr. Tucker avers, at which science has now proven the existence of the afterlife? Funded by a multibillionaire, a secret but massive scientific effort larger than the Manhattan Project has made fantastic strides in the paranormal and revealed a breakthrough into . . . but some baddies want to use this discovery for their own ends, and thus Joe and Rose--and Nina!--must be killed. Masterfully styled, serious entertainment. These are Koontz's great years. (First printing 600,000; Literary Guild main selection; author tour; radio satellite tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 1997
ISBN: 0-679-42526-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1997


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