Another likable thriller by Koontz (Brother Odd, 2006) pits a decent guy against the arbitrary forces of evil.
Relaxing after work in his favorite bar, L.A.’s Lamplighter Tavern, 30-year-old bricklayer Tim Carrier is mistaken for a hit man hired to kill someone named Linda Paquette. Handed $10,000 as down payment before he can say no, Tim tries to fend off the real killer (who turns up a few minutes later) by handing him the money but calling off the hit. Professional gunman Krait soon learns of the mix-up, however, and comes after Tim. The bricklayer at first considers going to the police, but quickly recognizes that this dapper, resolute bad guy has high connections and may even be a cop himself. So our honorable protagonist heads to Linda’s home in Laguna Beach, where he finds an attractive, enigmatic pulp novelist who has no idea why anyone would want her dead. Eluding Krait, Tim and Linda get into one scrape after the other; eventually, the two lonely outsiders fall in love. What prompted Linda’s death sentence? Was it a visit to a coffee shop frequented by a senator making shady deals? Fans of Koontz will recognize and relish his trademark, gently ironic dialogue and firmly fleshed characterizations. Especially notable is the portrait of Krait, a vicious killer who also happens to be a person of good taste, fond of inhabiting other people’s houses while they’re gone and using their environmentally friendly products. Other true-to-life figures include Tim’s barman buddy Liam Rooney, his good-as-gold wife Michelle, cop Pete Santo and a shy dog named Zoey. Even Tim's devoted mother makes an appearance.
Dark suspense leavened by just enough sentiment.