THE BAD PLACE by Dean R. Koontz
Kirkus Star


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Koontz's last novel, Midnight, scooted to the top of the best-seller lists--and no wonder. For Koontz now writes the sort of blockbuster horror novel that Stephen King ground-broke: driving, character-rich, panoramic spook-epics dripping with sentiment and pop philosophy. This latest, a typical Koontz genre amalgam--of a serial-killer novel and a psi adventure--is a powerhouse example. Not one for linear plotting, Koontz here crisscrosses four basic storylines, at first at dizzying speed. In California, Frank Pollard wakes up, amnesiac, with a satchel stuffed with cash, pursued by a shadowy figure who streams destructive rays of blue light. Nearby, cute-but-tough married p.i. couple Bobby and Julie Dakota stake out a software heist. Down the road, Julie's Down's-syndrome brother, a latent psychic, frets that ""The Bad Thing's coming."" And, also nearby, that Thing--Candy, a villain of monstrous psychic powers--leaves his decaying home and his autoerotic, psychic twin sisters to slash and drink the blood of several victims. Rapidly, the story lines converge as Frank, who finds himself waking up time and again with further bizarre possessions--including an insect that excretes red diamonds--hires the Dakotas to dig out his identity. Soon the couple learns that Frank is unwittingly teleporting himself all over earth and beyond, collecting weird souvenirs as he stays just one step ahead of Candy--his brother and a conscious teleporter who's after Frank for having killed their evil mother. In the novel's centerpiece, Bobby Dakota is caught up on a terrifying teleport traveling with Frank around the globe and into deep space, Candy in hot pursuit; the two shake Candy, but the killer--a mutation born of hermaphroditic self-impregnation--lays waste to most of the Dakotas' friends and loved ones before he, his vile sisters, and Frank are finally destroyed in the Sturmund-Drang finale. Wildly eclectic--drawing freely on sources from film (The Fly), TV (Moonlighting), and nonhorror lit (The Once and Future King, Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels)--but not derivative: Koontz shrewdly refashions the borrowings and welds them to his own inventions (the hermaphrodite premise is new to the genre) to deliver what, despite a scattered start and some heavy-handed villainizing, turns out to be another marvelously boisterous, scare-and-suspense-packed entertainment--and certain best-seller.

Pub Date: Jan. 16th, 1989
Publisher: Putnam