author: Dean Koontz
published: 19 July 2022
publisher: Thomas & Mercer
genre(s): horror, sci fi, thrillers
source: Kindle Unlimited
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
A group of strangers bound by terrifying synchronicity becomes humankind’s hope of survival in an exhilarating, twist-filled novel by Dean Koontz, the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense.
As a girl, Joanna Chase thrived on Rustling Willows Ranch in Montana until tragedy upended her life. Now thirty-four and living in Santa Fe with only misty memories of the past, she begins to receive pleas—by phone, through her TV, in her dreams: I am in a dark place, Jojo. Please come and help me. Heeding the disturbing appeals, Joanna is compelled to return to Montana, and to a strange childhood companion she had long forgotten.
She isn’t the only one drawn to the Montana farmstead. People from all walks of life have converged at the remote ranch. They are haunted, on the run, obsessed, and seeking answers to the same omniscient danger Joanna came to confront. All the while, on the outskirts of Rustling Willows, a madman lurks with a vision to save the future. Mass murder is the only way to see his frightening manifesto come to pass.
Through a bizarre twist of seemingly coincidental circumstances, a band of strangers now find themselves under Montana’s big dark sky. Their lives entwined, they face an encroaching horror. Unless they can defeat this threat, it will spell the end for humanity
content warning: graphic violence
a few notes
keywords/phrases: alien, AI
mood reading: in the mood for something deep, thought-provoking
bonus points: quirky cast of characters, a culty vibe
anti-bonus points: too much padding, too many questions at the end
This book is classic Dean Koontz in that it is full of twists and turns, it is smart and thought-provoking, and it leaves you wondering exactly what you just read! However, I didn’t love it the way I love his earlier work.
The characters had a lot to do with it. There was a fairly large cast of characters, and while I loved the variety among them, they felt less developed than they could be. I wanted to know more, but instead I was left less connected to any of them than I wanted to be. And that made it hard to really care and get behind any one of them.
In addition, the plot was extremely convoluted with a lot of threads leading to the center. There were so many strange things happening, and even by the end, there are questions about how some of these things connect to one another. I reread the last part of the book twice and I’m still unsure of some of the conclusions made. The extra padding within the story just muddied the waters a little too much, in my opinion.
All of this makes it sound as if I didn’t like the book, but I did. It was by no means my favorite Koontz read, but he still has the ability to drag a reader in and make them read to the end, fueled by the need to understand it all.
Incredible coincidences without apparent cause are called synchronicities. They might better be called the stuff of life.-Ganesh Patel, p. 1
Intelligence is dangerous without common sense, but common sense can never be learned by those who have been educated into arrogance, who lack the humility to believe in and trust their intuition.p. 33
Incredible coincidences are more common than we think. They’re part of the weave of the world. Effect can come before cause.p. 72
For just a moment her legs felt too weak to support her, and then a thrill of purpose, more powerful than either the hope of redemption or the lure of vengeance, gave her a strength she had never known before.p. 280
- 2022 Linz the Bookworm Reading Challenge