Friday, June 20, 2008

'The Good Guy' is an excellent read

Fellow readers! I recently read a book that knocked my socks off - or would have if I wore socks. Normally in spring I consider very carefully what I read. This time of year I spend a great deal of time out of doors. With the rains this year, however, I have read voraciously.
Dean Koontz has become a favorite of mine because of his Odd Thomas series, so when I had read all of those (except the new one, "Odd Hours," which just arrived on our shelves of our library and has a long reserve list). I tried another recent novel of his, "The Good Guy" had a certain appeal base on title alone. Who doesn't like a good guy? According to "The American Heritage Dictionary," the word "good" is defined as "superior to the average valuable," sound like me!
I gravitate to novels that chronicle an ordinary person doing extraordinary things. This book is certainly no exception. It begins in a bar with a very normal guy suddenly thrust into a situation that defies explanation. Our hero, Tim Carrier, is certainly no super hero. He's a brick and stone mason like his father before him. As he sits on the stool in his friend's bar drinking his simple beer, he is approached by a gentleman who mistakes him for a killer for hire. Money and a photograph are thrust into his hand. The gentleman leaves the bar quickly. Mulling over this development, Tim is approached by a second man. This man is the killer for hire, of course. Predictable? Not Dean Koontz! Never! Tim, posing as the hirer, insists that he has change his mind. The killer is welcome to the money but the contract is off. Not!
Thus begins a journey that kept me up all night. There is a girl, of course. There is always a girl. This one is not beautiful, thank goodness. I would have been disappointed in Mr. Koontz had the girl been ethereal or breathtaking. She is unusual, I like unusual. Gives me something to chew on and whispers of foreshadowing. She has a '39 Ford parked in her kitchen and a past about which she refuses to speak, though she assures Tim that is involves nothing whatsoever that would entice someone to kill her. Tim, too, is more than he appears, though we, the readers, are teased only with hints of what this might be. Classic Koontz.
This journey through a couple of days in the lives of two seemingly normal, even boring people, is fast paced and full of quick twists and turns. There are even a couple of dogs, though no cats, perish the thought. Unlike many Koontz classics, there is no supernatural of sci-fi intervention. No need for magic. The story is magic enough.
Happy Reading.
-Browser, the library cat
Published in the Pine River Journal 19 June 2008

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