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Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz
Review by Andrew Brooks
Bantam Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553807134
Date: 25 November 2008 List Price $27.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Dean Koontz's Your Heart Belongs to Me is, at heart, a story about paranoia. Or is it? No, it really is. Ryan Perry, a software mogul who has it all, begins to receive messages after his heart transplant from a mysterious stranger that closely resembles the heart donor. In a bizarre series of events Ryan comes close to losing everything he has, including the woman he loves. That's pretty much straight from the back of the book, and it's as misleading as the actual novel. Koontz's Your Heart Belongs to Me is a book that leaps from spiritual happenings to secret government organizations, but Koontz fails the reader by using a cheap storytelling gimmick that I'll try my best to not completely spoil.

But there are some good things about this book. It's a lot like Koontz's old stuff-the good books, e.g. not the Odd novels. The set-up to get to Ryan's discovering his mysterious stalker takes over half the book, but once he receives his new heart the suspense is thick. And that's one thing I've always enjoyed about a good Koontz novel. You don't want to put it down, can't, because he knows how to hook you for just one more chapter when you're up way past any reasonable hour. Ryan's stalker is ghost-like, drifting in and out of his house like, well, a ghost. It's genuinely creepy at times and the book does take a few pokes at the supernatural along the way. Although the ending, sort of, nixes pretty much all those forays into the dark mysterious the novel does take. Ryan soon becomes convinced that everyone, including his soon to be ex-girlfriend, are out to get him.

He hires an expensive private security/investigative agency, trying to figure out who wants him dead, and sends the last half of the book chasing down leads that ultimately lead nowhere. But one of those leads, a man who assists suicide and has preserved dead bodies in his own home, could have served for more than it did. (Skip the rest of this paragraph if you don't want to know, as there be spoilers ahead

Koontz's latest was a big disappointment for me. You have all the set-up for a great mystery/supernatural thriller, and Koontz keeps the blinder on the reader for almost the entire novel. Isn't that one of the things required of a mystery novel to, you know, keep things mysterious? I asked myself the same question, but decided the way in which Koontz's main character basically deceives the reader is different. Again, I'll not spoil it for anyone. But Ryan Perry is at best an unreliable narrator, and at worst a complete idiot. The decisions he makes seem reasonable when you don't know that you're not in on what he knows. Confusing? The story isn't at all, once Ryan finally divulges what he's known the entire book, but instead of the resolution being a cool wholly wow moment it landed with a dud.

If you're a die hard Koontz fan you've already picked this up, but if you're not go find something else Koontz has written. He's got a lot of good books out, but this isn't one of them.

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