By Dean Koontz
Joe Carpenter has had a very, very bad
Alfred A. Knopf, 321 pp, 1997
Exactly one year ago, on the very day,
his wife and two young daughters were killed in a terrifying plane crash,
in which over 200 other people lost their lives. The Boeing plane slammed
in a Colorado meadow, engines at full speed, and was effectively
obliterated on contact. The FAA ruled it accidental, but never found a
Needless to say, Joe hasnít dealt with
this very well. He quit his job as a crime reporter, hangs out at the
beach, visits his wife and daughterís grave, and sees no reason to go on
Until he meets a lady named Rose at his
wifeís gravesite. She claims to be the sole survivor of the crash. She
has much to tell Joe, the truth about the crash, but she is run off by
three gun-wielding thugs trying to kill her.
Suddenly, Joe wants to live. He feels he
can find out the truth. He must contact Rose, no matter what, and find out
what really happened to that plane. His quest begins.
Joe does find out the truth, and in the
process uncovers a monstrous government program and conspiracy. It is like
something from the X-Files, but more plausible, and hence more
Once again, Koontz has weaved an
exciting, suspenseful thriller/mystery yarn. However, surprisingly, there
Joe flies to Colorado Springs to speak
to the official who headed the initial FAA investigation into the crash.
Barbara tells him a terrifying tale, of brutal threats and hired killers,
which forced her to drop her inquiry. She has kept quiet for fear of her
sonís life, and her own, but unburdens herself to Joe, only after she is
confident that the mysterious people who threatened her will not find out.
After Joe returns, he realizes he has
been followed. Barbara is in terrible danger. He must phone her. But he
doesnít. In fact, we never hear about Barbara again. Was she killed? Was
her son killed? Donít know.
There are more loose ends at the end.
The book has a nice finale, but doesnít truly end. It just stops. We
donít know what happens to the poor boy, or Doctors Blom and Ramlock.
There are simply too many unresolved storylines.
Hopefully, this means that Koontz will
write a sequel, though heís written few of those. Otherwise, I donít
see how such a great writer could have overlooked such mistakes.