I am now in the third year of my addiction to Dean Koontz. I love his books. I have read almost every one of his books that are still out in print now. There are several of his earlier books that are out of print now, so of course I haven't read those. I own several of his books, and I have re read many of them. I have gotten his newest books right after they have been released for the last few years. His newest book, which came out in late December of 2001, is called One Door Away From Heaven. This is another of his long, complex books.
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There are a few sub plots going on in the book that seem to be unrelated, but they all come together near the end of the book. The chapters jump back and forth between the different characters and subplots, so it can be confusing at first to keep up with who everyone is and what is going on. Some of the chapters are really short, some really long, and others that aren't that short or long. Several times during the book a chapter would end with a cliffhanger and then the next chapter would pick up with one of the other characters in one of the other plots. That made me keep reading because I wanted to know how the cliff hanger would be resolved. I couldn't put this book. I only stopped reading it because I had stayed up all night reading it and I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.
The book begins with Michelina Bellsong sitting outside on a lounge chair, sunbathing. She is staying with her Aunt Geneva in a trailer in California. Everyone calls her Mickey. She has had a tough life and she is now trying to get her life on track. A young girl that introduces herself as Leilani Klonk starts talking to Mickey. Leilani's family is renting the trailer next to Mickey and Geneva. Leilani is a unique girl and she says whatever she is thinking. She is handicapped. She wears a metal brace on her left leg and her left arm is deformed. She and Mickey talk for a while. Leilani tells things about herself and her family. Leilani says she is going to make contact with aliens and that they will take her aboard a spaceship and heal her. Her step father, who Leilani calls Dr. Doom, has been dragging the family all over the country looking for aliens. Her mother calls herself Sinsemilla and is always high on some kind of drugs. Micky continues to think and worry about Leilani after the girl returned home.
Leilani and Geneva become friends too. Leilani comes to dinner one evening when her step father isn't home. Leilani says more disturbing things about her mother. Geneva and Mickey don't know if they should believe her or not at first, but over the course of the evening, they are convinced. Leilani also tells more about her step father, Preston Maddoc. Preston is using an assumed name. Leilani says that he has murdered several people including her brother, Lukipela. Luki was also handicapped. He had problems with his hips. Preston said that aliens would take Luki and heal him. One day Preston drove off into the woods with Luki and returned alone. Preston said that Luki was with the aliens. Leilani didn't believe that, but her mother did.
Mickey and Geneva are very disturbed by what Leilani told them. The women are worried that Leilani is in danger. The next day, Mickey goes to try to get some help, but she just gets the run around with the children's protection people. Mickey and Geneva are still determined to do something to help Leilani, but they aren't sure what yet. Before the women can do anything, Preston takes the family and leaves. Mickey checks into hiring a detective, Noah Farrel, to help find where Preston took Leilani. Noah shows up in some scenes earlier in the book, but he and Mickey don't meet up until near the end of the book. Mickey then goes off to try and find Leilani before something happens to her.
The main part of the book does focus on Leilani, but there is another major focus of the book. Starting in the second chapter, a young boy is described. He just saw his mother murdered and he is running from her killers. He stops at a home to get some supplies. The house is the home of a couple and their son, Curtis. The boy leaves the house and continues running. The killers track him to the house and kill the family. The dog escaped and followed the boy. He keeps reminding himself of things his mom told him in the past. He has to fit in. He starts calling himself Curtis and the dog Old Yeller. He stays on the run throughout the book. The killers seem to be able to find him no matter where he goes. The truth about Curtis comes out later in the book. Near the end of the book, Mickey, Noah, Leilani, and Curtis all meet up. There are many other things that happen during the book.
One Door Away From Heaven is another long, complex book by Dean Koontz. It is well written and extremely descriptive. The book is full of long descriptive passages that some people may find boring. Koontz provides a lot of details about the characters, settings, and what is going on in the book. One Door Away From Heaven is a bit strange, which is normal for a Koontz book. It isn't as strange or out there as some of his other books though. You have to have an open mind and be willing to believe things that are unbelievable to fully enjoy this book. Some people don't like books like that. This book will be too strange for some people. If you hate Dean Koontz books, you shouldn't read this one. If you like to read nice, normal, completely believable books, you should avoid this one. The book kept my interest throughout. Nothing in the book bored me. I didn't think any part of it was predictable. I thought there was a lot of suspense in One Door Away From Heaven. A few elements in this book have shown up in other Koontz books, but the overall plot is original. There is some swearing, but it isn't excessive.
There are several characters in One Door Away From Heaven. Some of the characters are in different subplots that later tie in together near the end of the book. Most of the characters are well developed. Curtis is a developing character throughout the whole book and something important about him isn't revealed until near the end.
Michelina Bellsong - Mickey - She is living with her Aunt Geneva in a trailer in California. She is trying to get her life on track and is looking for a job. She befriends Leilani and becomes very concerned about her. Mickey is convinced that Leilani's life is in danger. Mickey tries to save Leilani.
Geneva - Mickey's aunt. She is a unique woman. Several years before she was shot in the head and now her memory is a bit muddled. She thinks things that happened in different movies she has seen are events from her life at times. She is a very nice woman who wants to help Leilani too.
Preston Maddoc - Leilani's stepfather. He is well known around the country for something, but Mickey has never heard of him. He is traveling around the country with his wife and step daughter. He says he is looking for aliens who can heal Leilani. He is traveling under an assumed name. Mickey is very suspicious of him. He and Leilani's mother are up to something.
Sinsemilla - Leilani's mother. She is always high on some kind of drugs. She is not a great mother. She also cuts herself and wants to start cutting on Leilani's deformed hand. The woman has some mental problems.
Noah Farrel - He is a private detective. He has had some troubles in his life too. Mickey hires him to help her track down Leilani. He doesn't want to get involved at first, but he changes his mind.
Curtis - A young boy who is running for his life. He saw his mother murdered. Her killers are after him. He starts using the name of the boy from the house he stopped at for some supplies. That family's dog ends up traveling with him. He is a special boy.
One Door Away From Heaven is a complex, but entertaining book. Fans of Dean Koontz should enjoy the book. It is worth reading if you like his books.
Other Dean Koontz Book Reviews
False Memory ~ Shadowfires ~ By the Light of the Moon ~ The Face ~ Phantoms ~ Odd Thomas ~
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