Dean R. Koontz - The Face

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The Face by Dean Koontz - How did Ethan Survive His Own Death?

Jun 11, 2003 (Updated Apr 28, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Engrossing story. Wonderful descriptions and characters. Basically everything.

Cons:None for me

The Bottom Line: The Face was another wonderful book by Dean Koontz. The book was suspenseful, disturbing, and uplifting all at once. Koontz fans should enjoy the book. It is worth reading.


I love Dean Koontz books. Since I started reading his books, I’ve managed to read almost every one of his books that is available now. I own many of his books. Every year when his book comes out, I grab a copy and happily start reading. For as long as I have been reading Koontz books, they have been released in December, right around Christmas. I was pleasantly surprised when I stopped by the bookstore and discovered a brand new Koontz book, The Face sitting on the shelf with other new releases. I had no idea he had a new book coming out. I quickly picked up a copy and headed home to read.

The Face was released at the end of May 2003. The book is available as a hard back. A paperback version will probably be out around April or May of 2004. I found my copy of the book on a shelf right at the front of the bookstore. Other Dean Koontz books are in the fiction section.

Ethan Truman, a former police officer, was in charge of the security for Channing Manheim, the most famous actor in the country. He was thought to be very good looking and the media called him the face. Channing had a group of security guards that traveled with him when he was away from his estate. Ethan stayed at the estate. He hadn’t worked there long yet, and was days away from spending his first Christmas at the estate. Ethan’s wife, Hannah, had died five years before. He hasn’t recovered from her death yet. Channing also had a spiritual advisor that traveled with him. Channing and his advisor believed that spirits of dead people tried to communicate to the living through the telephone. They believed that the calls that turned out to be nothing but static were actually calls from spirits. One of the estate’s phone lines, line 24, was devoted to just those calls. The line was answered by an answering machine. Not too many calls came in on that line, and most turned out to be sales calls.

Six black boxes containing strange items have been delivered to the estate. Ethan thought they were some kind of threat aimed at Channing, but he hadn’t been able to figure them out. The police wouldn’t get involved because there was no actual threatening letter or message. The final box was the only one that had been personally delivered. A security camera had captured footage of a man throwing the box over the fence and the licence plate number from the car. Ethan was able to trace the car to Rolf Reynard, an aspiring actor. Ethan decided to go see Rolf. That lead to the first of several very strange things that happened to Ethan. Ethan couldn’t find an explanation for what happened to him and he was even worried that he had been drugged.

Channing had a ten-year-old son named Aelfric that lived on the estate. Everyone but his mother called him Fric. His mother, Fredericka Nielander, was a super model. She and Channing had been divorced for several years. She didn’t see Fric very often. Fric spent a lot of time at the estate with the servants while Channing was away making movies. Fric got along with the servants, but he didn’t like the chef. Fric had asthma and he carried his inhaler everywhere with him. He spent a lot of time in the library reading. He liked to learn about strange things that other people didn’t know. Fric thought of his dad as Ghost Dad since he wasn’t around much. He would watch some of his dad’s movies, but never when anyone would see him doing it.

Fric started to receive phone calls from someone he didn’t know. The caller always knew where Fric was when he answered the phone. The caller also knew some other things. The caller told Fric that danger was coming in the form of Moloch and that Fric should find a secret hiding place in the house. Fric wasn’t sure what to think about the calls, but he did start looking for a place to hide. He had a strange experience in the attic concerning a mirror. That event made Fric afraid to go near any mirrors, including in the bathrooms. Fric was afraid to tell Ethan about the phone calls and what happened in the attic. Fric didn’t think he would be believed. He worried about being considered crazy.

Dunny Whistler was a childhood friend of Ethan and Hannah. The three had grown up together. Dunny had also fallen in love with her. Their friendship ended right around the time Ethan and Hannah got married because Dunny turned to a life of crime. Dunny and Ethan spoke briefly at Hannah’s funeral and on the phone once or twice after that. A few months before, Dunny was attacked and almost drowned in his own toilet. Dunny ended up in the hospital in a coma. Ethan was notified after the attack that Dunny had named him the executor of the estate. Ethan decided to visit Dunny after the strange things happened. When he arrived at the hospital, he learned that Dunny had died that morning. Dunny went down to the morgue to take care of what needed to be done. Dunny’s body disappeared and couldn’t be found anywhere. Ethan had a very bad feeling about that and was convinced that Dunny was wandering around town. Ethan had another very strange experience.

Corky Laputa, an anarchist, was spending his day dressed in a bright yellow rain coat spreading destruction, despair and distrust. He randomly poisoned flowers, shrubs, lawns, and dogs. He left hate mail in the mailboxes of people he thought were Jewish. He flooded a bathroom at the mall. Corky and Rolf had been working together on a project. Rolf called Corky with some news that really upset him. Corky decided that Rolf was a liability, but before he could kill him, someone else took care of that. Corky killed some other people though. He had big plans that involved Ethan and Fric. Corky received help from other people as well.

Hazard Yancy had been Ethan’s partner on the force. The two men were still friends. They met for lunch and Ethan talked about the boxes and the connection to Rolf. Hazard agreed to do some investigating. Right after he got there, Rolf was killed and Hazard was involved in a shooting with the killer. Something was found at Rolf’s apartment that indicated that he had been working with someone else and that they had planned to do something to a celebrity. Hazard decided to keep working with Ethan to try to figure out what was going on. That night Ethan and Fric talked. Fric did mention the phone calls, but he claimed they were only heavy breathers. Ethan sensed something else was bothering Fric. Ethan also noticed that line 24 seemed to be receiving an unusually high number of calls. The next day Ethan and Hazard worked to find out what was going on. Hazard felt like they had little time left before something happened.

I really enjoyed The Face. The book was entertaining and engrossing. It was very well written. It was extremely descriptive and detailed. I liked that about the book, but some people may not. The book grabbed my attention right from the beginning. I didn’t find any part of the book boring. I never knew what would happen next. I didn’t think the book was predictable, but there were a few things that happened that didn’t really surprise me.

The Face was a long book with more than 600 pages. The book might be too long for some people but it wasn’t for me. I like long books. There was a lot going on throughout the book. A lot more happened than what I discussed earlier. The plot was complicated and had several sub plots, but it wasn’t confusing. I had no trouble keeping track of the storylines. The action jumped around from storyline to storyline through the whole book. Some people may be annoyed by that, but I wasn’t. I was impatient for the book to get back to a certain storyline at times though. Long, complex books are nothing new for Dean Koontz. Many of his books are long and complex. People who are fans of his books will be use to that.

The Face, like other Dean Koontz books, had some strange things going on in it. Most Koontz books have some very different and strange things going on including monsters and supernatural elements. There weren’t any monsters in The Face, but there were some supernatural things going on. Some of Koontz’s books are stranger than others. I love his books, but some people may find them too strange. Koontz books are not for everyone. People should have an open mind to fully appreciate a Koontz book. Many of his books really aren’t that believable because of what happens, but they are entertaining. I thought that The Face was one of his more believable books.

The Face was a suspenseful book. I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. There was some mystery in the book. Someone was sending strange items to Channing. Ethan thought the ideas were threats, and he was working to figure out what they meant so he could protect his employer. While he was investigating, some very strange things happened to him. Ethan got his former partner Hazard to help him. They worked together to figure out what was going on. Hazard experienced a few strange things as well. The calls that Fric were receiving were also a mystery. I had no idea how things would work out. Just when I thought I had figured something else, something completly different would happen. I was surprised more than once by what happened.

The events that happened in The Face took place quickly. The main events in the book took place during a short time frame of about 36 hours. After everything was resolved, the book did jump forward a few days for a conversation between two characters and a bit of final wrap up. The book was fast paced, but I didn’t think it was rushed. This was not the first Koontz book to have a short time frame. Several of his other books covered a few days. There are even some Koontz books that only cover one day. It has been a while since I read Intensity, but I think that one only covered about twelve hours. The books may take place over a short time frame, but that time is jammed full of events.

In many, but not all of the Dean Koontz books I have read there has been some romance between two characters. There wasn’t any romance in The Face. Ethan was still dealing with his wife’s death. He had dated a little, but he hadn’t been serious about anyone. Ethan’s relationships with Fric, Hazard, and his former relationship with Dunny were explored in the book. There was even a bit of exploration of the relationship he’d had with Hannah before her death. The book also covered the relationship, or lack of one, that Fric had with his parents.

I didn’t really think that The Face was a violent book, but there was violence in some scenes, mainly related to things Corky did or was planning to do. Some characters were murdered, and those murders were described as they happened. Those scenes weren’t extremely graphic, but they could be upsetting to some readers. Corky did some other very cruel things and planned some things that were very cruel and disturbing. Just the character of Corky was disturbing. Some people will probably be very upset and disturbed by things that happened in the book. I was, but I still enjoyed it. Other people may not feel the same way. Even though there were some horrible things described in the book, there were also some very uplifting things that happened as well. I’m not saying any more about the uplifting moments because that would be giving away too much. There was very little swearing in the book, so that shouldn’t offend anyone.

I thought that the plot of The Face was fairly original. A celebrity being stalked or receiving threats isn’t anything new, but the way it was done and why it was done was different. There were also some other things in the book that were new and different. A few things about The Face did remind me of other Koontz books. Dunny’s body disappearing was a lot like what happened in Shadowfires, but the explanation was different. There were some other things that were mentioned, like a character easily getting fake IDs or having a special device to open locks, that have been mentioned in other Koontz books. Those things were just mentioned briefly in this book. I don’t remember those things being mentioned in Koontz’s more recent books before The Face.

Corky did remind me a bit of villains in other Dean Koontz books, but I can’t seem to think exactly which characters he is reminding me of. It has been a while since I’ve read some of Koontz's other books. The actions of Corky are what I found to be scary in The Face. Since he was an actual person, though twisted, instead of a monster, that made this book more scary to me. It seems a little more likely that there would be a person doing what Corky did instead of things that happened in other Koontz books. I hope there isn’t anyone like Corky in the world doing what he was doing. The possibility of that is terrifying to me.

There were many characters in The Face. Some of them only showed up in a scene here and there. Others were main characters and showed up all through the book. There were some very unusual characters, like the multimillionaire anarchist that lived in a modest house with almost every wall lined with shelves of porn movies. Ethan, Fric, and Corky were the main characters and the most developed. I think that Corky was the least developed of the three, but he was still well developed. Hazard was also in a lot of the book and fairly well developed. The characters that were only in a few scenes were the ones that weren’t developed much. Channing was important to the plot of the book since he was Fric’s father and Ethan’s employer, but Channing was never actually in the book. All the reader knew about him was what the other characters thought about him.

CHARACTERS

Ethan Truman - He was a former police officer who was now head of security for Channing Manheim. Ethan had lost the drive to be a police officer after his wife died. He lost his dedication to the job. He remained friends with his former partner. Ethan took his job for Channing seriously. He was working to find out who was behind the bizarre boxes that were sent to Channing. He dealt with some strange things in a short amount of time and managed to keep his sanity. He thought that if something horrible happened as a result of him not figuring out what the boxes meant, then it would be his fault. He was a kind man.

Fric - He was the ten-year-old son of Channing Manheim. Fric was a small boy who had asthma. He had no interest in going into the movie business. He didn’t spend much time with either of his parents, but he saw even less of his mother. Fric spent a lot of time reading and he liked to learn about obscure things that other people didn’t know about. He privately called his dad Ghost Dad. He was worried that he wasn’t good enough for his parents. When strange things started to happen he was worried that he would be called crazy. Fric was a smart, resourceful boy.

Corky Laputa - He taught literature at a college. He was an anarchist. He enjoyed causing mayhem and destruction in big and small ways. He never missed an opportunity to cause trouble. When he found himself alone in a men’s room, he flooded it. When he saw a group of children playing while their parents were distracted, he dropped a bag with some drugged candy where they would find it. Corky was a cruel man. He had big plans that involved Fric and Ethan. Corky had even done some practicing on a colleague. He regularly depended on help from others, though he didn’t really trust anyone. He was cold blooded.

Hazard Yancy - Ethan’s former partner. Hazard was a big man that had been shot at several times. He was still friends with Ethan and he agreed to check on Rolf for Ethan. Hazard believed the strange things Ethan told him and even had some strange experiences of his own. Hazard was kind to his friends, but he did get ticked off at times.

Dunny Whistler - He and Ethan had been friends growing up. Dunny had also loved Hannah. They came from a bad neighborhood. Ethan and Hannah got out. Dunny turned to a life of crime. That ended the friendship. Dunny was upset by Hannah’s death. The two men talked at the funeral and once or twice on the phone after that. During one of the conversations, Dunny said he had been doing a lot of thinking and he’d turned his life around. A few months earlier, someone from Dunny’s past attacked him and tried to drown him in the toilet in his home. Dunny ended up in a hospital in a coma. Ethan was the executor of Dunny’s estate. Dunny died while Ethan was experiencing some strange things. His body disappeared from the hospital.

I really enjoyed The Face. It was entertaining, scary, disturbing, and uplifting. The book shared a few things with some other Koontz books, but it had its own plot. The book is definitely worth reading. Fans of Koontz should like this one.

Thanks to GraceF for getting this book added for me.

www.deankoontz.com
www.bantamdell.com

Other Dean Koontz reviews
False Memory ~ One Door Away From Heaven ~ Shadowfires ~ By the Light of the Moon ~ Phantoms ~ Odd Thomas ~


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