2 journalers for this copy...
When "The Face", the world-renowned Hollywood star, receives disturbing parcels, it's Ethan Truman's job to solve the riddle and keep his boss alive. With the Face safely away, Truman is more worried about the supernatural incidents that only started recently when his childhood friend died in hospital. Little does he know that the death threats are actually aimed at the Face's ten-year-old son all alone in the big mansion, or that the boy has been getting creepy phonecalls from beyond the grave.
The novel manages to walk the fine line between thriller and horror. It's certainly managed to rekindle my old fear of mirrors at night, and I was too scared to continue reading whenever the clock approached midnight. Interestingly, there are two distinct sources for this uneasiness, one of which is very much supernatural, the other decidedly not. It's hard to say which of them is the creepier one.
Spoiler, mouse-over to make visible: My uneasiness lessened considerably, along with Fric's, once it became clear that it was (dead) Dunny calling to warn him in the role of some kind of guardian angel rather than, say, a demonic entity or "Moloch" (Laputa) himself. I loved that all the traditional horror elements came courtesy of the side of "good", whereas Laputa is evil impersonated and yet entirely human without any spooky elements whatsoever.
This is probably going to sound troubling, but I was fascinated by Laputa's philosophy of sowing chaos and discord in the form of many small evils committed seemingly at random. Now obviously I don't condone his acts of slaughter and terror (I already oppose property damage and littering) but if that was his goal, he was going about it admirably.
More spoilers: Laputa's torture of his colleague was so mind-bendingly, jaw-droppingly vile that I came out on the other side full of awe of Koontz' imagination and descriptive power. I was ever so glad when Hazard came across Professor Dalton even if the poor guy is probably going to spend quite some time in a wheelchair and the rest of his life battling nightmares. Having Hazard meet Dalton's wife and daughter only shortly before was a nice touch that added heaps to the mix of worry, hope and (eventually) relief.
I loved the eventual solution to the riddles. The first ones I had no hope of solving, though I'd at least heard of the "little boys" rhyme before. The apple, on the other hand, seemed obvious to me from the start, but then I had knowledge that Ethan only received at the very end. And oh, I loved the ending, both the showdown and the part that came after it (epilogue? cooldown?)
Yet another spoiler, you know the drill: A dead man's locket seems a macabre gift for a little boy, especially as it used to belong to his would-be murderer. On the other hand, Fric doesn't know (yet) and is going to cherish this very special gift for years to come. One might even argue that seeing how Fric's wanna-be murderer ended up being strangled by this very locket, describing it as some sort of amulet with protective properties is not that far from the truth.
A good book, though easily spooked readers should abstain from reading (at least the first part) at night.
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