- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleFalse Memory opens in familiar Koontz territory -- sunny California, where Martie Rhodes, a young video game designer, apparently has it all: a good job, a loving husband, and another Koontz staple -- an adorable and highly anthropomorphized pooch. Those around her have their share of woes, however -- her best friend is suffering from a debilitating case of agoraphobia and her brother-in-law has recently attempted suicide, claiming that an angel made him do it. With no warning, Martie is suddenly struck with an insidious and extremely rare mental illness: autophobia, the fear of one's self. Dark and diabolical impulses are overloading her tortured psyche; she sees car keys and scissors and lethal weapons and is afraid she may seize the knife and pull a Norman Bates on her near and dear. She insists that her husband tie her up at night, not for any consensual, good clean fun, but out of fear of what she may do to herself or to him. Martie's husband, Dusty, believes that this is more than mere coincidence, and he's right. After all, he's in a Dean Koontz novel, so of course these events are no mere outbreak of mass mental illness. After Dusty begins experiencing inexplicable periods of missing time, he's determined to uncover the shocking truth, and he will come face-to-face with a powerful and thoroughly evil adversary.
The villain of the piece is identified early in the story, thus removing the element of mystery, but the subsequent game of psychological cat-and-mouse keeps you listening, almost tempting you to pop in the last tape to end the suspense. But don't -- sit back and enjoy this audio roller coaster ride. The bad guy is one of the loathsome characters in recent popular fiction. Comparisons may be made to Hannibal Lecter, but this madman gorges on junk food, not fava beans and a nice Chianti. And while he's arguably nastier than the redoubtable Lecter, he's absent Hannibal's not inconsiderable charm -- evil incarnate to be sure, but lacking the good doctor's "bite."
Audiobook veteran Stephen Lang's dulcet tones add to the mood of malevolent menace. A respected film and stage actor, his character shifts are subtle and effective. He doesn't engage in vocal histrionics to create various personae, yet he ably delineates the characters, both male and female, hero and villain. Koontz's tales lend themselves admirably to the spoken word -- Koontz is primarily a yarn-spinner, and the oral tradition of storytelling is as old as mankind itself. This is a recommended and riveting audiobook experience.
The suspense was sometimes so excruciating that I uncharacteristically found myself shouting warnings to the characters as I listened on my Walkman -- an inadvisable activity on a New York City subway, though I was hardly the only passenger talking to himself. The NYC subway system is an eminently Koontz-ian landscape indeed.