From the Corner of His Eye

From the Corner of His Eye

4.2 309
by Dean Koontz

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Dean Koontz has been called "America's most popular suspense novelist,* but that only begins to describe the rich variety and endless invention that characterize his work. Critics hail his impeccable craft and the artistry that has inspired the devotion of millions of fans around the world. He is unique among contemporary writers, venturing far beyond

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Dean Koontz has been called "America's most popular suspense novelist,* but that only begins to describe the rich variety and endless invention that characterize his work. Critics hail his impeccable craft and the artistry that has inspired the devotion of millions of fans around the world. He is unique among contemporary writers, venturing far beyond traditional boundaries to explore our deepest fears and most transcendent aspirations.

Now, in From the Corner of His Eye, Koontz brings together his most powerful themes to draw readers into a spellbinding world made by a master at the top of his form; a story rich in triumph and tragedy, joy and terror, love, hate, and profound meaning, played out by perhaps the most unforgettable cast of characters he has yet created.

Bartholomew Lampion is born in Bright Beach, California, on a day of tragedy and terror, when the lives of everyone in his family are changed forever. Remarkable events accompany his birth, and everyone agrees that his unusual eyes are the most beautiful they have ever seen.

On this same day, a thousand miles away, a ruthless man learns that he has a mortal enemy named Bartholomew. He doesn't know who Bartholomew is, but he embarks on a search that will become the purpose of his life. If ever he finds the right Bartholomew, he will deal mercilessly with him.

And in San Francisco, a girl is born, the result of a violent rape. Her survival is miraculous, and her destiny is mysteriously linked to the fates of Barty and the man who stalks him.

At the age of three, Barty Lampion is blinded when surgeons reluctantly remove his eyes to save him from a fast-spreadingcancer. As the growing boy copes with his blindness and proves to be a prodigy, his mother, an exceptional woman, counsels him that all things happen for a reason, that there is meaning even in his suffering, and that he will affect the lives of people yet unknown to him in ways startling and profound.

At thirteen, Bartholomew regains his sight. How he regains it, why he regains it, and what happens as his amazing life unfolds results in a breathtaking journey of courage, heart-stopping suspense, and high adventure. His mother once told him that every person's life has an effect on every other person's, in often unknowable ways, and Barty's eventful life indeed entwines with others in ways that will astonish and move everyone who reads his story.

People magazine has said that Dean Koontz has the "power to scare the daylights out of us. In this, perhaps the most thrilling, suspenseful, and emotionally powerful work of his critically acclaimed career, Koontz does that and far more. He has created a compulsive page-turner that will have you at the edge of your seat, a narrative tour de force that will change the way you yourself look at the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Don D'Ammassa
This is a conventional serial killer story, but it's a very good one.
Science Fiction Chronicle
Koontz narrates his latest book from the point of view of a number of characters, including the dangerous Junior Cain. Cain, a sadist and murderer, is convinced that he must kill in order to fulfill his life's purpose. Soon Cain sets his sights on a child named Bartholomew, a mathematical and linguistic prodigy whose angelic mother delivers pies to the hungry. A variety of unimaginative characters populate the book, including a priest-turned-policeman who makes catching Cain his new calling. The many good characters never stray from stereotype and do anything wrong or small or selfish, and even the villainous Cain often comes across as silly.
—Jennifer Braunschweiger

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The premise behind Koontz's new novel is the same that buoyed Michael Crichton's TimelineDthat there exist multitudes of alternate universes, each varying only slightly from the next. Whereas Crichton used the idea to generate high adventure, however, Koontz employs it to create powerful emotion tinged with spiritual wonder. That emotion, which rocks characters and will shake readers, marks this as one of Koontz's most affecting novelsDand he's written a lot of them. But there's else in this fitfully suspenseful, sprawling story of good vs. evil that will leave readers wishing Koontz would make better friends with his delete key. Above all, there's the villain, Junior Cain, whose opening homicidal act will shock readers like ice water on the spine. Koontz enlivens dashing Junior with lots of neat touchesDe.g., he develops psychosomatic afflictions (vomiting, boils) after each kill, but Junior seems built from the outside in, more a pile of tics than a full-fledged human. On the side of good, the characters are more engaging, especially two psychospiritually gifted children and Thomas Vanadium, the magic-working priest-turned-cop who gets on Junior's case like a pit bull. Vanadium's lust for justice will galvanize readers, as will the trials and triumphs of the children, particularly the boy, Bartholomew, who Junior sees in one working out of Koontz's theme of the interconnectedness of all life as his mortal enemy and seeks to destroy. The potency of that theme and Bartholomew's wisdom in the face of personal tragedy provide the novel with great uplift, in spite of its wildly convoluted story line and excessive verbiage. (Dec. 26) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
On an unseasonably warm January day in 1965, Junior Cain and Naomi, his beautiful wife of fourteen months, strike out on a hike through the forests of the Oregon coast. Their destination is a 150-foot fire tower with commanding views of the surrounding woods. Junior and Naomi climb to the top of the decrepit tower to enjoy the scenery, whereupon Junior shoves Naomi through rotted railings to her death. At the same time, in Bright Beach, California, Bartholomew Lampion is born. On the way to the hospital for his delivery, Barty's parents are involved in an automobile accident that tragically claims the life of Barty's father. Concurrently, in San Francisco, the victim of a brutal rape dies while giving birth to a precious daughter, Angel. The destinies of the stone cold killer and the two babies are linked inextricably and ultimately coalesce in a climax that is astonishing and deeply moving. The author's name alone, of course, will sell this book, but my oh my, this might be Koontz's best effort yet. The large cast of characters, particularly the fully developed main players, is richly imagined. The plot is suspenseful and complex. Informing the novel throughout is a fascinating theory that involves quantum mechanics, faith, and human relationships. In short, From the Corner of His Eye is a page-turner with soul. Teen Koontz fans will not be disappointed. (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). Ages 16 to Adult. Reviewer: Randy Brough June 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 2)
Library Journal
Weird doings here: on the day Bartholomew is born, an evil stranger far away learns that he will eventually be thwarted by someone with that name and starts stalking the little fellow. This thriller will be released on December 26. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
From the Publisher
“A literary miracle . . . a tapestry of intrigue and suspense.”—The Boston Globe
“Wonderful . . . a deeply satisfying, rich novel. From the Corner of His Eye is magic.”—The Times-Picayune
“May be Koontz’s crowning achievement . . . In this first-rate thriller, nonstop action keeps on turning the pages.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“An explosion of emotion and wonder . . . as gripping a novel as you’ll find, and as thought-provoking.”—Baton Rouge Advocate

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.19(w) x 6.87(h) x 1.23(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Bartholomew Lampion was blinded at the age of three, when surgeons reluctantly removed his eyes to save him from a fast-spreading cancer; but although eyeless, Barty regained his sight when he was thirteen.

This sudden ascent from a decade of darkness into the glory of light was not brought about by the hands of a holy healer. No celestial trumpets announced the restoration of his vision, just as none had announced his birth.

A roller coaster had something to do with his recovery, as did a seagull. And you can't discount the importance of Barty's profound desire to make his mother proud of him before her second death.

The first time she died was the day Barty was born.

January 6, 1965.

In Bright Beach, California, most residents spoke of Barty's mother, Agnes Lampion -- also known as the Pie Lady -- with affection. She lived for others, her heart tuned to their anguish and their needs. In this materialistic world, her selflessness was cause for suspicion among those whose blood was as rich with cynicism as with iron. Even such hard souls, however, admitted that the Pie Lady had countless admirers and no enemies.

The man who tore the Lampion family's world apart, on the night of Barty's birth, had not been her enemy. He was a stranger, but the chain of his destiny shared a link with theirs.

Chapter 2

January 6, 1965, shortly after eight o'clock in the morning, Agnes had entered first-stage labor while baking six blueberry pies. This wasn't false labor again, because the pains extended around her entire back and across her abdomen, rather than being limited to the lower abdomen and groin. The spasms were worse when she walked than when she stood still or sat down: another sign of the real thing.

Her discomfort wasn't severe. The contractions were regular but widely separated. She refused to be admitted to the hospital until she completed the day's scheduled tasks.

For a woman in her first pregnancy, this stage of labor lasts twelve hours on average. Agnes believed herself to be average in every regard, as comfortably ordinary as the gray jogging suit with drawstring waist that she wore to accommodate her baby-stretched physique; therefore, she was confident that she wouldn't proceed to second-stage labor much sooner than ten o'clock in the evening.

Joe, her husband, wanted to rush her to the hospital long before noon. After packing his wife's suitcase and stowing it in the car, he canceled his appointments and loitered in her vicinity, although he was careful to stay always one room away from her, lest she become annoyed by his smothering concern and chase him out of the house.

Each time that he heard Agnes groan softly or inhale with a hiss of pain, he tried to time her contractions. He spent so much of the day studying his wristwatch that when he lanced at his face in the foyer mirror, he expected to see the faint reflection of a sweeping second hand clocking around and around in his eyes.

Joe was a worrier, although he didn't look like one. Tall, strong, he could have subbed for Samson, pulling down pillars and collapsing roofs upon the Philistines. He was gentle by nature, however, and lacked the arrogance and the reckless confidence of many men his size. Although happy, even jolly, he believed that he had been too richly blessed with fortune, friends, and family. Surely one day fate would make adjustments to his brimming accounts.

He wasn't wealthy, merely comfortable, but he never worried about losing his money, because he could always earn more through hard work and diligence. Instead, on restless nights, he was kept sleepless by the quiet dread of losing those he loved. Life was like the ice on an early-winter pond: more fragile than it appeared to be, riddled by hidden fractures, with a cold darkness below.

Besides, to Joe Lampion, Agnes was not in any way average, regardless of what she might think. She was glorious, unique. He didn't put her on a pedestal, because a mere pedestal didn't raise her as high as she deserved to be raised.

If ever he lost her, he would be lost, too.

Throughout the morning, Joe Lampion brooded about every known medical complication associated with childbirth. He had learned more than he needed to know on this subject, months earlier, from a thick medical-reference work that had raised the hair on the back of his neck more effectively and more often than any thriller he had ever read.

At 12:50, unable to purge his mind of textbook descriptions of antepartum hemorrhage, postpartum hemorrhage, and violent eclamptic convulsions, he burst through the swinging door, into the kitchen, and announced, "All right, Aggie, enough. We've waited long enough."

At the breakfast table, she was writing notes in the gift cards that would accompany the six blueberry pies that she had baked that morning. "I feel fine, Joey."

Other than Aggie, no one called him Joey. He was six feet three, 230 pounds, with a stone-quarry face that was all slabs and crags, fearsome until he spoke in his low musical voice or until you noticed the kindness in his eyes.

"We're going to the hospital now," he insisted, looming over her at the table.

"No, dear, not yet."

Even though Aggie was just five feet three and, minus the pounds of her unborn child, less than half Joey's weight, she could not have been lifted out of the chair, against her will, even if he'd brought with him a power winch and the will to use it. In any confrontation with Aggie, Joey was always Samson shorn, never Samson pre-haircut.

With a glower that would have convinced a rattlesnake to uncoil and lie as supine as an earthworm, Joey said, "Please?"

"I have pie notes to write, so Edom can make deliveries for me in the morning."

"There's only one delivery I'm worried about."

"Well, I'm worried about seven. Six pies and one baby."

"You and your pies," he said with frustration.

"You and your worrying," she countered, favoring him with a smile that affected his heart as sun did butter.

He sighed. "The notes, and then we go."

"The notes. Then Maria comes for her English lesson. And then we go."

"You're in no condition to give an English lesson."

"Teaching English doesn't require heavy lifting, dear."

She did not pause in her note writing when she spoke to him, and he watched the elegantly formed script stream from the tip of her ballpoint pen as though she were but a conduit that carried the words from a higher source.

Finally, Joey leaned across the table, and Aggie looked up at him through the great silent fall of his shadow, her green eyes shining in the shade that he cast. He lowered his raw-granite face to her porcelain features, and as if yearning to be shattered, she raised up slightly to meet his kiss.

"I love you, is all, "he said, and the helplessness in his voice exasperated him.

"Is all?" She kissed him again. "Is everything."

"So what do I do to keep from going crazy?"

The doorbell rang.

"Answer that," she suggested.

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