The Good Guy
  • The Good Guy
  • The Good Guy

The Good Guy

4.1 190
by Dean Koontz

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Timothy Carrier, having a beer after work at his friend’s tavern, enjoys drawing eccentric customers into amusing conversations. But the jittery man who sits next to him tonight has mistaken Tim for someone very different—and passes to him a manila envelope full of cash.

“Ten thousand now. You get the rest when she’s

…  See more details below


Timothy Carrier, having a beer after work at his friend’s tavern, enjoys drawing eccentric customers into amusing conversations. But the jittery man who sits next to him tonight has mistaken Tim for someone very different—and passes to him a manila envelope full of cash.

“Ten thousand now. You get the rest when she’s gone.

The stranger walks out, leaving a photo of the pretty woman marked for death, and her address. But things are about to get worse. In minutes another stranger sits next to Tim. This one is a cold-blooded killer who believes Tim is the man who has hired him.

Thinking fast, Tim says, “I’ve had a change of heart. You get ten thousand—for doing nothing. Call it a no-kill fee.” He keeps the photo and gives the money to the hired killer. And when Tim secretly follows the man out of the tavern, he gets a further shock: the hired killer is a cop.

Suddenly, Tim Carrier, an ordinary guy, is at the center of a mystery of extraordinary proportions, the one man who can save an innocent life and stop a killer far more powerful than any cop…and as relentless as evil incarnate. But first Tim must discover within himself the capacity for selflessness, endurance, and courage that can turn even an ordinary man into a hero, inner resources that will transform his idea of who he is and what it takes to be The Good Guy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Dark suspense leavened by just enough sentiment.... Fans of Koontz will recognize and relish his trademark, gently ironic dialogue and firmly fleshed characterizations.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A thriller so compelling many readers will race through the book in one sitting.... , the novel’s breathless pacing, clever twists and adroit characterizations all add up to superior entertainment.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"White-knuckle suspense as gripping as any Koontz has ever written."—Booklist

“Shades of Alfred Hitchcock.... Get ready for tension as only Koontz can create it.”—Sacramento Bee

“Dean Koontz is a master of his craft.... [He] will make you think twice about the high price of being an innocent bystander.... Chalk up another one for the good guy, who knows how to search for a small patch of light as darkness threatens all around.”—New Orleans Times Picayune

The Barnes & Noble Review
Reminiscent of recent bestselling releases like The Husband and Velocity, Dean Koontz's The Good Guy revolves around an ordinary man forced into an extraordinary situation. Unassuming mason Tim Carrier is having a beer after work at his favorite watering hole when a man sits down beside him, slides a manila envelope across the bar, and says, "Half of it's here. Ten thousand. The rest when she's gone." Surprised by the outlandish statement, Carrier plays along until the nervous man suddenly ups and leaves. Curious, Carrier opens the envelope and soon finds himself entangled in a life-and-death struggle in which he and the targeted victim -- a beautiful and eccentric writer named Linda Paquette -- must somehow stay one step ahead of a seemingly unstoppable professional killer with ties to the highest levels of government. As the duo flee for their lives, they begin to learn more about each other -- and the bizarre set of circumstances that have brought them together.

One of the most popular suspense novelists in the world, the prolific Koontz always seems to deliver the spine-tingling goods in blockbuster fashion: and The Good Guy is no different. Readers will be instantly drawn into this breakneck-paced and pulse-pounding story that features vicious assassins, dark conspiracies, and an unlikely -- and endearing -- hero. Those who enjoy talking to complete strangers at bars may think twice about doing so after reading this paranoia-inducing novel. Classic Koontz. Paul Goat Allen
Library Journal
Timothy Carrier goes to the local bar for a drink and instead is handed a wad of cash and a photograph; someone thinks he's a killer-for-hire. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Another likable thriller by Koontz (Brother Odd, 2006) pits a decent guy against the arbitrary forces of evil. Relaxing after work in his favorite bar, L.A.'s Lamplighter Tavern, 30-year-old bricklayer Tim Carrier is mistaken for a hit man hired to kill someone named Linda Paquette. Handed $10,000 as down payment before he can say no, Tim tries to fend off the real killer (who turns up a few minutes later) by handing him the money but calling off the hit. Professional gunman Krait soon learns of the mix-up, however, and comes after Tim. The bricklayer at first considers going to the police, but quickly recognizes that this dapper, resolute bad guy has high connections and may even be a cop himself. So our honorable protagonist heads to Linda's home in Laguna Beach, where he finds an attractive, enigmatic pulp novelist who has no idea why anyone would want her dead. Eluding Krait, Tim and Linda get into one scrape after the other; eventually, the two lonely outsiders fall in love. What prompted Linda's death sentence? Was it a visit to a coffee shop frequented by a senator making shady deals? Fans of Koontz will recognize and relish his trademark, gently ironic dialogue and firmly fleshed characterizations. Especially notable is the portrait of Krait, a vicious killer who also happens to be a person of good taste, fond of inhabiting other people's houses while they're gone and using their environmentally friendly products. Other true-to-life figures include Tim's barman buddy Liam Rooney, his good-as-gold wife Michelle, cop Pete Santo and a shy dog named Zoey. Even Tim's devoted mother makes an appearance. Dark suspense leavened by just enough sentiment.

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.43(w) x 9.51(h) x 1.43(d)

Read an Excerpt

Sometimes a mayfly skates across a pond, leaving a brief wake as thin as spider silk, and by staying low avoids those birds and bats that feed in flight.

At six feet three, weighing two hundred ten pounds, with big hands and bigger feet, Timothy Carrier could not maintain a profile as low as that of a skating mayfly, but he tried.

Shod in heavy work boots, with a John Wayne walk that came naturally to him and that he could not change, he nevertheless entered the Lamplighter Tavern and proceeded to the farther end of the room without drawing attention to himself. None of the three men near the door, at the short length of the “L”-shaped bar, glanced at him. Neither did the couples in two of the booths.

When he sat on the end stool, in shadows beyond the last of the downlights that polished the molasses-colored mahogany bar, he sighed with contentment. From the perspective of the front door, he was the smallest man in the room.

If the forward end of the Lamplighter was the driver’s deck of the locomotive, this was the caboose. Those who chose to sit here on a slow Monday evening would most likely be quiet company.

Liam Rooney–who was the owner and, tonight, the only barkeep–drew a draft beer from the tap and put it in front of Tim.

“Some night you’ll walk in here with a date,” Rooney said, “and the shock will kill me.”

“Why would I bring a date to this dump?”

“What else do you know but this dump?”

“I’ve also got a favorite doughnut shop.”

“Yeah. After the two of you scarf down a dozen glazed, you could take her to a big expensive restaurant in Newport Beach, sit on the curb, and watch the valets park all the fancy cars.”

Tim sipped his beer, and Rooney wiped the bar though it was clean, and Tim said, “You got lucky, finding Michelle. They don’t make them like her anymore.”

“Michelle’s thirty, same age as us. If they don’t make ’em like her anymore, where’d she come from?”

“It’s a mystery.”

“To be a winner, you gotta be in the game,” Rooney said.

“I’m in the game.”

“Shooting hoops alone isn’t a game.”

“Don’t worry about me. I’ve got women beating on my door.”

“Yeah,” Rooney said, “but they come in pairs and they want to tell you about Jesus.”

“Nothing wrong with that. They care about my soul. Anybody ever tell you, you’re a sarcastic sonofabitch?”

“You did. Like a thousand times. I never get tired of hearing it. This guy was in here earlier, he’s forty, never been married, and now they cut off his testicles.”

“Who cut off his testicles?”

“Some doctors.”

“You get me the names of those doctors,” Tim said. “I don’t want to go to one by accident.”

“The guy had cancer. Point is, now he can never have kids.”

“What’s so great about having kids, the way the world is?”

Rooney looked like a black-belt wannabe who, though never having taken a karate lesson, had tried to break a lot of concrete blocks with his face. His eyes, however, were blue windows full of warm light, and his heart was good.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Rooney said. “A wife, kids, a place you can hold fast to while the rest of the world spins apart.”

“Methuselah lived to be nine hundred, and he was begetting kids right to the end.”


“That’s what they did in those days. They begot.”

“So you’re going to–what?–wait to start a family till you’re six hundred?”

“You and Michelle don’t have kids.”

“We’re workin’ on it.” Rooney bent over, folded his arms on the bar, and put himself face-to-face with Tim. “What’d you do today, Doorman?”

Tim frowned. “Don’t call me that.”

“So what’d you do today?”

“The usual. Built some wall.”

“What’ll you do tomorrow?”

“Build some more wall.”

“Who for?”

“For whoever pays me.”

“I work this place seventy hours a week, sometimes longer, but not for the customers.”

“Your customers are aware of that,” Tim assured him.

“Who’s the sarcastic sonofabitch now?”

“You still have the crown, but I’m a contender.”

“I work for Michelle and for the kids we’re gonna have. You need somebody to work for besides who pays you, somebody special to build something with, to share a future with.”

“Liam, you sure do have beautiful eyes.”

“Me and Michelle–we worry about you, bro.”

Tim puckered his lips.

Rooney said, “Alone doesn’t work for anybody.”

Tim made kissing noises.

Leaning closer, until their faces were mere inches apart, Rooney said, “You want to kiss me?”

“Well, you seem to care about me so much.”

“I’ll park my ass on the bar. You can kiss that.”

“No thanks. I don’t want to have to cut off my lips.”

“You know what your problem is, Doorman?”

“There you go again.”


“Wrong. I’m not afraid of cars.”

“You’re afraid of yourself. No, that isn’t right, either. You’re afraid of your potential.”

“You’d make a great high-school guidance counselor,” Tim said. “I thought this place served free pretzels. Where’re my pretzels?”

“Some drunk threw up on them. I’ve almost finished wiping them off.”

“Okay. But I don’t want them if they’re soggy.”

Rooney fetched a bowl of pretzels from the backbar and put them beside Tim’s beer. “Michelle has this cousin, Shaydra, she’s sweet.”

“What kind of name is Shaydra? Isn’t anyone named Mary anymore?”

“I’m gonna set you up with Shaydra for a date.”

“No point to it. Tomorrow, I’m having my testicles cut off.”

“Put them in a jar, bring them on the date. It’ll be a great ice-breaker,” said Rooney, and returned to the other end of the bar, where the three lively customers were busy paying the college tuition for the as-yet-unborn Rooney children.

For a few minutes, Tim worked at convincing himself that beer and pretzels were all he needed. Conviction was assisted by picturing Shaydra as a bovine person with one eyebrow and foot-long braided nose hairs.

As usual, the tavern soothed him. He didn’t even need the beer to take the sharp edges off his day; the room itself did the job, though he did not fully understand the reason for its calming effect.

The air smelled of stale beer and fresh beer, of spilled brine from the big sausage jar, of bar wax and shuffleboard powder. From the small kitchen came the aroma of hamburgers frying on a griddle and onion rings crispening in hot oil.

The warm bath of agreeable scents, the illuminated Budweiser clock and the soft shadows in which he sat, the murmurs of the couples in the booths behind him and the immortal voice of Patsy Cline on the jukebox were so familiar that by comparison his own home would seem to be foreign territory.

Maybe the tavern comforted him because it represented, if not permanence, at least continuance. In a world rapidly and ceaselessly transforming, the Lamplighter resisted the slightest change.

Tim expected no surprises here, and wanted none. New experiences were overrated. Being run down by a bus would be a new experience.

He preferred the familiar, the routine. He would never be at risk of falling off a mountain because he would never climb one.

 Some said he lacked a sense of adventure. Tim saw no point in suggesting to them that intrepid expeditions through exotic lands and across strange seas were the quests of crawling children compared to the adventures waiting in the eight inches between the left ear and the right.

If he made that observation, they would think him a fool. He was just a mason, after all, a bricklayer. He was expected not to think too much.

These days, most people avoided thinking, especially about the future. They preferred the comfort of blind convictions to clear-eyed thought.

Others accused him of being old-fashioned. Guilty as charged.

The past was rich with known beauty and fully rewarded a look backward. He was a hopeful man, but not presumptuous enough to assume that beauty lay, as well, in the unknown future.

An interesting guy came into the tavern. He was tall, although not as tall as Tim, solid but not formidable.

His manner, rather than his appearance, made him interesting. He entered like an animal with a predator on its trail, peering back through the door until it swung shut, and then warily surveying the premises, as though distrusting the promise of refuge.

When the newcomer approached and sat at the bar, Tim stared at his Pilsner glass as if it were a sacred chalice, as though he were brooding on the profound meaning of its contents. By assuming a devotional demeanor, rather than a pose of sullen solitude, he allowed strangers the option of conversation without encouraging it.

If the first words out of the newcomer’s mouth were those of a bigot or a political nut, or the wrong kind of fool, Tim could morph from a pose of spiritual or nostalgic reverie to one of bitter silence and barely repressed violence. Few people would try more than twice to break the ice when the only response was a glacial chill.
Tim preferred quiet contemplation at this altar, but he enjoyed the right kind of conversation, too. The right kind was uncommon.

When you initiated a conversation, you could have a hard time putting an end to it. When the other guy spoke first, however, and revealed his nature, you could shut him down by shutting him out.

Diligent in the support of his yet-to-be-conceived children, Rooney arrived. “What’ll it be?”

The stranger put a thick manila envelope on the bar and kept his left hand on it. “Maybe . . . a beer.”

Rooney waited, eyebrows raised.

“Yes. All right. A beer,” said the newcomer.

“On tap, I have Budweiser, Miller Lite, and Heineken.”

“Okay. Well . . . then . . . I guess . . . Heineken.”

His voice was as thin and taut as a telephone wire, his words like birds perched at discreet intervals, resonant with a plucked note that might have been dismay.

By the time Rooney brought the beer, the stranger had money on the bar. “Keep the change.”

Evidently a second round was out of the question.

When Rooney went away, the stranger wrapped his right hand around the beer glass. He did not take a sip.

Tim was a wet nurse. That was the mocking title Rooney had given him because of his ability to nurse two beers through a long evening. Sometimes he asked for ice to enliven a warm brew.

Even if you weren’t a heavy drinker, however, you wanted the first swallow of beer when it was at its coldest, fresh from the tap.

Like a sniper intent on a target, Tim focused on his Budweiser, but like a good sniper, he also had keen peripheral vision. He could see that the stranger had still not lifted the glass of Heineken.

The guy did not appear to be a habitué of taverns, and evidently he didn’t want to be in this one, on this night, at this hour.

At last he said, “I’m early.”

Tim wasn’t sure if this was a conversation he wanted.

“I guess,” said the stranger, “everyone wants to be early, size things up.”

Tim was getting a bad vibe. Not a look-out-he’s-a-werewolf kind of vibe, just a feeling that the guy might be tedious.

The stranger said, “I jumped out of an airplane with my dog.”

On the other hand, the best hope of a memorable barroom conversation is to have the good luck to encounter an eccentric.

Tim’s spirits lifted. Turning to the skydiver, he said, “What was his name?”

“Whose name?”

“The dog’s.”


“Funny name for a dog.”

“I named him after my brother.”

“What did your brother think of that?”

“My brother is dead.”

Tim said, “I’m sorry to hear it.”

“That was a long time ago.”

“Did Larry like sky-diving?”

“He never went. He died when he was sixteen.”

“I mean Larry the dog.”

“Yeah. He seemed to like it. I bring it up only because my stomach is in knots like it was when we jumped.”

“This has been a bad day, huh?”

The stranger frowned. “What do you think?”

Tim nodded. “Bad day.”

Continuing to frown, the skydiver said, “You are him, aren’t you?”

The art of barroom banter is not like playing Mozart on the piano. It’s freestyle, a jam session. The rhythms are instinctual.

“Are you him?” the stranger asked again.

Tim said, “Who else would I be?”

“You look so . . . ordinary.

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The Good Guy 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 190 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, Dean Koontz is usually at his best when writing in a realistic vein. This novel has none of the other-worldly overtones or supernatural elements so prominent in much of his work. This is a straight-up thriller. Dean gives us a quirky serial killer, a Hitchcockian premise, a nail-biting chase, some witty (but cliched) dialogue, and a bit of preaching (his libertarian political views are clearly on display). The story is, however, somewhat predictable and is very similar in its themes and plot to other recent Koontz novels (Velocity and The Husband come to mind). For a light and breezy way to pass a summer day, it's worth checking out.
TulaneGirl More than 1 year ago
Usually I'm intrigued by the characters and their thrilling journey. This, however, was slightly disappointing. Although the male lead character was engaging, the female lead was not as engaging and at times irritated me. I was unable to connect with her and sometimes wished the killer-for-hire would just get her already. He definitely has better books to represent him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a Koontz fan, I found this to be a disappointing read. It was very predictable and the end made me wonder if he was close to a publisher's deadline and wrapped up in a hurry.
catloverMJ More than 1 year ago
I usually enjoy Kean Koontz books, but The Good Guy was very dragged out and did not keep my interest. I got bored with it and only read half the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
thought it was OKAY. I really like the killers character. Would have like to see more of him. Thought the ending was way over the top. Loads of annoying charactors. Finished it because I started it. Not one of his best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I should have known not to read this book. Koontz writes best when he writes sci-fi. And I LOVE the Odd Thomas character. And I love dry humor but not in more than one character. This book may be suspenseful but I quit reading after a few chapters. If I buy Koontz, it's to read believable sci-fi with great characters. Gone are the good 'ol days apparently. Sorry Dean
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is just one long chase scene, and there are no clues as to why that would keep you interested. The whole story is just ridiculous and the ending a farce.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had hoped for more, but like Stephen King, Koontz's vintage work just isn't there any more. The characters were very shallow and underdeveloped. The big secret that was so elusive was really nothing that interesting. It was just a giant chase scene with a very quick, undramatic ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Usually love his books, but this one was a real disappointment. Never made me like the characters and was totally clueless when it comes to describing how a woman thinks. Read half of it and was relieved to put it down. Hope he gets back to his old self because I wouldn't read anything else like this. Bring back Christopher Snow!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Disappointing, boring, characters I couldn't even care about. Yes, we have seen this story before, and it's been done too many times. Let's get back to some original story lines from Koontz.
Birdiemom More than 1 year ago
Dean Koontz is known for really frightening, scary stories fill with all manner of supernatural ugly things - that are always vanquished to happy endings. This is a Koontz book with no supernatural scaries at all - It's a wonderful mystery, with plot turns and a lot of action. The mystery is defined in the first few paragraphs and as usual, Koontz develops his characters in a way that makes you really know - and care about - them. I always read whatever Dean Koontz writes and my sister, who does NOT like ghosts/aliens/supernatural beings - told me that she really liked this book (I gave it to her for Christmas).
Sarah_N_NC More than 1 year ago
It took Koontz almost ten chapters to really get into an interesting plot, and by that time I couldn't take it anymore. I put it down. Unbelievably boring and the characters were irritating. The dialogue sounded fake/forced, like a made-for-TV movie with C actors. Don't waste your time.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
I have to say that I enjoyed THE GOOD GUY a whole lot more than THE HUSBAND, which I didn't even finish. Although there's no paranormal elements to this book, like my favorite Koontz books have, this is a pretty good thriller.

Tim Carrier is the quiet, stay-out-of-the-way-and-disappear-into-the-shadows type of guy. That seems to be working fine, until a customer walks into the bar where Tim's at and mistakes him for a hired killer. Before he can rectify the mistake, another man enters, and it doesn't take Tim long to figure out that THIS man is the REAL killer. It also becomes quite clear that offering the hit man money to not kill anyone isn't going to work.

What follows is Tim doing what Tim does best -- taking on the problems of others as if it were his mission. As the humble mason tracks down Linda, the woman the hit man was going to be hired to kill, the story turns into a book version of the TV show "24."

There's action-adventure here, and well-drawn characters (the villain, by far, is the most interesting character in the book), and a plausible story line. I really enjoyed THE GOOD GUY!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked the characters, and I liked the plot. I highly recommend it.

I also recommend: Bliss to You, Watchers, Lightning, Midnight and Darkfall. Actually, I recommend almost every book written by Dean Koontz.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i was unimpressed. bored. it took over a week to read. i usually finish a koontz novel in two or three days. i wanted to throw it away b/c it just didn't do anything for me. it was like the husband and velocity, both of which were pretty decent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Dean Koontz formula was too clearly recognizeable in this story. The story line lacked originality and at times unrealistic. It the main character can climb a Joseph's Coat Rose, he's made of steel. 'Not Realistic' The protagonist's deep dark secret that was hinted at throughout the story was not what I might think of as something to hide. The ending was rushed and not very realistic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As much as I love Dean Koontz, a story of an ordinary guy dodging a psycho-killer backed by the government is territory he's covered before. Let's hope it doesn't disappoint,
Anonymous 3 months ago
Too much witty banter flying around, not enough character development on anyone and the goofy premise of creating astroid strikes to keep us all in check just clocked it for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am just an ordinary retired female who loves to read and 'The Good Guy ' has become one of my favorite books. I have read it at least three times.
jlgc More than 1 year ago
The Good Guy by Dean Koontz is about a serial killer who has met his match.   Timothy Carrier is an unassuming man minding his own business when he is approached by a stranger who thinks he is someone else. Before he knows it he has been hired to kill the lovely Linda Paquette. This is a most fortunate circumstance for her because he is the Good Guy. He sets out to find her and help her. Linda is a unique person, a book writer, and doesn’t have any enemies. The real killer finds out the Tim has inserted himself into the situation and the chase is on. Tim and Linda keep one step ahead of the killer for most of the story. As they keep running and hiding they start learning about each other and like what they learn. We learn a lot about the killer, also. While seeming to be lazy and flowing, the story actually moves along quite swiftly. I love the dialogue between Tim and Linda. And they aren’t alone in their peril. Tim has a friend who can help them and he fits right into the flow of the story. I recommend this book. It will be a satisfying read especially for those who like suspense and serial killer stories.  
marvless More than 1 year ago
A good read. Has a good plot line and excellent character development. This is one of those books that's hard to put down after you've started. His characters and story line are believable, thus allowing the reader to vicariously lead the adventure. It was fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wunna make an assassin rp.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
swlittlewing More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put this book down!