Mr. Murder

Mr. Murder

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by Dean Koontz
     
 

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Happily married with two adorable children and a successful mystery writing career, Marty Stillwater considers himself a lucky man. But his comfortable cocoon is shattered when a stranger breaks into his house one rainy afternoon announcing: 'You stole my wife, my life, and my children. I want them back.' Claiming to be the real Martin Stillwater, the madman wages a…  See more details below

Overview

Happily married with two adorable children and a successful mystery writing career, Marty Stillwater considers himself a lucky man. But his comfortable cocoon is shattered when a stranger breaks into his house one rainy afternoon announcing: 'You stole my wife, my life, and my children. I want them back.' Claiming to be the real Martin Stillwater, the madman wages a terrifying campaign to eliminate Marty and recapture his family and life he believes to be his. Even the police are hard-pressed to believe the Stillwaters' harrowing account of what's happening to them, and the family is ultimately left on its own to deal with the menace in Koontz's most horrifying tale of suspense to date.

Editorial Reviews

George Stade
"Mr. Murder" is no post-modernist comment on itself, no exercise in camp. Mr. Koontz plays it straight: there are no sly winks to the reader, no signals that although someone wrote the novel and someone is reading it, they are both above this sort of thing. . . . Mr. Koontz plays on this good story. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The formula Koontz ( The Bad Place ) uses here is a familiar one: an overpowering evil stalks an innocent family that remains unaware of the menace until isolated from all help and forced to run for their lives. But enhanced by Koontz's lean prose and rich characterization, this fearsome tale summons up new frissons of horror. Marty Stillwater's second horror novel is bestseller-bound; he's the subject of a People magazine feature article; and his wife, Paige, and their two young daughters complete the perfect family. Then he begins having blackouts and paralyzing panic attacks that lead him to hide guns around the house. The weapons prove handy when an armed stranger--Marty's Doppelganger --breaks into the house to kill him and reclaim the life, family and destiny that he swears Marty stole. A fierce battle leaves the stranger dead but when Paige and the police arrive, the body is gone. Unable to trust the cops, the family runs for the hills to try to evade the seemingly indestructible ``Other.'' Meanwhile, sinister agents are desperately tracking The Other for their own less-than-ethical ends. Playing on every emotion and keeping the story racing along, Koontz masterfully escalates the tension. He closes the narrative with the most ingenious twist ending of his career. Literary Guild & Doubleday Book Club main selection; Mystery Guild alternate selection. (Oct.)
Library Journal
For reasons Marty Stillwater can't fathom, a man with superhuman recuperative powers-who has been trained and conditioned as a killing machine and who is Marty's exact double-is psychically drawn to his house one afternoon, claiming that Marty has ``stolen his life.'' This doppelgnger proceeds to terrorize Marty and his family with relentless violence. After many narrow escapes, Marty and his nemesis meet for a final showdown in an abandoned church. Like many of Koontz's works (e.g., Dragon Tears, Audio Reviews, LJ 3/1/93), Mr. Murder is hard to classify, containing elements of the mystery, suspense, horror, and sf genres. Veteran reader Jay O. Sanders skillfully heightens the work's rising suspense without succumbing to overdramatization. This is a very good choice for fiction collections, although the light cardboard packaging won't withstand library use.-Kristen L. Smith, Loras Coll. Lib., Dubuque, Ia.
Joe Collins
At some point, every successful novelist seems to come up with a book in which the main character is a writer. Here, Koontz introduces mystery novelist Martin Stillwater and his wife and two young daughters. "Mr. Murder" is the name bestowed on Martin by "People" magazine; his wife, Paige, is a wonderful woman, and their little girls are, of course, adorable. Unfortunately, into this idyllic world comes a superhuman hit man who coincidentally happens to look just like Martin and who's decided he wants the family for his very own and will kill Martin to get them. After 100 pages of exposition, the robotlike killer confronts the family, and they desperately try to escape, with no help from skeptical police who think Martin has invented the look-alike for publicity for his novels. Actually, the story is farfetched, but Koontz is a master at creating a situation the average person can relate to and then giving it a macabre twist and piling on nonstop action. Koontz also flexes his iambic muscles with huge chunks of poetry that Stillwater has composed for his children, and the juxtaposition of cuddly family scenes with brutal violence is quite jarring. Despite his considerable and admirable research and often charming sense of humor, the author's constant barrage of pop-culture references smacks of pandering, as if saying, "See? I've seen these movies and used these products, too. I'm a regular guy just like you, dear reader." Koontz fans are a loyal lot (this is his twenty-second book, and most of them have scaled the best-seller list), so the readership is there, but the tired "evil twin" device used here brings this effort in short of more inspired Koontz' books such as "Watchers" (date?) and "Cold Fire" (date?).
Kirkus Reviews
Koontz's earliest thrillers (Night Chills, etc.) were stripped-down vehicles designed for speed and suspense, nothing more. In its terrific visceral energy, this latest, with the author's simplest plot in years—one long chase involving a Frankenstein-like monster, his guardians, and his victims—harkens back to those early affairs; but Koontz is a literary phenomenon now and feels free to load his writing with all sorts of sermons about modern-day woes. The title itself is polemical: "Mr. Murder" is the hated sobriquet that People magazine gives to Marty Stillwater, a rising mystery writer who might as well be called Dean Koontz for his California address, stable family life, and strong opinions about the nobility of storytelling and the corruption of American society. At first, Koontz seems to be aping Stephen King here, not just for his put-upon writer-hero but also for the malevolent, perhaps not quite human, twin of Marty's who blows into town, shades of The Dark Half. Koontz is his own writer, however, and it's soon clear that Alfie is no figment made flesh but a wonderfully creepy organic killing machine with a surprising origin and astounding recuperative powers (fueled by Slim Jims and Big Macs) who wants only to take over Marty's life—his wife, daughters, and writing career—and will squash him to do it. Also, Alfie's moral code comes from films he's seen—including porno films in which severe discipline alone brings females into line. Meanwhile, the top-secret federal agents in charge of Alfie—as well as of the experiment that produced him—are desperately hunting their charge, who's gone AWOL and beserk.... Blood pours; children shriek;Alfie makes like a werewolf on steroids while Marty acts like a lion—and Koontz nails the reader to the page once again, despite the soapboxing. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for December)

From the Publisher
“Koontz is a terrific what-if storyteller…the narrative pace is breathless.”—People

“A master storyteller, sometimes humorous, sometimes shocking, but always riveting. His characters sparkle with life. And his fast-paced plots are wonderfully fiendish, taking unexpected twists and turns.”—THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE

“One of our finest and most versatile suspense writers.”—THE MACON TELEGRAPH & NEWS

“His prose mesmerizes…Koontz consistently hits the bull’s-eye.”—ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT

“An exceptional novelist…top-notch.”—LINCOLN JOURNAL-STAR

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786201068
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
01/01/1993
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
715
Product dimensions:
5.82(w) x 8.75(h) x 1.44(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

“Koontz is a terrific what-if storyteller…the narrative pace is breathless.”—People

“A master storyteller, sometimes humorous, sometimes shocking, but always riveting. His characters sparkle with life. And his fast-paced plots are wonderfully fiendish, taking unexpected twists and turns.”—THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE

“One of our finest and most versatile suspense writers.”
THE MACON TELEGRAPH & NEWS

“His prose mesmerizes…Koontz consistently hits the bull’s-eye.”
ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT

“An exceptional novelist…top-notch.”—LINCOLN JOURNAL-STAR

Meet the Author

Dean Koontz was born in Everett, Pennsylvania, and grew up in nearby Bedford. He won an Atlantic Monthly fiction competition when he was twenty and has been writing ever since. Mr. Koontz's books are published in 38 languages. Worldwide sales total more than 175 million copies, a figure that currently increases at a rate of more than 350 million copies a year. Dean and his wife, Gerda, live in southern California.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Newport Beach, California
Date of Birth:
July 9, 1945
Place of Birth:
Everett, Pennsylvania
Education:
B.S. (major in English), Shippensburg University, 1966
Website:
http://www.deankoontz.com

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