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The Barnes & Noble Review
For decades, Dean Koontz has been a forerunner in the art of merging genre material in order to create unique thrillers strewn with elements of fantasy and science fiction. In recent years though, he's taken on greater moral and spiritual themes, and in One Door Away from Heaven, he touches on bioethicism, a belief system that includes euthanasia of the disabled and infirm.
A woman in her late 20s, Micky Bellsong is beginning to feel the pressures of not having her life sorted out. She drinks too much, has no romantic relationship, and still lacks stable employment. While staying in the trailer home of her Aunt Geneva, Micky meets the hyperintellectual but physically deformed Leilani Klonk, a nine-year-old whose wild personal stories involve aliens and a murderous stepfather called Dr. Doom who preys on the frail and the elderly. Initially, Micky believes Leilani is just an imaginative child, but she soon realizes that there may be some truth to the tall tales. Before she can clearly understand what's going on at the trailer home next door, Micky must make a choice when Leilani's family packs up and hits the road: Forget everything she's heard, or pursue the girl and learn the facts, no matter what the cost.
Simply put, this is Koontz as his best. His narrative voice is graceful and inviting, and the tension of the plot slowly grows taut, leaving the reader unsure of what the reality of the story is. The protagonists are all wonderfully eccentric, sympathetic, and droll. In the Koontz canon of irresistible and beloved characters, Einstein, the intelligent dog from Watchers, probably ranks the highest, but the spirited and spunky Leilani Klonk will surely become just as unforgettable.
With One Door Away from Heaven, Koontz hasn't only given us a masterpiece of suspense; he's also written one of the wittiest, most humane and heartfelt novels of his career. You deserve to treat yourself to this book. (Tom Piccirilli)