Whispers by Dean Koontz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This psychological thriller twists and turns in terrifying and creepy ways. It's part mystery, part horror story, and part love story. The starlet at the center of things triggered the murderous intent of the villain simply by resembling his mother. Due to no small measure of luck, she manages to fight him off twice, giving him a fatal injury the second time. And that's where the story would have ended in a less inspired book. Not this one, though, because the dead man comes for her again and again.
I love how the story shifts to the different perspectives, giving just enough to understand the various characters, even the villain, without prematurely solving the mystery. The love story is also pretty sweet, but edgy, too, as the girl and the detective (who happens to be the only one to believe her) work to discover how a dead man manages to keep turning up.
As for the horror side of things, the villain himself is completely insane, and his inner ramblings are shocking, and horrifyingly believable. To me it seemed that his descent into madness and murder could plausibly happen, and that totally creeped me out. As for his back story, it was tragic, and even his victim felt sorry for him by the end of things. And the whispers themselves, eep! The story walks along a tightrope between realistic and supernatural, with just enough of each to keep the reader guessing until the very end.
I did notice a few choppy spots as well as some occasional heavy-handed foreshadowing and reminding of the villain's craziness. So, the story wasn't entirely smooth. Also, I didn't expect the detailed intimate scenes, which weren't the focus of the story, but which were given a rather generous play by play over multiple pages. Well described, but I didn't exactly buy what the lady seemed to enjoy(seemed like what a man might think a lady would enjoy).
And the ending, while built up to rather masterfully, just kind of ended. Right after the action. Just ended. Not completely dissatisfying, but not the best ending I've ever read either.
Overall, I really liked this story and would recommend it to folks who enjoy a good psychological thriller with a hint of mystery and paranormal connotations. That being said, the story focuses on a serial rapist/murderer. If that's not something you want to read about (in detail, no less), then this is not for you.
I found a copy of this book in a little free library at work and picked it up because a relative said the author's books were good. At the time, I thought he'd recommended this one, but I think I was remembering the wrong title. Anyway, loved it. I'm afraid I've forgotten all the character's names since it's been a few weeks since I finished reading this, but the story itself is still fresh in my mind.
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