Innocence by Dean Koontz
Length: 338 pages
Recommended reader age: Adult
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
About the author:
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Dean Koontz has sold over 500 million books to date and has had 14 books at number one on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list (One Door Away From Heaven, From the Corner of His Eye, Midnight, Cold Fire, The Bad Place, Hideaway, Dragon Tears, Intensity, Sole Survivor, The Husband, Odd Hours, Relentless, What the Night Knows, and 77 Shadow Street)
Find out more here
Addison Goodheart: The main character who inspires rage and fear in those he meets.
Gwyneth: A girl bound to Addison by destiny, past and future events.
Teague Hanlon: Gwyneth’s guardian and key for both their survival.
Plot summary,spoiler free I promise:
We start with Fire as an “inevitable conclusion”, our first introduction to the world of Addison Goodheart as he lives in solitude, unable to meet others for the fear and rage he inspires in them.
As the novel progresses we alternate between different periods of his life, slowly learning about his life in the woods, his journeys and his life now, hidden below the city. We witness the pain and suffering already so evident in his short life, yet throughout it all he expresses no anger or hate, only sadness and more forgiveness than many people are capable of.
We follow him through past events and present. The main story being told is set in December, with hauntingly described storms and snow. The bad weather being the few times that Addison can move freely above ground during daylight without fear of being seen. This gives a new perspective to dramatic weather events, the author conveying the relief and joy that Addison feels alongside the turbulent weather that we would normally associate with negative events.
Through Addison’s eyes we see the underground of the city, the storm drains and forgotten passages, the hidden doors and secrets that are scattered throughout places that none of us think to look for. Through him we experience the beauty of books and library’s, experience storms, and discover that not everything is as it appears. The city itself becomes alive, as a half machine, half beast, one that never sleeps and one that is mostly neutral but sometimes hostile to those within.
When we meet Gwyneth the pace and tone of the novel change, from descriptive and passive recollections of the past, we begin to see more of the present, and the past recollections get darker with talks of marionettes that seem to move themselves. Yet we also see more love and hope within both Addison and Gwyneth.
Again and again we see both similarities and coincidences within their pasts that link them together as well as the start and further development of trust between them. Scattered throughout are hints of the paranormal, of beings only Addison can see, of haunted objects and people darkened and haunted, led astray by their darkest innermost desires.
We follow them through Art Deco movie theatres, mansions and apartments, through driving snow and hear the pain, suffering and hope in others lives. The dark and light sides of humanity inter-playing along the story lines. And through it all here is a sense of the story moving towards an inevitable conclusion, one that the characters are undeniably a part of, yet cannot stop.
Towards the end we see more love, acceptance and a sudden influx of religious imagery and influence. Themes that remain dominant until the final page.
I greatly enjoyed reading this, the characters are introduced and bought to life through their past and present in a way that makes discovering their past part of the stories journey as opposed to an add on to clarify the present.
The plot is easy to follow, even with the frequent changes in timeline, and the links between the characters are strong. Part of the thrill reading this was discovering how everything is interlinked alongside Addison. This is definitely a story driven by description, discovery and a new outlook on the world, not one with dramatic plot lines or earth shattering revelations. Nevertheless it is an enjoyable read, one that takes you along for the ride and keeps you guessing until the end.
Although I have to confess that I had to read this as an E-book in order for me to dictionary search for vocabulary that I didn’t know the meaning of. The descriptions are immense and powerful and truly bring the city, characters and events to life, but the author clearly has a much larger vocabulary than I do, or a thesaurus.
All in all this book makes me question my actions and outlook on life, as well as making me fall in love with storms all over again. If you are looking for a mild yet chilling thriller that absorbs you in the characters this is for you.
Each book is a mild alive, a life revealed, a world awaiting exploration, but living people are all those things, as well- and more, because their stories haven’t yet been completely told.