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Sole Survivor: A Novel [Mass Market Paperback]

Dean Koontz
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 31 2012

The plane crashed without warning. Three hundred and thirty people died. No explanation. No survivors. Now one man who lost everything that night is about to discover the answers he needs to go on with his life—or the conviction to finally end it.
Crime reporter Joe Carpenter lost his wife and two daughters in the crash of Flight 353. Aching from his loss, Joe is unable to work, think, or do anything but grieve, and wait for his own death. Then Joe meets Rose, a woman who claims to be the crash’s sole survivor. But before Joe can probe further, the elusive Rose slips away and Joe is left with haunting, terrifying questions: If Rose lived through the crash, is it possible his family could have survived it, too? Did the authorities conspire to hide what really happened that night? Joe’s search for the truth will shatter him like nothing has before—and force him to question everything he thinks he knows about life and death.

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From Amazon

Joe Carpenter, the hero of Dean Koontz's newest novel, Sole Survivor, is a man nearly paralyzed by grief. One year earlier, his wife and two children had been among the 230 victims of a plane crash that left no survivors. So when Joe encounters a woman who claims to have been aboard that plane and survived the catastrophe, and then she almost immediately disappears, he is understandably riled up. In the course of trying to track this woman down, Joe finds himself entangled in a web of shadowy conspiracy and perilous secrets.

In this latest book, Koontz pumps up the volume and gives his readers what they've come to expect from him: an expert mix of cover ups, cults, bizarre suicides, and a shocking twist at the end that keeps Sole Survivor racing along from one improbable but undeniably thrilling event to the next. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

YA. Joe Carpenter's life stops with the deaths of his beloved wife and two young daughters in an airplane crash surrounded by mystery?350 dead and no survivors. Marking the first anniversary of the disaster with a visit to their graves, Joe encounters a young woman taking pictures of their tombstones. She tells him her name is Rose and that she survived the crash that killed his family. Before Joe can continue the conversation, they are attacked by two gunmen. As Rose flees for her life, Joe knows he must discover the truth of what happened to the fatal flight and the reason for the cover-up. His search leads him to relatives of other crash victims?most of whom commit bizarre suicides and all of whom have been contacted by Rose. His investigation reveals that Rose was in possession of government secrets that could change the world once she exposed them. Koontz has readers so totally involved that even Joe's impossible dream, that a member of his family may have survived the crash under Rose's protection, seems possible. A spellbinding novel.?Katherine Fitch, Lake Braddock Middle School, Burke, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW !! - One of Koontz's best July 2 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The story focuses on a man named Joe Carpenter who lost his wife and two daughters in a plane crash. A year after the crash, Joe has quit his job as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Post, and done nothing with his life except sit around and mourn the loss of his family. One day Joe pays a visit to the graves of his wife and daughters only to discover a strange women taking pictures of their graves. When Joe apporaches her, the woman claims to be the sole survivor of the crash that killed Joe's family. Before, Joe can find out who she is or what is going on, he is forced to flee the scene when mysterious men begin shooting at the woman, who also manages to get away. Joe becomes convinced that the crash that killed his family was anything but ordinary, and sets out to discover who the woman is, and how she could have survived. Unfortunately, things only get worse for Joe when he begins to realize that he has stumbled into a conspiracy regarding the crash, and that the people involved are willing to kill to keep their secrets safe.
I have been a fan of Dean Koontz's work for many years now. While I usually enjoy most of his books, there are some that are better than others. Sole Survivor was a book that I always put off reading, because it has always received mixed reviews. I finally decided to put my doubts aside and read the book. After I finished with Sole Survivor, I wanted to start over and immediately read the book again, because I did not want it to end. This may be one of the best books Koontz has ever written. Koontz manages to get you hooked into the story right away, because he does a great job at establishing the hero of the story Joe Carpenter and what he is going through.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read but Nothing Deep May 28 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
SOLE SURVIVOR by Dean Koontz (or Dean R. Koontz if you are a traditionalist) is a book that only those who buy Koontz reflexively or those who have read/heard reviews would buy. The book itself offers no clue as to what might be found inside. But hidden between the covers is a rather entertaining tale.
On the anniversary of his family's death in a plane crash a man discovers that he is being watched by some sort of police or government agents. At the family's grave site he meets a strange woman taking pictures of the site and is then interrupted by the watchers. He discovers that they are from a pharmaceutical company and that they have planted a tracer on his car.
Slowly he becomes convinced that there was a survivor of the plane crash. He finds evidence that she has visited with the families of other crash victims. But for some strange reason these families wind up committing suicide shortly after her visits. Her visits make them happy and convince them that their loved ones are o-kay.
He digs more deeply and finds that a lot of shady things have happened in connection with the crash and its investigation. He is eventually led to the woman who did survive the crash. But unlike the title suggests, there were two survivors. The other was a young girl. He then learns the truth behind their identities. She had worked at a secret genetics lab and the girl was one of the results. The project was trying to code for psychic abilities. They had some success. One was a boy who could take over a person's body. He was the cause of the strange suicides. The other was the girl.
This girl was unique. She had an ability to tap into the other side. She was proof of life after death and she could deliver that message in an instant.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most suspenseful of Koontz's May 14 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sole Survivor was one of the most suspenseful Koontz books I've read, and I've read them all.
Joe Carpenter's wife and two daughters were killed 1 year ago in an airplane crash. He's quit his job, moved and not given any friends his forwarding address...he's in a deep depression trying to cope with his families demise. That's when something strange starts to happen: people appear to be following him, a bizarre lady is at the graves of his family taking a picture and friends of his are committing suicide for no apparent reason. He's in a race against time to figure out why he's being hunted, what this lady has to tell him and how this relates to the fatal plane crash a year prior.
One reviewer commented that they did not like the character of Joe, that he was whiny and annoying- for me, Joe was a likeable character and well-developed. I think his feelings of loss were realistic- what do you expect after he just lost his entire family- to have moved on in 1 year's time? I thoroughtly enjoyed Joe's ponderings and the deep-thought that was put into this character and his feelings put into words. There were many sentences and paragraphs that I wanted to take a highlighter too, they seemed so profound. I can't say the same for every Koontz book...
I'd recommend this book for Koontz fans. I enjoyed every last bit of this book, up until the ending, which was not as exciting as I expected...but still worthwhile.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Annoying male lead, Feb. 20 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sole survivor is the story of Joe Carpenter (an 'average joe' as implied by the name), whose life is shattered when his beloved wife and two children are killed in a plane crash. Joe longs for death and has plans to die until he becomes involved in a conspiracy of life shattering proportions.
I listened to the audio version of this book, and found the narrator to be excellent. Koontz starts this novel off brilliantly but I soon grew tired of the character of Joe who I thought was a whiny self-absorbed twit. Sure, I can understand feeling awful after your family dies. But the first two tapes were filled with so much maudlin self pity I grew bored and annoyed with the character instead of sympathetic. I much prefer main characters who do something about their problems, rather than wallow and whine. Joe whines more than any character ever created by Anne Rice.
I also felt a bit sermonized to by the 'surprise' revelation at the end, and instead of being surprised, inspired, or lifted up: I thought: "So that's it? So THIS is what the fuss is all about?"
Koontz left a few loose ends which makes me think this might not be the last we see of Joe Carpenter. (Unfortunately!). I give this book 3 stars. It wasn't awful, but the whiny male lead needs to be dumped in favor of a character with an actual spine.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A little Wierd
Dean Koontz is just a little to weird for great enjoyment. However he can keep you on edge and that is good.
Published 9 months ago by John Marsden
3.0 out of 5 stars Not That Interesting
I'm not going to rehash the storyline as many others have done in their reviews.
I found this book stale. Read more
Published on March 21 2010 by A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Koontz's best
Having read many of Koontz's books, this is one of his best. It is my second favorite after Watchers. It is thoughtful and eye-opening on issues of loss. Read more
Published on July 10 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Very much Koontz-ish!
An improbable but well-written novel by Dean Koontz borrows heavily from the Hindu philosophy of eternal soul to give a bizarre end to what starts as an investigative mystery. Read more
Published on July 8 2004 by Murali Chari
5.0 out of 5 stars Dean Koontz--Sole Survivor (1997)
Time and time again, Dean Koontz has the uncanny ability to re-invent himself with courageous, outlandish stories that captivate his readers with every riveting page. Read more
Published on May 26 2004 by The Tweeder
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I'm used to from Koontz...
"Sole Survivor" follows the standard Koontz formula throughout the story, but seems to get slightly lost at the end. Read more
Published on April 19 2004 by Barry
3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, Sneakily Creationist Melodrama
Perhaps those familiar with Koontz know his page-turner suspense novels are intended to slowly sneak up on his readers with creationist polemics, miracles, neo-Jesus characters,... Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2003 by PR
3.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful and gripping yes, but
This was a suspenseful and gripping book. It keeps you interested and turning the pages right up until the last 100 or so pages but then it turns strange and sort of fizzles out. Read more
Published on Oct. 10 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars First 4/5 of book AWESOME; then.......?
I have to tell you, this book will not allow you to get up from your chair. It is gripping, thrilling, and leaves your mouth watering for the 'secrets' that we are yearning to find... Read more
Published on June 19 2003 by Elder Lawyer
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