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Freddy Jones (Orlando, FL)
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Sole Survivor
Sole Survivor
by Dean Koontz
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
58 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars WOW !! - One of Koontz's best, July 2 2004
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. Then when you throw a woman who survived a crash that supposedly left no survivors into the mix, the story only gets better. But what really makes the story exciting and hard to put down, is the fact that Joe soon discovers that the plane crash was no accident, and that there is a conspiracy surrounding it. Joe is forced to fight for his life and put his reporter skills to the test to find out what is going on. The best thing about Sole Survivor is that Koontz manages to combine elements of a conspiracy story to add paranoia, and elements of a chase novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Overall, this has to be one of Koontz's best books. Sole Survivor showcases Koontz's character development at its best and an exciting and suspenseful story that makes the book impossible to put down once you have started. I think that this book would even be enjoyable for those who do not like to read. From beginning to end, it almost feels like you are watching a movie play out. Hopefully a movie of Sole Survivor will be made one day, because this is the perfect type of story to be brought to the big screen.

The Green Mile
The Green Mile
by Stephen King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.99
110 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent prison story...., March 17 2004
Stephen King's "The Green Mile" focuses on a man named John Coffey. He is a giant of a man that is convicted of murder, and sentenced to die in the electric chair at Cold Mountain Penitentairy's death row called the Green Mile. The Green Mile is run by Paul Edgecomb. John acts unlike any murderer that Paul has ever seen, and has supernatural powers that brings a sense of spirit and humanity to his guards and fellow inmates. How can a man like that be guilty of such a horrible crime? That is the question that drives Paul to search for the truth behind what really happened. Once Paul finds the answers that he is looking for however, it forces him to make the hardest decision of his life.
Most of the books that I have read by King have been from his older work. That is why I had my doubts about this book. However, after I finished reading "The Green Mile", I was blown away at how good it turned out to be. I am a huge fan of books that are written in a first person narative. King does an amazing job at making himself sound like a completely different person. The story of the Green Mile, is Paul Edgecomb's memoir of what happened. When the story is not focusing on the Mile, we also get to hear about Paul's current life in the nursing home that he is staying at. This part of the story is almost as entertaining. I was also very impressed at how King accurately portrayed the Depression era in this book. This is effectively illustrated by Paul and his crew forcing themselves to keep their jobs, despite everything that makes them want to quit.
Another reason to read "The Green Mile" is to see King's excellent character development. Paul Edgecomb is my favorite. The fact that he has seen nothing but guilty men, and is able to put his prejudices aside to help John is very commendable. John Coffey is emotional, and amusing because of his simple mind and naive attitude. The dialogue King creates for Coffey is great. Percy Whitmore is a new guard that is transfered in due to political connections. He is the kind of villan that you love to hate. Percy is sadistic, cocky, weak, and a whiner. Wild Bill Wharton is very cool. He is a mentally unstable inmate who takes pleasure in making other people miserable. The stuff he does will shock you and disgust you. But some of the things he does will also make you laugh as well. Edward Delacroix is a cajun prisoner who adopts an intelligent mouse that he nicknames "Mr. Jingles". The relationship between Edward and Mr. Jingles is one of the best aspects of the book, because of the outstanding dialogue King creates for Delacroix.
The Green Mile is a great book. The story is emotional, the first person narative is excellent, all of the characters are amazing, and you get a realistic look at the Depression era. You are deffinately in for a treat with the Green Mile.

The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition
The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition
by Stephen King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
79 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding end of the world novel... 4 1/2 stars, March 17 2004
"The Stand" has become one of Stephen King's most popular novels, and is known as one of the greatest end of the world novels ever written. I put off reading "The Stand" up until recently, because of all the acclaim that it has received. When a book is hyped up that much, it usually fails to meet my expectations. Not to mention the fact that the book is over 1100 pages long, and has a story that spans over the entire U.S. That means a lot of time and patience has to be put into keeping track of all the different characters and other aspects of the story. I am so glad that I finally gave this book a chance, and I was amazed that I was actually begging for more after the story had ended. The story is over 1100 pages, but it moves incredibly fast. The thing that appealed to me the most about this book, was that the story lets perfect strangers across America gravitate towards one another. What the characters have to overcome is amazing. Not only do they have to survive a killer virus, and society as they know it breaking down, but also something more evil then they ever could've imagined. Another aspect of the book I found appealing was the focus on religion. Anytime you have an end of the world novel seem like a battle between God and the Devil, it is often much more appealing.
Another reason to read "The Stand" is to witness King's character development at its best, due to the fact that this book dealt with many likeable characters. Randal Flagg is obviously the story's best one. He is the source of the greater evil, and is known as the "Walkin Dude". He posses unimaginable powers and is basically the Devil himself. Obviously when you have a character like Randall Flagg, people are going to be seduced by the evil that such a character offers. The "bad guys" are my favorite characters in the book, because King puts a lot more energy into them, than he does the heroes of the story. The characters on Flagg's team are well developed villans, that really stand out and make an impact on the story. God's team is led an extremely old negro woman named Mother Abagail. She is the driving force for the survivors, and the reason that all the survivors seem to find each other. King was brilliant with her, because he portrays her as God's weapon against the Devil. All of the characters that come together to form the society of survivors are well written, likeable, and posess courage and determination that is extremely inspiring. It is very hard to choose a favorite character when reading this book!
"The Stand" is an epic masterpiece that offers rich character development, an intriguing end of the world story, the fight of good against evil, and the overall strength of the human condition. This is definately one of King's best novels.

Bag of Bones
Bag of Bones
by Stephen King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
123 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Very impressive.. The best of King's later work, March 17 2004
Stephen King's " Bag of Bones" revolves around best selling author Mike Noonan. Mike's wife dies tragically, and four years later Mike is still not able to accept the loss. Mike suddenly develops writer's block, and is plagued by terrifying nightmares about his vacation home that he refers to as "Sara Laughs". Determined to face his nightmares, he forces himself to return to the lakeside getaway. Mike soon discovers that the town is under the influence of the powerful millionaire Max Devore. Max has become obsessed with getting custody of his three-year-old granddaughter Kyra, to intentionally take her away from his ex-daughter in law Mattie. As Mike is drawn into Mattie's and Kyra's struggle, as he falls in love with both of them, he is also drawn into the mystery of Sara Laughs. His home has become the new site of terrifying visitations. Now Mike is determined to find out what evil forces he has unleashed by returning, and what they want with him.
Before reading this book, I figured that King's best work was behind him. However, I was very impressed, and I feel that "Bag of Bones" deserves a spot on King's top 10 list. Usually when you have a story that is split between two different aspects, you find yourself choosing one side over the other. In "Bag of Bones", both sides of the story - Max saving Mattie and Kyra and Max dealing with the ghost, are equally enjoyable, and it is impossible to choose between the two. I am also a huge fan of books that are written in a first person narative, and King was brilliant in that aspect. You really feel like you are listening to Mike Noonan and not just a character that King has created. King also created very realistic dialogue that will make you feel like you are getting to know the characters personally. Mike is my favorite character because of all the different things that he must deal with. He is still grieving the loss of his wife, dealing with terrifying visitations from a ghost, and fighting the town's most powerful man to defend Mattie and Kyra. Watching Mike fall in love with them is very touching, and the father/daughter relationship that develops between Kyra and Mike is great. Max Devore is an evil and dispicable villan that adds major suspense to the story. The combination of Max's actions and the ghost, will give you the creeps.
"Bag of Bones" combines a terrifying ghost story, with an emotional and touching story of love and redemption. King's brilliant use of terror and emotion, will make this book an instant favorite of yours. Bag of Bones shows that King still has what it takes to be considered the master of horror.

Needful Things: The Last Castle Rock Story
Needful Things: The Last Castle Rock Story
by Stephen King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.50
84 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read until the end. 4 1/2 stars..., March 17 2004
Stephen King's "Needful Things" takes place in the town of Castle Rock, Maine. A new store has opened up that is run by a man named Leland Gaunt. He specializes in carrying everything and anything that you could ever want. The only problem, is that each person's "needful thing" comes at one HELL of a price, that could end costing the person their soul.
Stephen King is not my favorite author, but I have read enough of his books to know that some are better than others. To this day, I still feel that Needful Things is one of his best books. The idea behind the story is what really makes this book fun to read. The idea that the Devil himself could come to a town and tempt the town members with their deepest desires is very appealing. The best thing, is that the characters do it all to themselves, because everything is based on free will. All the Devil does is show the characters the way, and convince them to pull a "harmless little prank" on members of the town. The story is extremely well written and moves at a very fast pace. I usually read a 400 -500 page book in 2 -3 days. That is how long it took me to read Needful Things. The 731 pages just seem to fly by, because King manages to create a story that involves you in the lives of each of the characters. As much as I would love to give this book 5 stars, I cannot because of the ending. You are left on the edge of your seat waiting for the end of the book to come, only to be left hanging by an ending that leaves things up in the air. This is the type of story that deserves a clear, cut ending.
I will say this however. King's character development is at its all time best in this book. The reason being obviously because he created a whole town. Every character introduced is enjoyable. The main players are the Devil Leland Gaunt who is King's best villan ever, Sheriff Alan Pangborn who is the hero of the story, Alan's girlfriend Polly Chalmers who suffers from arthritis, Nettie Cobb and Wilma Jerzyck who spend thier time bickering and fighting, and Danforth "Buster" Keaton who is the other main villan.
Needful Things is filled with comedy, romance, suspense, and overall terror. The story is well written and appealing, the characters are all great, and by the end of the story you feel like you have gotten to know a lot of them. With only one major flaw, the book is an overall treat to read.

Black House
Black House
by Stephen King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
52 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Very satisfying sequel to "The Talisman"..., March 17 2004
"Black House" is the long awaited sequel to Stephen King's and Peter Straub's "The Talisman". The story takes place many years later, when Jack Sawyer is a man and remembers nothing that happened to him when he was 13. He is a retired police officer, and he has moved to Coule County in French Landing, Wisconsin to relax and enjoy himself. Unfortunately, a series of murders soon force him to come out of retirement. To make things worse, the murders are somehow connected to Jack's past that he has no memory of. Speedy Parker must come into Jack's life once again and help him remember his past, so that Jack can stop the killer.
At first I really had my doubts about this book. The first 75 pages are just introducing the characters of Coule County in French Landing, Wisconsin. It moves very slowly. Also, the narrative that King and Straub use, can be slightly confusing. They actually put the reader in the story. However, after it gets past the speedbumb in the beginning, it is almost as good as The Talisman. I rarely come across a sequel that lives up to the first novel, but "Black House" is very worthy and a highly enjoyable read. Once again King and Straub use great character development to make all of their characters enjoyable. The general consensus on "Black House", is that a lot of people did not like the book. The main complaint that people have, is that it did not involve The Territories enough. I think that this makes perfect sense however. They bring the reader back into The Territories slowly because he is a grown man now. The Territories were focused on a lot in "The Talisman" because of Jack discovering them for the first time, and more importantly because he was a boy. Stephen King and Peter Straub don't focus on the Territories as much, because Jack is not 13 anymore. I also liked how the story has Jack's quest into the Territories, be important to everyone, and not just him personally. This puts the story on a much grander scale.
As much as I liked the book however, I had two complaints. The first, was that elements from The Dark Tower books were used in the story. I have never read any of the Dark Tower novels, and I found that aspect of the story to be a tad bit confusing. The second was that Straub and King actually warn the reader that the last 20 pages of the story, are dissapointing. I would have liked it better , if they would have just let it flow, instead of putting up a warning sign.
"Black House" does have it flaws. In my opinion however, it is a very worthy sequel, and I highly enjoyed it. If you are willing to accept that "Black House" is a seperate story and not a direct continuation, then you will appreciate the story very much. The good news is that Stephen King and Peter Straub left the story open for another sequel, and they are talking about making the Jack Sawyer saga into a trilogy!!

The Talisman
The Talisman
by Stephen King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
48 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all time favorite books..., March 17 2004
Jack Sawyer is a thirteen year old boy who grew up dreaming of a magic place far away, but always wrote if off as make believe. Jack and his mother move to a beach front communnity on the east coast. This is where Jack meets a man named Speedy Parker. He tells Jack about the magic realm of the Territories, and that the dreams Jack has been having all his life are real. Speedy informs Jack that his mom is dying, and that he has to go into the Territories to get the only thing that can save her life - the Talisman! Unfortunately, Jack also has the fate of the Territories resting on his shoulders. The queen of the Territories is dying as well, and can only be saved by a human that manages to obtain the Talisman. Speedy warns Jack that monsters, demons, and people from both his own world and the Territories, will stop at nothing to make sure that Jack never gets his hands on the Talisman. Join Jack on his quest in this amazing story, as he faces numerous challenges and obstacles!!
The Talisman in my opinion, is Stephen King's best book. The fact that Peter Straub was also involved, only made the book even better. The story unfolds like a modern day Lord of the Rings. King and Straub did such an amazing job with the description of the Territories and all of the evil that is encompased within. I also love the fact that Jack can travel in and out of the Territories at will. This also means that creatures from the Territories can travel into the real world, which means that he is never safe. The characters are incredibly written and they are one of the big reasons that the book is so appealing to readers. There are too many to mention, so I will cover only my personal favorites. Jack Sawyer is the best heroine that I have ever encountered in a novel. The main reason is due to the fact that he is only 13. But despite his age, he behaves like a man, never gives up, and shows incredible courage and determination. A werewolf from the Territories named Wolf, acts as Jack's guardian and his traveling companion. He is my favorite character of the novel, because of his struggle to adapt to Earth, and his constant battle with his animal instincts and urges to kill. The story's two main villans - Morgan Sloat, and Sunlight Gardner, are very menacing and dispicable. They add major suspense to the story.
The Talisman does not receive the credit that it deserves. Many of King's popular novels, do not even come close. When reading The Talisman, you will laugh, you will cry, and the suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat. This amazing adventure will have you hooked from the first page, and I guarantee that you will not want to put it down!

Dreamcatcher
Dreamcatcher
by Stephen King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.92
89 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Underrated!! One of King's best..., March 17 2004
King spins an amazing tale that involves four childhood friends- Henry, Pete, Beaver, and Jonsey, who came together to save a boy with down syndome named Duddits, from getting beat up by local bullies. Ever since that time in their lives, they have been connected by the uncanny psychic powers that they gained in return, which they all refer to as "seeing the line". As the years pass, they are slowly split apart by their own problems, but always manage to come together once a year for their annual huting trip in the Maine woods. At first, the trip seemed like any other that they had taken for years. Unfortunately, things in their lives would change forver, when they are snowed in by an unexpected blizzard, and an injured man named Richard McCarthy stumbles into their camp rambling about lights in the sky and being scared out of his mind...
Stephen King is not my favorite author, but I have read enough of his books to realize that some are better than others. Dreamcatcher is one of his best books, and I am very suprised at the amount of people that disliked this book. Dreamcatcher reads at an incredibly fast pace. The book is almost 900 pages long, and I read it in two days. I literally could not put it down. King combines a wonderful coming of age story, with a terrifying alien invasion. If I had to describe this book in one line, it would be "IT" meets "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". The story unfolds brilliantly. The focus of the story keeps switching back and forth between the four friends' childhood with Duddits, and the current situation that they are in. This involves the alien invasion, and an insane Army Colonel named Abraham Kurtz whose only mission is to destroy the aliens, and take everyone down with him. King uses amazing character development and outstanding dialogue. As the story unfolds, you come to like to each character equally. But the reason the book really succeeds, is that the main characters are not immune from danger. You see the characters you have come to love actually going through pain, torment, and mental anguish. This provides for unbelieveable suspense, because no one is safe. Due to outstanding dialougue, the book can also be quite funny at times as well, which makes the story enjoyable overall.
"Dreamcatcher" is one of the best books that I have ever read. The characters, suspense, humor, and overall terror that this book brings will amaze you. This remains one of the only books that I wanted to start reading again immediately after I finished.

Darkfall
Darkfall
by Dean Koontz
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
51 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Underrated, March 17 2004
This review is from: Darkfall (Mass Market Paperback)
Darkfall focuses on two main characters. The first is a man from Jamaica named Baba Lavelle. Lavelle has come to New York city to gain revenge on a mafia family who was responsible for the death of his brother. Lavelle is a Bocur, which means that he specializes in Voodo involving the black arts. He uses his powers to call upon Gremlin type mosters that travel through the ventilation systems. They travel in packs, and can get into rooms hidden behind lock doors. Four corpses have popped up and they are all high ranking officials in the mafia family. This is where the second character of the story enters. Jack Dawson is a cop who has been working the case. All four bodies appear to have been bitten to death, and they were all behind locked doors. Jack and his partner Amy can not figure out what is killing these men, or how it is being done. Just when things couldn't get any worse, Jack gets a threatening phone call from Lavelle telling him to back off the case. When Jack refuses, Lavelle threatens Jack's children. Now it is up to Jack to find Lavelle and stop him before anyone else winds up dead.
I have been a fan of Dean Koontz for years, and have read the majority of his books. However, Darkfall was always one that I held off on due to the reputation that it has gotten. A lot of people that have read Darkfall have called it one of Koontz's weaker books. In my opinion, this book has gotten a bad rap and is extremely underrated. The book drags you in from page one and keeps you there until the very end. The amount of terror and suspense this book brings is unreal. Koontz's character development is at the top of its game in this book. Jack Dawson is a very likeable hero, and you will find yourself rooting from him from the very beginning. He not only has to deal with Lavelle, but also his growing feelings for his partner Amy and the complicated relationship that is developing between them. Koontz does a great job developing the romance between Amy and Jack because nothing is cut and dry in their relationship. Lavelle is an amazing villan, and he will give you the creeps. Voodo has always been a terrifying subject, and Koontz creatively weaves it into the story. Watching Lavelle wreak havock on the city is scary and suspenseful. The scariest part of the story is the monsters themselves. Imagine Gremlins going evil.
Overall, this is one of the best books that Dean Koontz has ever written. Few of his books have brought the kind of terror and suspense that Darkfall does. After I finished reading Darkfall, I kept asking myself why people do not like this book. It packs a scary and suspenseful story with outstanding characters. Ignore this book's reputation and give it a shot.

Odd Thomas: An Odd Thomas Novel
Odd Thomas: An Odd Thomas Novel
by Dean Koontz
Edition: Hardcover
114 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Koontz's latest masterpiece..., March 15 2004
The story revolves around a 20 year old man named Odd Thomas who is a short order cook living in a small California town. Odd has the ability to see and communicate with dead people. He has kept this a secret from nearly everyone in town with the acception of his girlfriend and the chief of police who Odd helps with solving crimes every now and then. Odd also sees evil spirits which he refers to as "Bodachs" which are attracted to pain and suffering. Their presence usually signifies up coming violence. One day at work, Odd notices a man who he refers to as the "Fungus Man" that is attracting a lot of Bodachs. Wanting to find out more about the man, Odd breaks into his house, and discovers that the Fungus Man has an obsession with serial killers. This leads Odd to believe that the man will commit an unspeakable act of violence soon, and now it is up to Odd to discover what that might be, and to stop the Fungus Man before it is too late.
Odd Thomas is Koontz's latest novel. It is also one of the best he has ever written. I was literally blown away at how great this book turned out to be. The book is extremely suspenseful because of the fact that the inevitable is coming, and only Odd can stop the man. However, since Odd has no idea what the man will do, he also has to figure out where and when the Fungus Man will strike. The ending to the story is completely unpredictable and extremely satisfying. I also love books that are told in a first person narrative because it gives the book more of a personal feel, and the story is narrated by Odd himself. Koontz does an amazing job at transforming himself into Odd Thomas. Koontz's character development is so good, that you feel like you are reading a first hand account of an actual event, and not just some character that Koontz made up. Odd Thomas is probably the best character Koontz has created since Chris Snow. Odd posseses fierce determination and it is extremely entertaining watching Odd interact with dead people. Now due to the premise of this book, people are probably going to assume that it is a rip off the film "Sixth Sense". However, even though Odd can communicate with the dead, it is by no means a rip off, and the story is actually a lot more suspenseful.
Koontz has been delivering outstanding books for a while now, and people begin to worry that an author may run out of ideas or lose their overall touch. After reading Koontz's two latest books "The Face" and "Odd Thomas" Koontz seems to be getting better. Overall, Odd Thomas is a great book and one of Koontz's best. The story is filled with suspense, great characters, a wonderful first hand narrative, and an outstanding ending. If you are a fan of Dean Koontz, or if you are looking for a scary and suspenseful book, I highly recommend you give Odd Thomas a shot.

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