Finished the above titled book from Dean Koontz a few minutes ago.  I read the book back when it came out but decided to re-read it now.  I must say, I liked it better this time.

The book is about a man who works as a bartender.  His life had been a rollercoaster ride that had left him withdrawn.  In self-defense he had killed his father and mother when he was 14.  It was something he had found hard to live with even though it had been necessary.

When he found happiness with a beautiful woman, Barbara, who agreed to marry him – he thought his life was resuming.  However, she contracted an illness from bad food and had been comatose for 4 years.  Now he just wanted to get by – didn’t want to be involved, didn’t want to care, just floated through life.  He had been a promising writer & sculptor but had lost all interest in these things when Barbara become ill.

He is attending bar one night when a stranger comes in.  They shot the shit a little bit and the stranger goes away.  However, as Billy is leaving the bar that night he finds a note on his windshield – a note that changes everything in his life.  The note said: “If you don’t take this note to the police and get them involved, I will kill a lovely blond schoolteacher somewhere in Napa County.  If you do take this note to the police, I will instead kill an elderly woman active in charity work.  You have six hours to decide.  The choice is yours.”

What ensues is a cat and mouse game that brings Billy to the edge madness.  The killer kills several people within the pages of the book.  One choice Billy gets for one of the victims is if he says “kill the bitch” the killer will shoot the woman with one shot to the brain.  If he doesn’t say it, the killer promises to torture her slowly over several hours.  Billy has six seconds to decide.

In the end, Billy learns that embracing life is infinitely more important than drifting aimlessly through it.  That loving and caring can cause immense pain but is far better than being numb and adrift. 

You are wondering what drew Billy to the attention of the killer? I’ve already mentioned it in this blog – see if you can figure it out.  🙂


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