9780553593419

The Face

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780553593419

  • ISBN10:

    0553593412

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 2009-09-29
  • Publisher: Bantam
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Summary

He's Hollywood's most dazzling star, inspiring the worship of millions and the hatred of one twisted soul. His perfectly ordered existence is under siege as a series of terrifying "messages" penetrates the security of his legendary estate. All that stands between him and an insidious killer is a weary ex-cop who has already seen his own death. Enter a world of marvelous invention, enchantment, and implacable intent, populated by murderous actors and the walking dead, hit men and heroes, long-buried dreams and never-dying hope. Dean Koontz takes readers on an unforgettable journey to the heart of darkness and to the pinnacle of grace, with a brilliantly observed chronicle of good and evil in our time, of illusion and everlasting truth.

Author Biography

Dean Koontz was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He graduated from Shippensburg State College (now Shippensberg University) and won an Atlantic Monthly fiction competition while still a senior. Dean landed his first job after graduation with the Appalachian Poverty Program, where his assignment was to counsel and tutor underprivileged children on a one-to-one basis. On the first day of work, he discovered that his predecessor had been beaten up by the very children he had been trying to help and had landed in the hospital for several weeks.

The following year was filled with challenges, but Koontz never gave up on his desire to be a writer. He wrote at night and during weekends, a practice he continued after leaving the poverty program and becoming an English teacher in a suburban school district outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

After Dean had taught for a year and a half in Harrisburg, his wife, Gerda, made him an offer he couldn't refuse: "I'll support you for five years," she said, "and if you can't make it as a writer in that time, you'll never make it." By the end of the five years, Gerda had quit her job to manage the financial side of her husband's writing career.

Dean Koontz's books are published in 38 languages. Worldwide sales total more than 175 million copies, and that figure currently increases at a rate of more than 17 million copies a year. Ten of his novels have risen to number one on The New York Times hardcover best-seller list (Lightning, Midnight, Cold Fire, Hideaway, Dragon Tears, Intensity, and The Husband). His books have also been number one bestsellers in countries as diverse as Japan and Sweden.

The New York Times has called his writing "psychologically complex, masterly and satisfying." New Orleans Times-Picayune said Koontz is, "at times lyrical without ever being naive or romantic. [He creates] a grotesque world, much like that of Flannery O'Conner or Walker Percy. . . scary, worthwhile reading." Of Cold Fire, a worldwide bestseller, the United Press International said, "An extraordinary piece of fiction. It will be a classic."

Dean has written the screenplay for the film adaptation of his novel Midnight, and he wrote and served as executive producer on The Face of Fear for Warner Brothers-CBS Television. Phantoms, based on the author's screenplay and starring Peter O'Toole and Joanna Going, is in production at Miramax. Intensity has been filmed by Peter Guber's Mandalay Entertainment as a miniseries for the Fox Network and is scheduled to air in the spring of 1997. Mandalay and Fox will team up again to develop Sole Survivor.

Dean and Gerda Koontz live in southern California.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts

Chapter One

After the apple had been cut in half, the halves had been sewn together with coarse black thread.

Ten bold stitches were uniformly spaced. Each knot had been tied with a surgeon's precision.

The variety of apple, a red delicious, might have significance. Considering that these messages had been delivered in the form of objects and images, never in words, every detail might refine the sender's meaning, as adjectives and punctuation refined prose.

More likely, however, this apple had been selected because it wasn't ripe. Softer flesh would have crumbled even if the needle had been used with care and if each stitch had been gently cinched.

Awaiting further examination, the apple stood on the desk in Ethan Truman's study. The black box in which the apple had been packed also stood on the desk, bristling with shredded black tissue paper. The box had already yielded what clues it contained: none.

Here in the west wing of the mansion, Ethan's ground-floor apartment was comprised of this study, a bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen. Tall French windows provided a clear view of nothing real.

The previous occupant would have called the study a living room and would have furnished the space accordingly. Ethan did too little living to devote an entire room to it.

With a digital camera, he had photographed the black box before opening it. He had also taken shots of the red delicious from three angles.

He assumed that the apple had been sliced open in order to allow for the insertion of an object into the core. He was reluctant to snip the stitches and to take a look at what might lie within.

Years as a homicide detective had hardened him in some respects. In other ways, too much experience of extreme violence had made him vulnerable.

He was only thirty-seven, but his police career was over. His instincts remained sharp, however, and his darkest expectations were undiminished.

A sough of wind insisted at the French panes. A soft tapping of blown rain.

The languid storm gave him excuse enough to leave the apple waiting and to step to the nearest window.

Frames, jambs, rails, muntins—every feature of every window in the great house had been crafted in bronze. Exposure to the elements promoted a handsome mottled-green patina on exterior surfaces. Inside, diligent maintenance kept the bronze a dark ruby-brown.

The glass in each pane was beveled at every edge. Even in the humblest of service rooms—the scullery, the ground-floor laundry—beveling had been specified.

Although the residence had been built for a film mogul during the last years of the Great Depression, no evidence of a construction budget could be seen anywhere from the entrance foyer to the farthest corner of the last back hall.

When steel sagged, when clothes grew moth-eaten on haberdashery racks, when cars rusted on showroom floors for want of customers, the film industry nevertheless flourished. In bad times as in good, the only two absolute necessities were food and illusions.

From the tall study windows, the view appeared to be a painting of the kind employed in motion-picture matte shots: an exquisitely rendered dimensional scene that, through the deceiving eye of the camera, could serve convincingly as a landscape on an alien planet or as a place on this world perfected as reality never allowed.

Greener than Eden's fields, acres of lawn rolled away from the house, without one weed or blade of blight. The majestic crowns of immense California live oaks and the drooping boughs of melancholy deodar cedars, each a classic specimen, were silvered and diamonded by the December drizzle.

Through skeins of rain as fine as angel hair, Ethan could see, in the distance, the final curve of the driveway. The gray-green quartzite cobblestones, polished to a sterling standard by the rain, led to the ornamental bronze g

Excerpted from The Face by Dean Koontz
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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