Innocence (with bonus short story Wilderness): A Novel

Innocence (with bonus short story Wilderness): A Novel

Posted by jack_miller | Published 7 months ago

With 4031 ratings

By: Dean Koontz

Purchased At: $29.99

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Includes Dean Koontz’s short story “Wilderness”!

This ebook edition contains a special preview of Dean Koontz’s The Silent Corner.

In Innocence, Dean Koontz blends mystery, suspense, and acute insight into the human soul in a masterfully told tale that will resonate with readers forever.

He lives in solitude beneath the city, an exile from society, which will destroy him if he is ever seen.

She dwells in seclusion, a fugitive from enemies who will do her harm if she is ever found.

But the bond between them runs deeper than the tragedies that have scarred their lives. Something more than chance—and nothing less than destiny—has brought them together in a world whose hour of reckoning is fast approaching.

Praise for Innocence

“A thriller that’s both chilling and fulfilling.”People (four stars)

“Laced with fantastical mysticism, it’s an allegory of nonviolence, acceptance and love in the face of adversity. . . . The narrative is intense, with an old-fashioned ominousness and artistically crafted descriptions. . . . An optimistic and unexpected conclusion [mirrors] his theme. Something different this way comes from Mr. Koontz’s imagination. Enjoy.”Kirkus Reviews

“Mystery and terror, the paranormal and romance—all combine to make Innocence a challenging and emotional experience.”New York Journal of Books
“This novel really is something special. . . . This may just be the book Dean Koontz was born to write.”Thriller Books Journal

“Entrancing . . . as speedy a chase-thriller as any Koontz . . . has ever constructed. Written in Koontz’ late mellifluent and reflective manner . . . [Innocence is] fueled by deep disgust with the world’s evils [and] hope for redemption.”Booklist (starred review)
“[An] imaginative, mystical thriller from bestseller Koontz . . . This is the most satisfying Koontz standalone in a while.”Publishers Weekly
“Masterful storyteller Koontz delivers perhaps his most eerie and unusual tale to date. The timeline in this amazing story is compact, and readers will be swept along as they try to unravel hints and clues as to the true nature of both the protagonists and the unfolding drama. Unpredictably spine-chilling and terrifying, this is a story readers won’t soon forget.”RT Book Reviews
“Elegant . . . Fans of Koontz’s previous series will be left hoping that Addison and Gwyneth, too, will return.”Library Journal
Having read some of the Odd Thomas books, loving the character, but finally giving up in dismay due to the weird narrative tone within them, I tried again with this book because the plot sounded as if it had potential.

Fiction at its best holds a mirror to reflect realities hidden in plain sight.
And a work of fiction sometimes includes narrative philosophising that adds dimension to the work.
Some those passages in theis book were insightful and beautifulness written.

But Koontz's work holds up a mirror to reflect a worldview that includes reactionary elements...a disconcerting ideology that seems to lack internal consistency.

This book is typical of Koontz now.
The plot is sometimes so subsumed to repeated lectures about human darkness, as well as weird commentaries about...oh, for example, municipal unions - that the book was unreadable in parts.

I'm giving the book three stars rather than two, because eventually the book became more readable as Koontz returned to the plot and decreased the inconsistent polemics.

But there is a deeper criticism than that:
If a writer is going to highlight through fiction the principle assumptions of traditional Christianity, with a plot based upon the implications of Original Sin, (the entire unmitigated responsibility for individual and collective evil to human free will - that explanation for human evil Augustine inflicted upon the world), and include in the plot inexplicable supernatural interventions, culminating in a return to an original innocence with the lion sitting peacefully with the lamb - then why, oh why, EXCLUDE those elements of essential traditional spirituality - divine sacrifice & salvation through faith - that even Augustine acknowledged?

Because it is horror fiction rather than an apologetic fiction?
Koontz has seemingly crossed that line with this work.

If polemics through fictional apologetics is his direction, in order to interest the knowledgeable reader who seeks entertainment rather than irritation in fiction, Koontz needs to add depth and forget the right wing ideologies....maybe pick up more insight from the mystics, maybe read some St. Julian.

Far be it from me, a non-writer, to dictate to the storyteller his art. But as a reader, it seems to me that Koontz, within the premises of his work, misses the whole point of things. He seems to have the talent, but not yet the desire, to write in the full depth his readers (some of us anyway) deserve.

This reader's dismay may simply be that some of us who previously enjoyed that kind of horror fiction have lost a taste for it as real evil in all his corrupt & malignant buffoonery grins down at us from high places.

One has to wonder if Koontz, who writes about evil, like so many others who rail against tyranny and darkness, can recognize it when it's right in front of us.

Yes, this review includes criticism from the politics-as-evil arena, because that is the implied foundation of the Koontz books.

- ivan_wright

I devoured every Koontz book I possibly could after Misery was published. Then came the “Odd” books and the “tower” books. I didn’t like those - not even a little. Then, Balducci ended his Camel series, Cornwell went off the deep end, Coben went to kiddy lit, Flynn and Connell died, Sanford introduced the boring Virgil Flowers, and Child went soft. I went through a readers’ depression of sorts. I only had Winslow and Iles I could absolutely count on. Somehow I missed going back to see if Koontz went back to his roots with more of the quasi-believable escapism I used to love. Then I picked up this novel and read the reviews. Wow! I was not disappointed! Other reviewers criticized the ending ....but, I needed an ending like that. Judge for yourself. Just read it!!

- nathalie_nelson

Interesting little novel by Dean Koontz. I have heard some people call it a fairy tale. I would not necessarily go there, although I can see why they would say that. I found Innocence to be a bit better than some of his "newer" books. Anytime I review a new Dean Koontz book I have to mention now nothing could compare to his Heyday in the 80s and 90s. A lot of the stuff he wrote after the year 2000 was very subpar and I wondered if he had gotten a Ghostwriter. His newer books have convinced me that he is still writing, he just was in a bit of a funk. But, having read nearly 50 of his novels, I say Innocence is a decent read for Koontz fans... Or if you are bored and stuck in an airport.

- julio_foster

I pre-purchased this book quite awhile back and sort of forgot about it until it appeared (like a gift) on my Kindle a few mornings ago. Well, of course, I started it immediately. Since I had no clue as to what it was about (the pre-buy contained no synopsis) I didn't know what to expect - which is actually the way a good book should be read, so I won't give any details about the story. I quickly discovered it was a bit different than most of his books and was more like a fairy tale (not the Disneyesque type of tale but the original Grimm fairy tales with great good and great evil). It took place in modern day but could have easily been any time or any place. I loved the snowy landscape - it added to the dream-like quality of the story and I was surprised and moved by the ending - I didn't see it coming but it made perfect sense.

On a personal note - Dean Koontz (while being one of my favorite authors) is also high on my list of really good people. I don't know him personally & never even met him, but contacted him and asked for a donation of a signed book to auction off for an animal rescue non-profit fundraiser with little hope of hearing back since I hadn't gotten responses from other authors I'd contacted . He very kindly and generously sent a signed copy of A Big Little Life". I'm sure he gets requests all the time and I was amazed and grateful that he responded.

- dariel_bennet

This is a strange book. I still can't work it out. Has the author been so ultra-clever that his craft is beyond me, or has he merely penned a book that employs a tangled, confused prose and plot? Are all those 5-star reviews made because those reviewers don't want to be seen as having missed the point? Well, I openly admit it, I don't get much of this novel.

First the good points:
The plot, as far as it goes, had me eagerly turning pages from about 90% into the story. I really wanted to know what happened.

I haven't encountered a similar storyline before. So, for me, it is original - although I don't read much urban fantasy stuff.

Finally, nearing the end, I found myself drifting into the world that the author has created and empathizing with the main characters. Thus, I acknowledge that the author has engineered a three dimensional backdrop populated with believable (sort of) characters.

Now the not so good points:
The book was a hard, and sometimes a meandering, read. The author seems incapable of telling his story without reams of irrelevant, descriptive detail. At times, I felt that my eyes were trying to wade through a congealed mass of alphabet spaghetti. Quite frankly, a church is a church, I don't need to be told of its architectural detail unless it's vital to the story. I'm just not interested.

Some chapters were totally superfluous to the basic storyline - the information given could have been supplied in a single, manageable paragraph.

As you might have guessed, I thought the book is way too long. A 30% cut in word count would improve it. When I read a book, I want a pacey story that gives easy entertainment. I don't want the author's musings on why he hasn't identified a character by name until now, 88% into the work.

The main mystery of the work, why the protagonist hides himself away from society, just wasn't a good enough hook to engage me. Indeed, I only persisted reading to the end because of the numerous 5-star reviews that this author has. Surely, I thought, there must be a more interesting plot conflict that will be revealed soon? There wasn't.

The dialogue was stilted in many places. Real people just don't speak like that.

Some of the sub-plots were so contrived that I thought they could've been lifted straight out of a children's book.

The author regularly referred to contemporary items and therefore I assumed that it was set in the present. But, so much of the plot just grated with current day reality. Perhaps that was the idea, there is this vast, unseen fantasy world that we are unaware of. Maybe, but to me that's just what it is, fantasy, and I'm not a big fan of the fantasy genre.

In conclusion:
Some people obviously love Dean Koontz, he has plenty of novels that have plenty of 5-star reviews. I'm afraid, I'm not one of them. Judgements are necessarily subjective in this respect and so I'm quite happy to accept that my view may not be shared by his fan's, but I'll not be re-reading this novel any time soon, if ever. I'll also not be buying any more of the author's books. His love of seemingly unending paragraphs of minute and awkwardly worded descriptions just don't do it for me.

I rated the book a 3-star because I did want to know what happened in the end - it's just a shame that I had to plod through 300 pages of verbal treacle to get to anything that gripped my attention.

- lennon_gutierrez

Hmm. Ok I'm a fan of Mr Koontz for the most part, earlier novels for absolute sure, Watchers, Strangers, the unfinished series I won't mention as I still get annoyed that the last book was never written, although I don't blame the author for that sometimes it just doesnt come, I understand that. Still, all brilliant. I re-read these semi regularly and enjoy them every time. Odd Thomas, in the first book, was pretty darn good then went all, well, like the rest of his books, in the same old direction.

Lets take "Innocence". It is my first Koontz book for a while that I have taken time to review although I've read a few over the last few years. A friend telling me that this was back on form made me decide I would review it whatever and for the first three quarters of it I was engaged, enthralled, loving the story. Despite some small little bugbears I was expecting to give it a MUCH higher rating than I have. Then the last bit happened. And seriously, I really did throw the book aside feeling quite cross. Which hey, I suppose is in a way a good thing as it evoked strong emotion - something reading is supposed to do!

I think that the author has a certain belief system and that belief system is creeping into all his novels so that none of them are about anything BUT that. Despite first glances where they may all seem to be different, ultimately they are all doing the same thing, saying the same thing, in a way preaching the same thing - all roads lead to the same small town . In the case of Addison Goodheart, I did hope for the majority of it that we might have a different destination, a darker, more original Koontz like place on the edge but nope. Back we were, where we've been for a while.

Now I'd like to make the point that Dean Koontz still writes beautifully. BEAUTIFULLY. Its not the quality of the writing that I think has changed, it is the quality of the storytelling. I would like him to make my heart pump madly like it did in "Strangers" or make me root for the dog like "Watchers" or scare the heck out of me so I won't go near a fairground for ages like in "Hideaway" and oh so many more that I could mention.

Didnt make the cut for me this one. If I was rating it on the first half of the novel alone it would be a 5. Shame really.

Happy Reading Folks!

- jaycee_johnson

Interesting plot and different from anything else that I've read by Koontz or others. However, I found myself speed-reading large sections of the book as the narrative became very wordy in ways that didn't serve the plot. Around page 179, Koontz writes a whole paragraph describing how the snow was falling; now, I appreciate that good writers would give us more than "it was snowing", but the paragraph highlighted how wordy the book gets in places. I felt as if he was being paid by the word!
By the end, I felt as if I had eaten a very big (though decent enough) meal: "phew, I'm glad to have made it to the end and now I'm stuffed!"

- bianca_howard

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