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One Door Away From Heaven by Dean Koontz
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One Door Away From Heaven (2001)

by Dean Koontz

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Hailed as “AmericaĂ‚Â’s most popular suspense novelist” (*Rolling Stone*) Dean Koontz has entered a rich new phase of his writing career that is yielding his most imaginative, meaningful, and popular work yet.

At the height of his powers as a literary craftsman, he has won the acclaim of critics as well as the allegiance of millions of fans the world over, transforming the greatest fears and hopes of our time into masterworks of dazzling originality and emotional resonance.

Now, with the stunning depth and virtuosity of his storytelling, he brings to readers one of his most gripping and richly imagined novels to date—an intoxicating story of adventure and suspense, mystery and revelation, told with humor, heart, and high art.

**One Door Away From Heaven
**
In a dusty trailer park on the far edge of the California dream, Michelina Bellsong contemplates the choices she has made. At twenty-eight, she wants to change the direction of her troubled life but can’t find her way—until a new family settles into the rental trailer next door and she meets the young girl who will lead her on a remarkable quest that will change Micky herself and everything she knows—or thinks she knows—forever.

Despite the brace she must wear on her deformed left leg, and her withered left hand, nine-year-old Leilani Klonk radiates a buoyant and indomitable spirit that inspires Micky. Beneath Leilani’s effervescence, however, Micky comes to sense a quiet desperation that the girl dares not express.

Leilani’s mother is little more than a child herself. And the girl’s stepfather, Preston Maddoc, is educated but threatening. He has moved the family from place to place as he fanatically investigates UFO sightings, striving to make contact, claiming to have had a vision that by Leilani’s tenth birthday aliens will either heal her or take her away to a better life on their world.

Slowly, ever more troubling details emerge in Leilani’s conversations with Micky. Most chilling is Micky’s discovery that Leilani had an older brother, also disabled, who vanished after Maddoc took him into the woods one night and is now “gone to the stars.”

Leilani’s tenth birthday is approaching. Micky is convinced the girl will be dead by that day. While the child-protection bureaucracy gives Micky the runaround, the Maddoc family slips away into the night. Micky sets out across America to track and find them, alone and afraid but for the first time living for something bigger than herself.

She finds herself pitted against an adversary, Preston Maddoc, as fearsome as he is cunning. The passion and disregard for danger with which Micky pursues her quest bring to her side a burned-out detective who joins her on a journey of incredible peril and startling discoveries, a journey through terrible darkness to unexpected light.

**One Door Away From Heaven** is an incandescent mix of suspense and humor, fear and wonder, a story of redemption and timeless wisdom that will have readers cheering. Filled with tragedy and joy, with terror and hope, it solidifies Dean Koontz’s reputation as one of the foremost storytellers of our time. This is Dean Koontz at his very best—and it doesn’t get any better than that.

*From the Hardcover edition.*

### Amazon.com Review

Dean Koontz virtually invented the cross-genre novel, and in *One Door Away from Heaven* he mixes an action thriller with post-*X-Files* alien paranoia to remarkable effect. Micky Bellsong is a young woman at a crisis point in her life, using a stay at her Aunt Geneva's to sort things out. Then the precocious and deformed Leilani Klonk walks into her life, telling stories of her stepfather and drugged-up mother, who believe aliens will beam the girl into their mothership and heal her deformities before her 10th birthday. But tales of the stepfather's vicious past, including his hand in several murders, leave Micky believing that a far more terrible fate awaits her friend. So when the parents take off with Leilani, Micky pursues.

As is typical with a Koontz novel, nothing turns out to be what it seems, and the meticulously crafted plot tightens like a noose with every turn of the page. His characters are exceptionally drawn, driving the novel forward with realism and warmth. Micky is one of his more attractive young heroines, but the real star is Leilani, a mature young girl whose plucky nature and sparkling dialogue instantly make her Koontz's most memorable creation. She embodies his belief that despite violence, pain, and suffering, there is always goodness to be found in every person and situation. Koontz has once again proven why he is one of the premier novelists of his generation. *--Jonathan Weir, Amazon.co.uk*

### From Publishers Weekly

Koontz's latest is powered by an impassioned stand against utilitarian bioethics, and it's chock-a-block with trademark characters vulnerable kids, nurturing parental substitutes, a dog of above-average intelligence and a villain of insuperable nastiness sure to provoke a pleasurable conditioned response from his readers. The discursive story coalesces from two converging subplots steeped in the weirdness of fringe ufology: in one, loser Michelina Bellsong struggles to save crippled nine-year-old Leilani Klonk from an evil stepdad planning to pass off her imminent disposal as a benevolent alien abduction; in the other, a strange boy who goes by the alias Curtis Hammond is the quarry of two cross-country manhunts, one led by the FBI and the other by mass murderers who, like the messianic Curtis, may not be what they seem. En route to a pyrotechnic finale in rural Idaho, Koontz shoots bull's-eyes at target issues that shape his theme, including assisted suicide, substance abuse, the irresponsibility of the counterculture and the goofiness of true-believer ET enthusiasts. Koontz's once form-fitting style has gotten baggy of late, however, and readers may find themselves wishing he had better filtered the flights of fancy his characters sometimes indulge at chapter length. For all that, the novel is surprisingly focused on its inspirational message "we are the instruments of one another's salvation and only by the hope that we give to others do we lift ourselves out of the darkness into light" and conveys it with such conviction that only the most critical will demur. (Dec. 26)Forecast: A terrific cover, depicting two female figures on a country path beneath a star-filled night sky, will alert browsers to the awe and mystery within the novel; Koontz's name and Bantam's promo machine will do the rest. Koontz could hit #1 with this one.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. ( )
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
This book was good although not nearly as good as most of Dean Koontz books. To read this one you have to let your mind go and follow the plots as they happen. I enjoyed it but walked away feeling like i was missing something. I actually read this book twice years apart and the 2nd time caught little things but still never really put it together. You will have to have a heart too because the main character albeit a character you can't help but feel a bit sorry for.
  Bettyb30 | Jun 24, 2013 |
This was another solid Dean Koontz book, but it wasn't by any means my favorite. I read Koontz looking for some chills, or at least a little spookiness and this one didn't really deliver. The most frightening part was probably the author's note when he states that there are really people out there who teach that bioethics crap. ( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |
"At the mere thought of survival, guilt churns a bitter butter in his blood"

This was 12 pages into the book and I had mixed feelings about the language Koontz had been using. I reached this statment and laughed out loud. There is more of this sort of thing in this book than I see in most books and it is a little much. Having said that, I am still reading and am 220 pages into the almost 600 pages.

At this point the three separate stories being told have not converged. The story of Curtis is, I think, the weakest and I hope it will improve when/if it joins the others. The story of Micky and Leilani and the story of Noah are both strongly written, interesting and enjoyable. The Curtis story is told from the perspective of a young boy and his dog ("Fun. Hey, get his shoe! Shoe, fun, shoe shoe! What could be better than this, except a cat chase...") - perhaps that is why I enjoy it less.

I'm still not convinced that I will finish this... have read another 20 pages and am giving up. This is a little too much like work. ( )
1 vote AussiePenMan | Nov 9, 2012 |
This book is really good, however, one part of the book runs really slow and is a little difficult to get into until the end. It's definitely interesting for the most part, especially if you're into aliens and things of the like. ( )
  Ilana_Weiss | Jul 1, 2012 |
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Humor is emotionele chaos die in rust herinnerd wordt. -James Thurber
Lachen schokt het universum, brengt het buiten zichzelf en toont zijn ingewanden. - Octavio Paz
Waarom moordt een man? Hij doodt om te eten. En niet alleen om te eten: vaak moet er ook iets te drinken bij. - Woody Allen
Uiteindelijk is alles een grap. - Charlie Chaplin
Eeuwig lachen schokt de goden. - Homerus, Ilias
Dedication
This book is dedicated to Irwyn Applebaum, who has encouraged me "to take the train out there where the trains don't usually go," and whose character as both a publisher and a man has restored my lost faith in the publishing industry, or business, or folly, or whatever else it might accurately be called.

And:

To Tracy Devine, my editor, who never panics when, far past my deadline, I want to take yet more time to do draft number forty before turning in the script, whose editorial eye has twenty-ten vision, who is graciousness personified, who makes every phase of the work a delight—and who will think that this dedication is too effusive and in need of cutting. Well, this time she's wrong.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553582755, Mass Market Paperback)

Dean Koontz virtually invented the cross-genre novel, and in One Door Away from Heaven he mixes an action thriller with post-X-Files alien paranoia to remarkable effect. Micky Bellsong is a young woman at a crisis point in her life, using a stay at her Aunt Geneva's to sort things out. Then the precocious and deformed Leilani Klonk walks into her life, telling stories of her stepfather and drugged-up mother, who believe aliens will beam the girl into their mothership and heal her deformities before her 10th birthday. But tales of the stepfather's vicious past, including his hand in several murders, leave Micky believing that a far more terrible fate awaits her friend. So when the parents take off with Leilani, Micky pursues.

As is typical with a Koontz novel, nothing turns out to be what it seems, and the meticulously crafted plot tightens like a noose with every turn of the page. His characters are exceptionally drawn, driving the novel forward with realism and warmth. Micky is one of his more attractive young heroines, but the real star is Leilani, a mature young girl whose plucky nature and sparkling dialogue instantly make her Koontz's most memorable creation. She embodies his belief that despite violence, pain, and suffering, there is always goodness to be found in every person and situation. Koontz has once again proven why he is one of the premier novelists of his generation. --Jonathan Weir, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:59 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The number-one bestseller from "America's most popular suspense novelist" (The New York Times) is now in paperback. Following a missing family to the edge of America, Michelina Bellsong finds herself in a place she never knew existed, a place of terror, wonder, and shattering revelation. What awaits her will change her life and the lives of everyone she knows, if she can find the key to survival.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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