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The Face by Dean Koontz

The Face (2003)

by Dean Koontz

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Aging rock star Judas Coyne spends his retirement collecting morbid memorabillia such as a witch's confession, a real snuff film and, after being sent an e-mail directly about the item online, a dead man's suit. He is told, by the daughter, that the old man's spirit is attached to this funeral suit. The ghost will go wherever it does and so buying this suit would effectively be buying a poltergeist; Judas cannot pass up this opportunity. The suit soon arrives in a heart shaped box. Various odd occurrences alert Judas to the fact that the ghost is dangerous and is out to kill him and those around him. His assistant, Danny Wooten, quits realizing that the ghost of the suit will try to kill everyone around Jude, but not before contacting the woman who sent the suit. Jude finds out that the ghost was the father of a groupie, Florida (it is later revealed that her real name is Anna), whom he dated for a few months and who had later committed suicide. The ghost wanted revenge on Jude for causing Anna's death, as he saw it. His current girlfriend, Georgia(whose name is actually Marybeth), refuses to leave and together they run from the house with the ghost chasing them. The ghost's intention is to keep Jude away from his two dogs, Angus and Bon, as it turns out that dogs, as familiars, can protect their owners from the dead. But Georgia insists on taking the dogs with them. The animals save the couple several times, but the ghost eventually manages to kill both dogs. Jude and Georgia investigate and find out the true story about Florida. She did not commit suicide because of the breakup between her and Jude. Florida had many emotional problems and Jude had tried to help her but, in the end, he gave up. The reason she was so unstable was that she was being hypnotized and molested by her stepfather, the now dead and ghostly, Craddock McDermott. When Florida left Jude she had nowhere to go but back to her twisted family, but eventually she threatened to contact Jude to have him help her escape the incestuous relationship and file charges against Craddock and her elder sister, Jessica. They drove her to suicide to prevent her from doing so. At a later point, Craddock, a man knowledgeable in the dark arts, realized he was dying and planned with Jessica to get revenge on Judas. They believed that Judas had "ruined" Florida by making her reject her family and their incest. Craddock hexed the suit and once dead, Jessica set the plan in motion. After a series of gory battles between Judas Coyne and Craddock McDermott, Georgia finds the way to bring Florida back from the grave and help Jude fight her stepfather. In the end, the evil Craddock is vanquished, freeing Jude and Georgia from his cruel curse. The two make it through the horrendous event and happily marry.

Harriet Klausner, Resident Scholar

"A retired police detective who is head of security for the most famous actor in America, has his job cut out for him and he must puzzle the mystery of some rather strange threats to the actor. Researching these bizarre threats carries him to an individual that begins his spiral into other worldly experiences that make him question his own grip on reality. "
Tracey Ray, Resident Scholar

"Ethan Truman is an ex-police officer who has been hired by Channing Manheim (know as "The Face" for his rugged good looks), arguably the most famous actor in Hollywood, to be head of security in his mansion. Manheim has a son, Aelfric-Fric for short-who lives a very solitary life in the mansion, with no real friends and only the staff to keep him company. Fric's mother is a model who is rarely there, and doesn't particularly care about him. While Manheim is away filming a new movie, strange things begin to happen in the mansion, to Fric and to Ethan.

The main antagonist is Corky (Vladamir) Laputa, a professor at a nearby college. He is an anarchist and envisions himself as an agent of chaos. Along with a man by the name of Rolf Reynerd, Corky puts into motion a plan to infiltrate the Manheim mansion (which has tremendous security). Laputa gains information about the security system and of the general layout of the house from a man who used to be one on Manheim's security force, but who was fired for making prank phone calls to the infamous line 24 (The mansion has 24 phone lines, with line 24 being used specifically for calls recieved from the dead. Manheim's spiratual advisor, Ming du Lac, suggested they should set up an answering machine to answer line 24 in a white room with a locked blue door. No one is allowed to enter but Manheim and Ming du Lac.).

Laputa also gained information about the layout of the house from a woman who used to privately tutor Fric, and whom Corky was sleeping with. Laputa usually kills the people, mostly criminals, who have provided him with information, tools, etc. that he needs for his attack on the Manheim estate, so that they will not blow his cover (as he has many aliases).

Laputa and Reynerd (whom Corky had killed) sent a series of black boxes with strange contents as a warning to the Manheim estate. Ethan knew something was going to happen. When a series of strange occurences began happening to him and to his friend, Police Officer Hazard Yancy, he knows whatever is going to happen will happen soon. Ethan breaks into the room where the equipment to record line 24's calls is and as he listens to the one message, he realizes it's his dead wife warning him about the impending attack by Corky Laputa, although her warning is far more vague than that. Laputa successfully disengages the security system and the phone system and gains entry to the mansion. "
Monica Hughes, Resident Scholar

"Ethan Truman is a detective hired to figure out a mystery. A famous movie star, simply known as 'The Face', has been getting threats and odd packages that don't make any sense at all. His few leads turn up no hope, and suddenly Ethan is getting strange premonitions of his own death! Somehow, each time he 'dies' he finds himself at the place he was moments before it occured. This turns out to be a helping hand from an old friend, Duncan, who he knows to have died, yet suspects may still be alive. Ethan has to figure out the clues he's receiving before it's too late! The sender of the horrific messages is a man who lives for chaos and goes by the name of Corky Laputa. He has a master plan to kidnap young Aelfric while his father is away on business, and the only one who can stop him is Ethan, with some help from the mysterious Duncan.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
When little black presents begin to arrive at popular actor, Channing Manheim‘s house it is the job of his head of security, Ethan Truman, to figure out what the threat is and protect the “Face” and his family. While Ethan is busy trying to understand what these morbid gifts mean, other characters are busy living their lives and telling their side.

Dean Koontz’s novel “The Face” is without a doubt a superb example of storytelling. Changing between the voices of various characters has enabled Koontz to provide a well-woven tale filled with mystery, horror and suspense. The narrators include Channing’s son, Fric, to Ethan’s detective friend, Hazard, a childhood of Ethan’s, Dunny and finally Corky Laputo. Through their eyes and Ethan’s, Koontz slowly reveals what those little black gifts mean and what that means for inhabitants of Manheim’s mansion as well as those who have contact with the main characters.

While there are some supernatural style occurrences in the novel they do not distract from the tale and have a tendency to actually come across as imaginings. A long read, the short chapters provide the motivation to continue on and the mystery of what is to happen urges you to quicken the pace. ( )
  JEB5 | Oct 30, 2013 |
This book was beyond captivating-it was an intense read! You will not be disappointed in this book at all. Make sure you have time because you won't want to put it down!
  Bettyb30 | Jun 24, 2013 |
It's a really creepy, interesting book. Dean Koontz has an inimitable style that is crisp and concise while still captivating the reader. The premise is fascinating, and his characterization of the villian had me laughing aloud in spots.

( )
  mephistia | Apr 6, 2013 |
"The Face" is my second go at Koontz work and it has done nothing but increase my interest on his work.
With a great and memorable vilan, this book is an easy and extremely enjoyable reading experience with a bit of humor, a lot of characters, which are revisited many times by Koontz throughout the book and the always present supernatural, all in all a great story hard to put down.

A great read. ( )
  ricardob | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dean Koontzprimary authorall editionscalculated
Baker, DylanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The civilized human spirit...cannot get rid of a feeling of the uncanny. --Doctor Faustus, Thomas Mann
This book is dedicated to three exceptional men--and to their wives, who have worked so very hard to sculpt them from such rough clay. From the ground up: To Leason and Marlene Pomeroy, to Mike and Edie Martin, and to Jose and Rachel Perez. After The Project, I will not be able to get up in the morning, spend a moment at home during the day, or go to bed at night without thinking of you. I guess I'll just have to live with that.
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After the apple had been cut in half, the halves had been sewn together with coarse black thread.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553584480, Mass Market Paperback)

Ten-year-old Aelfric Manheim is home alone when he receives a call from a stranger with a simple and terrifying message, "There is trouble coming, young Fric...You're going to need a place to hide." Meanwhile, security chief for the Manheim estate, former detective Ethan Truman, is tailing a "deader than dead" body that got up and left the morgue when he vividly experiences his own death--twice. In The Face, Dean Koontz delivers yet another spellbinding and chilling novel, where real and imagined monsters walk the streets, ghosts travel through mirrors, and the devil makes house calls. Stalked by both real and supernatural evil, the bright and sensitive Fric, virtually orphaned by his A-list Hollywood parents, and the brave but disillusioned former detective Ethan Truman, himself suffering from the loss of his wife, must rely on their wits and each other to escape a dark and disturbing fate.

The supernatural lurks just beneath the surface of the "real" in Koontz's novels, and The Face is no exception. Ghosts, angels, demons, child predators and serial anarchists run rampant in Koontz's tale--the unsuspecting reader never knows what is real or imagined until the characters themselves know--creating a disorienting and frightening experience, and one that is vintage Koontz. Whether it be the real-life "agents of chaos" who roam the world creating mayhem and death or the phone lines that carry words of the dead to the living, this is Koontz at his most powerful and terrifying.

In The Face, Koontz has created a modern fable for adults, taking the bones from tales of old and breathing new life into the characters. Clearly written for adults, The Face nevertheless channels the wit and wisdom of Aesop as well as the violence and villainy of the Brothers Grimm. While Koontz's penchant for elaborately singsong descriptions can be grating, ultimately it lends this tale its folkloric quality, i.e. "The June-bug jitter, scarab click, tumblebug tap of the beetle-voiced rain spoke at the window, click-click-click." In this fable, the world is a menacing and threatening place for adults and children alike, and the naïve and uninformed go trip-trapping through life with no notion of the trolls that lurk in the dark. The moral of this story is that, good or evil, you will get what is coming to you; it's up to you to succeed or fail for you alone decide your path punishment or redemption. --Daphne Durham

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:14 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

When a Hollywood star becomes the target of a twisted killer, ex-cop Ethan Truman confronts the secrets of his tragic past and premonitions of his own impending violent death as he struggles to solve the macabre riddles of a killer.

» see all 7 descriptions

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