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The Husband by Dean Koontz
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The Husband (2006)

by Dean Koontz

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Never underestimate the power of the marriage vow...

Mitch Rafferty, a stand-up guy; a true-to-form, law-abiding citizen finds himself stretched to both his mental and physical limits, when a small gang of kidnappers abducts his wife (whom Mitch greatly loves and cherishes) and demands from Mitch a two million dollar ransom for her life and safe return. Two million dollars that Mitch Rafferty - a gardener - does not have...

What would you do if such an evil found its way upon you?

The Husband is a fairly good story with both a decent plot and character development. It has its suspense, but at moments, the suspense feels "forced" to a certain extent. However, the heart-pounding is surely there; you'll feel as though you're there, right in the thick of it all. And the story moves along at a respectable pace.

The Husband may not be one of Koontz's best, but it's definitely worthy of a read.

(Original Kindle review.) ( )
  CatEllington | May 5, 2017 |
Audiobook performed by Holter Graham
3.5***

Mitch Rafferty runs a small, 2-man, landscaping business. He’s in the middle of planting impatiens in a client’s yard when he gets a call on his cell-phone. His wife starts with “Whatever happens, I love you.” Then the kidnapper gets on the line and demands $2 million. There must be some mistake; he and his wife have less than $12,000 to their name. But the kidnapper is adamant that “If you love your wife enough” Mitch will find a way to come up with the ransom in time.

Well, this was a wild ride! The formula is pretty standard, and I was pretty certain the “good guys” would win. Trouble is, who are the “good guys”? Koontz includes multiple twists in the plot so that every time I thought I had figured it out, I was proven wrong. The ending felt rushed and unfinished to me, but I definitely enjoyed the ride.

This is the first book by Koontz that I’ve read. It’s not great literature, but it sure held my attention and I’ll definitely read more from him. Especially when I’m in the mood for a fast-paced, entertaining thriller.

Holter Graham does a fine job narrating the audio version. He has good pacing and I believed in the characters as he voiced them. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 26, 2017 |
First Impressions:

What I liked about The Husband has to do with the husband's reactions to the news that his wife has been kidnapped and the kidnappers seem to have unlimited resources and can kill him at any time.

Plots (some spoilers):

His name is Mitch, and he lives a good life as a gardener. He knows he does not have the money. Later the criminals get him to get his brother Anson involved, who, it turns out, is a criminal himself. The kidnappers know this and want to pull one over on Anson.

Despite these criminals thinking they have it all under control, Mitch finds deep inside himself the balls to do something about it, including killing (in self defense, of course) and stealing to get the money together.

Dean Koontz does get into a sub-plot of Mitch and his brother and their relationship with their parents who had an unusual way of raising children, including a sense-deprivation room that was designed to "help" but really it was to break them. The book really does not explore this fascinating item very well. We meet his dad, Daniel, but his mother Kathy is barely mentioned and not at all developed. They were caricatures to me and not really well-developed, despite them being a critical influence on Mitch and Anson and their sisters (who are not even mentioned until near the end of the book and even then not developed).

The book does get into the criminal minds and only fully develops the last guy – the one with a spiritual bent and who has no problem killing people so that they may attain "ascendancy".

Holly is the kidnapped wife who we don't even meet until well into the book – at least not to any great degree. She too has depth and needs to reach in for strength and is surprised to find that she too can be devious.

Why The Book Fails:

The book fails for me in touching on certain characters (Julian Campbell with his child porn business is never developed, so you have no sympathy nor care that the guy gets his later) and leaves a huge plot hole at the end (Mitch kills and steals and then near the last chapter he has kids and is friends with the Columbo-like detective – huh? What happened?). Too much landscape vocabulary to show us how smart and real Koontz is, but does not add to the tale.

Conclusion: Not Dean's best, though I do appreciate his writing a "straight" novel. However, I much prefer his supernatural stuff.
( )
  James_Mourgos | Dec 22, 2016 |
Not up to par with this author's other books in my opinion. ( )
  GailL | Dec 19, 2016 |
I decided to read this novel with some reluctance since of late I seem to be disappointed with Dean Koontz’s novels. I read them because occasionally (at least with his older works) he hits a home run and the novel is terrific. The premise of the book is interesting enough. Mitch Rafferty’s wife is kidnapped and the kidnappers demand two millions dollars, something that is difficult since he is only a simple gardener.

The problem is the characterization in the novel. The novel is filled with one weak character after another. The first is Mitch. He is a nice enough guy, but he falls into the category of someone who isn’t capable. What I mean is that in a difficult situation with violence and lives on the line, he is not the type of character that would be able to come through. He is a bit of a wimp. The bad guy characters are even worse. Realism and dreadfully poor villain characters have always been Koontz’s downfall, and that’s the case here as well. An example is Mitch’s brother. It is impossible to believe that he’s this hardcore gangster without Mitch ever having a hint of that being the case. Also, his rationale of betraying his brother is just downright stupid. The even more villainous character is one of the kidnappers, and this character is just God awful. In the end, this novel did not deliver and I would recommend skipping it.

Carl Alves - author of Conjesero ( )
  Carl_Alves | Aug 21, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dean Koontzprimary authorall editionscalculated
Söderlund, SabinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Courage is grace under pressure. (Ernest Hemingway)
That Love is all there is,
Is all we know of Love. . . . (Emily Dickinson)
Dedication
This novel is dedicated to Andy and Anne Wickstrom, and to Wesley J. Smith and Debra J. Saunders: two good husbands and their good wives, also good friends, who always brighten the corner where they are.
First words
A man begins dying at the moment of his birth.
Quotations
Agitated spiders plucked silent arpeggios from their silken harps, and the wind was never silent.

A Soldier - His Prayer:

Stay with me God. The night is dark,
The night is cold: My little spark
Of courage dies. The night is long;
Be with me, God, and make me strong.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553589091, Paperback)

With each and every new novel, Dean Koontz raises the stakes—and the pulse rate—higher than any other author. Now, in what may be his most suspenseful and heartfelt novel ever, he brings us the story of an ordinary man whose extraordinary commitment to his wife will take him on a harrowing journey of adventure, sacrifice, and redemption to the mystery of love itself—and to a showdown with the darkness that would destroy it forever.

What would you do for love? Would you die? Would you kill?

We have your wife. You can get her back for two million cash. Landscaper Mitchell Rafferty thinks it must be some kind of joke. He was in the middle of planting impatiens in the yard of one of his clients when his cell phone rang. Now he’s standing in a normal suburban neighborhood on a bright summer day, having a phone conversation out of his darkest nightmare.

Whoever is on the other end of the line is dead serious. He has Mitch’s wife and he’s named the price for her safe return. The caller doesn’t care that Mitch runs a small two-man landscaping operation and has no way of raising such a vast sum. He’s confident that Mitch will find a way.

If he loves his wife enough. . . Mitch does love her enough. He loves her more than life itself. He’s got seventy-two hours to prove it. He has to find the two million by then. But he’ll pay a lot more. He’ll pay anything.

From its tense opening to its shattering climax, The Husband is a thriller that will hold you in its relentless grip for every twist, every shock, every revelation…until it lets you go, unmistakably changed. This is a Dean Koontz novel, after all. And there’s no other experience quite like it.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:15 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Small-time landscaper Mitch Rafferty's life becomes a nightmare when he receives a call on his cell phone from a stranger who has kidnapped his wife and is giving him sixty hours to come up with an impossible two million dollars for her safe return.

» see all 10 descriptions

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