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Your Heart Belongs to Me
by Dean Koontz
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553807137, Hardcover)Book Description
From the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense comes a riveting thriller that probes the deepest terrors of the human psyche—and the ineffable mystery of what truly makes us who we are. Here a brilliant young man finds himself fighting for his very existence in a battle that starts with the most frightening words of all…
At thirty-four, Internet entrepreneur Ryan Perry seemed to have the world in his pocket—until the first troubling symptoms appeared out of nowhere. Within days, he’s diagnosed with incurable cardiomyopathy and finds himself on the waiting list for a heart transplant; it’s his only hope, and it’s dwindling fast. Ryan is about to lose it all…his health, his girlfriend Samantha, and his life.
One year later, Ryan has never felt better. Business is good and he hopes to renew his relationship with Samantha. Then the unmarked gifts begin to appear—a box of Valentine candy hearts, a heart pendant. Most disturbing of all, a graphic heart surgery video and the chilling message: Your heart belongs to me.
In a heartbeat, the medical miracle that gave Ryan a second chance at life is about to become a curse worse than death. For Ryan is being stalked by a mysterious woman who feels entitled to everything he has. She’s the spitting image of the twenty-six-year-old donor of the heart beating steadily in Ryan’s own chest.
And she’s come to take it back.Amazon Exclusive Essay: Dean Koontz on Writing Your Heart Belongs to Me
I have been asked by the secret masters of Amazon how much research into transplant surgery I did before writing Your Heart Belongs to Me. I would like to reveal that, in the interest of accuracy and the accumulation of vivid detail, and because I bring total commitment to my writing, I underwent a heart transplant myself, even though I didn't need one. This would be a lie, however, and people without a sense of humor would write by the hundreds to accuse me of taking a perfectly good heart needed by some patient who really needed it.
To prepare for this novel, I read a few books on the subject of transplants, watched two educational films during which I passed out repeatedly at the sight of blood, and spoke with a few medical specialists in the field--largely to ascertain how they manage not to pass out in surgery every time they expose the pulsing internal organs of a patient.
Ryan Perry, the lead of Your Heart Belongs to Me, is 34, wealthy from the Internet social-networking site that he created, with an ideal life ahead of him. Then he learns he suffers from cardiomyopathy and will die within a year if he does not undergo a heart transplant. The procedure is successful, but a year later he begins to receive gifts--such as a heart-shaped locket--with the message "Your heart belongs to me. I want it back."
Although it might seem to be a ghost story, Your Heart Belongs to Me is something else entirely. In addition to being a thriller with a medical procedure as a key element, it is an unusual love story. Those who have never read my books--we know who you are--might be surprised to learn that more often than not, a love story is part of the mix. In a romantic relationship, we're vulnerable; and when a character in a novel is vulnerable, we are more likely to worry about him or her and to relate more intimately to the story. Furthermore, people in love have something precious to lose, and in their sometimes desperate efforts to hold fast to that love, they reveal themselves more profoundly than they might otherwise.
In the early years of my career--or what we here in Koontzland call "the long slog"--publishers resisted me when I wanted to mix genres. These days, my publisher encourages me to pursue fresh ways of telling stories. Consequently, Your Heart Belongs to Me is a suspense novel and love story with a thread of the supernatural weaving through it, set against a backdrop of medicine and medical mystery, concerning certain issues of ethics that are timeless--and others that are unique to our time. And I promise you that the medical detail is not so graphic that you will pass out.
A Q&A with Dean Koontz
Q: Your Heart Belongs to Me is very suspenseful but at the same time an affecting love story. How difficult was this to pull off?
Q: Your books are full of details about how things work in the real world--like life in a monastery in Brother Odd, the management of a great Bel Air estate and the intricacies of police work in The Face, Your Heart Belongs to Me is rich with details about medical conditions and heart transplants. Since you don't specialize in one kind of novel, how do you learn about all these different things? Do you engage in a lot of Internet research?
Q: Your hero in Your Heart Belongs to Me, Ryan Perry, is different from your other heroes, like Odd Thomas and Mitchell Rafferty and Tim Carrier. What was it about the story you were telling in Your Heart Belongs to Me that required this change?
Q: Where did the idea for Your Heart Belongs to Me come from?
Q: What is next for you? Another Odd Thomas novel?
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:29 -0400)
For thirty-four-year-old Ryan Perry, life is good a year after the heart transplant that had saved him from certain death, until he begins to receive strange messages united by the theme, "Your heart belongs to me," and discovers that he is being stalked by a mysterious woman who bears a striking resemblance to the donor of his heart.
Is this you?
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