Synopses & Reviews
Dean Koontz's unique talent for writing terrifying thrillers with a heart and soul is nowhere more evident than in this latest suspense masterpiece that pits one man against the ultimate deadline. If there were speed limits for the sheer pulse-racing excitement allowed in one novel, Velocity
would break them all. Get ready for the ride of your life...
Bill Wile is an easygoing, hardworking guy who leads a quiet, ordinary life. But that is about to change. One evening, after his usual eight-hour bartending shift, he finds a typewritten note under the windshield wiper of his car. If you don't take this note to the police and get them involved, I will kill a lovely blond schoolteacher. If you do take this note to the police, I will instead kill an elderly woman active in charity work. You have four hours to decide. The choice is yours.
It seems like a sick joke, and Bill's friend on the police force, Lanny Olson, thinks so too. His advice to Bill is to go home and forget about it. Besides, what could they do even if they took the note seriously? No crime has actually been committed. But less than twenty-four hours later, a young blond schoolteacher is found murdered, and it's Bill's fault: he didn't convince the police to get involved. Now he's got another note, another deadline, another ultimatum...and two new lives hanging in the balance.
Suddenly Bill's average, seemingly innocuous life takes on the dimensions and speed of an accelerating nightmare. Because the notes are coming faster, the deadlines growing tighter, and the killer becoming bolder and crueler with every communication until Bill is isolated with the terrifying knowledge that he alone has the power of life and death over a psychopath's innocent victims. Until the struggle between good and evil is intensely personal. Until the most chilling words of all are: The choice is yours.
"A diabolic killer plays a harrowing game of cat and mouse with a reclusive bartender in Koontz's latest gripping suspense thriller. Billy Wiles, a 30-something bartender and former writer, is content with his solitary Napa County existence listening to 'beer-based psychoanalysis' from tavern regulars; visiting his hospitalized, comatose fiance, Barbara; and carving wood sculptures. But the simple life gets mighty complicated when he finds a note with a deadly, time-sensitive ultimatum: he must choose between the death of a young schoolteacher or an elderly humanitarian in six hours. Reluctant local sheriff Lanny Olsen dismisses it as a joke until a comely teacher is found strangled and another threatening note appears offering even less time for Billy to decide the fate of two more people. Who would have guessed that one of those people would be Olsen? After his friend's murder, Billy finds that the cunning killer has gained access to every aspect of his life as the ultimatums grow increasingly more personal. Suppressing horrific childhood memories, Billy scrambles to bury grisly incriminating evidence the murderer has deviously planted. More gruesome deaths and shaky suspicions trap Billy right in the demented killer's lair for just the beginning of Koontz's serpentine showdown. Graphic, fast-paced action, well-developed characters and relentless, nail-biting scenes show Koontz at the top of his game." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Velocity might be read as a flat-out exercise in escapist depravity...were it not for the author's nonstop idiosyncrasies. Say this for Mr. Koontz: he is skillful in ways that make Velocity live up to its title, and nobody will ever accuse him of formulaic writing." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"The velocity mounts and builds chapter by chapter to dazzling-devil thunderbolts." Kirkus Reviews
"Matches the quality of his very best novels...in the areas of plot, character and writing....Koontz's latest is, essentially a good, old-fashioned, barn-burning, beat-the-clock thriller that pits an innocent man against the worst sort of evil....Velocity is a corker." Denver Post
"Koontz, undeniably a master of the genre, delivers not only a classic example of his fast-moving, suspense-driven narratives but also a work that explores the power of language and its effect on decision making and, most important, on our actions. Strongly recommended." Library Journal
"Not as moving as Odd Thomas, as creepy as The Taking, as darkly funny as Life Expectancy, or as thought-provoking as any of them, Velocity is, however, more suspenseful and more grueling genuinely terrific." Booklist
"Velocity is Koontz's most mysterious and frightening work....The ending brought tears to my eyes. But don't tell anyone. What you should tell everyone is that Velocity is the Koontz book that cannot be missed." BookReporter.com
Koontz delivers the must-read thriller of the summer, with a tour de force of suspense squarely in the tradition of his classic #1 New York Times bestseller, Intensity.
About the Author
Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times
bestsellers, lives with his wife, Gerda, and the enduring spirit of their golden retriever, Trixie, in southern California.
From the Hardcover edition.