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Breathless - Dean Koontz

Paperback

Published: 23rd November 2010
Ships: 7 to 10 business days
7 to 10 business days
RRP $18.99
$18.95

A #1 "New York Times"-bestselling author delivers a thrilling novel of suspense and adventure, as the lives of strangers converge around a mystery unfolding high in the Colorado mountains--and the balance of the world begins to tilt. Available in a tall Premium Edition.

In the stillness of a golden September afternoon, deep in the wilderness of the Rockies, a solitary craftsman, Grady Adams, and his magnificent Irish wolfhound, Merlin, step from shadow into light . . . and into an encounter with enchantment. That night, through the trees, under the moon, a pair of singular animals will watch Grady’s isolated home, waiting to make their approach.

A few miles away, Camillia Rivers, a local veterinarian, begins to unravel the threads of a puzzle that will bring to her door all the forces of a government in peril.

At a nearby farm, long-estranged identical twins come together to begin a descent into darkness. . . . In Las Vegas, a specialist in chaos theory probes the boundaries of the unknowable. . . . On a Seattle golf course, two men make matter-of-fact arrangements for murder. . . . Along a highway by the sea, a vagrant scarred by the past begins a trek toward his destiny.

In a novel that is at once wholly of our time and timeless, fearless and funny, Dean Koontz takes listeners into the moment between one turn of the world and the next, across the border between knowing and mystery. It is a journey that will leave all who take it Breathless.

About the Author

Amazingly prolific and relentlessly suspenseful, Dean Koontz can be counted on for chilling, sometimes gory stories that occasionally overlap genres. His novels can jump from straightforward crime to sci-fi to horror, but the one thing he's consistent about is delivering nail-biting yarns that have kept fans reading for more than three decades.

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THE FUTURE IS THE ONLY WAY BACK...

3

This book opened with a lot of promise, kept it going through 400 pages of quality suspense, drama, hints of romance, and speculative philosophy mixed with metaphysics, but dropped the ball with an incredibly rushed ending that implied Mr Koontz forgot to finish the book before he started writing his next mega seller, and for the first time in a long, long time, I have to say the finale was a disappointment. I love animals. Mr Koontz writes in a way that implies he loves animals, too. And I respect that, greatly. Therefore Dean Koontz books and myself form a natural mix. I enjoyed BREATHLESS. Dont get me wrong. There were multiple plot threads running concurrently and it is a natural assumption for the alert reader that they would tie in together at some point. They did, but ... But it all seemed rushed with an ending that left a lot to be desired, and really, the book could have been (and _should_ have been) another four hundred pages long. That would have given our man Koontz the time and the scope to write an epic work of speculative magnificence that is worthy of having Dean Koontz on the front cover. The ultimate solution to what the visitors to the forest (introduced in the gorgeous opening chapter) actually are, was interesting and fascinating, even, but would have been an awesome read if more time was spent presenting it to the reader. The two major characters - Grady and Camilla - both have issues from the past they are trying to deal with in their own way, but the book brings them back to their present and forces them to deal with them again. And yet they didn't. The book is excellent in grabbing you emotionally, and yet it leaves you high and dry, unsatisfied even, with the ridiculously abrupt ending. I am repeating myself here, but that is the main impact this book has had on me. Mr Koontz certainly knows how to write fantastic, multi-million selling thrillers, with his brilliant Koontzian flair for the supernatural, but this one fell flat. It had me going; certainly in the first half I thought i was reading a new age classic horror story for the ages, and that thread of the book's plot certainly resolved itself well enough. But the book is essentially about what Grady and his beautiful Irish wolfhound discovered in the forest. And given the supposed impact it has on (SPOILERS) ... The reader finds out what it is, but only barely. It could have been _so_ much more. Three stars for a book that should have been an epic, beautiful, classic Koontz saga for the ages. It isn't.

Adelaide SA

true

Breathless

3.0 1

100.0

"Without a doubt, Koontz is America's #1 author of thrillers." --The Denver Post "One of the most important novelists writing today."--National Review

"Another gripping novel laced with both high adventure and suspense."--Tucson Citizen

"An original and enchanting novel."--Lincoln Journal Star

Chapter One

A moment before the encounter, a strange expectancy overcame Grady Adams, a sense that he and Merlin were not alone.

In good weather and bad, Grady and the dog walked the woods and the meadows for two hours every day. In the wilderness, he was relieved of the need to think about anything other than the smells and sounds and textures of nature, the play of light and shadow, the way ahead, and the way home.

Generations of deer had made this path through the forest, toward a meadow of grass and fragrant clover.

Merlin led the way, seemingly indifferent to the spoor of the deer and the possibility of glimpsing the white flags of their tails ahead of him. He was a three-year-old, 160-pound Irish wolfhound, thirty-six inches tall, measured from his withers to the ground, his head higher on a muscular neck.

The dog’s rough coat was a mix of ash-gray and darker charcoal. In the evergreen shadows, he sometimes seemed to be a shadow, too, but one not tethered to its source.

As the path approached the edge of the woods, the sunshine beyond the trees suddenly looked peculiar. The light turned coppery, as if the world, bewitched, had revolved toward sunset hours ahead of schedule. With a sequined glimmer, afternoon sun shimmered down upon the meadow.

As Merlin passed between two pines, stepping onto open ground, a vague apprehension—a presentiment of pending contact—gripped Grady. He hesitated in the woodland gloom before following the dog.

In the open, the light was neither coppery nor glimmering, as it had appeared from among the trees. The pale-blue arch of sky and emerald arms of forest embracedthe meadow.

No breeze stirred the golden grass, and the late-September day was as hushed as any vault deep in the earth.

Merlin stood motionless, head raised, alert, eyes fixed intently on something distant in the meadow. Wolfhounds were thought to have the keenest eyesight of all breeds of dogs.

The back of Grady’s neck still prickled. The perception lingered that something uncanny would occur. He wondered if this feeling arose from his own intuition or might be inspired by the dog’s tension.

Standing beside the immense hound, seeking what his companion saw, Grady studied the field, which gently descended southward to another vastness of forest. Nothing moved . . . until something did.

A white form, supple and swift. And then another.

The pair of animals appeared to be ascending the meadow less by intention than by the consequence of their play. They chased each other, tumbled, rolled, sprang up, and challenged each other again in a frolicsome spirit that could not be mistaken for fighting.

Where the grass stood tallest, they almost vanished, but often they were fully visible. Because they remained in motion, however, their precise nature was difficult to define.

Their fur was uniformly white. They weighed perhaps fifty or sixty pounds, as large as midsize dogs. But they were not dogs.

They appeared to be as limber and quick as cats. But they were not cats.

Although he’d lived in these mountains until he was seventeen, though he had returned four years previously, at the age of thirty-two, Grady had never before seen creatures like these.

Powerful body tense, Merlin watched the playful pair.

Having raised him from a pup, having spent the past three years with little company other than the dog, Grady knew him well enough to read his emotions and his state of mind. Merlin was intrigued but puzzled, and his puzzlement made him wary.

The unknown animals were large enough to be formidable predators if they had claws and sharp teeth. At this distance, Grady could not determine if they were carnivores, omnivores, or herbivores, though the last classification was the least likely.

Merlin seemed to be unafraid. Because of their great size, strength, and history as hunters, Irish wolfhounds were all but fearless. Although their disposition was peaceable and their nature affectionate, they had been known to stand off packs of wolves and to kill an attacking pit bull with one bite and a violent shake.

When the white-furred creatures were sixty or seventy feet away, they became aware of being watched. They halted, raised their heads.

The birdless sky, the shadowy woods, and the meadow remained under a spell of eerie silence. Grady had the peculiar notion that if he moved, his boots would press no sound from the ground under him, and that if he shouted, he would have no voice.

To get a better view of man and dog, one of the white creatures rose, sitting on its haunches in the manner of a squirrel.

Grady wished he had brought binoculars. As far as he could tell, the animal had no projecting muzzle; its black nose lay in nearly the same plane as its eyes. Distance foiled further analysis.

Abruptly the day exhaled. A breeze sighed in the trees behind Grady.

In the meadow, the risen creature dropped back onto all fours, and the pair raced away, seeming to glide more than sprint. Their sleek white forms soon vanished into the golden grass.

The dog looked up inquiringly. Grady said, “Let’s have a look.”

Where the mysterious animals had gamboled, the grass was bent and tramped. No bare earth meant no paw prints.

Merlin led his master along the trail until the meadow ended where the woods resumed.

A cloud shadow passed over them and seemed to be drawn into the forest as a draft draws smoke.

Gazing through the serried trees into the gloom, Grady felt watched. If the white-furred pair could climb, they might be in a high green bower, cloaked in pine boughs and not easily spotted.

Although he was a hunter by breed and blood, with a Sher?lockian sense of smell that could follow the thinnest thread of unraveled scent, Merlin showed no interest in further pursuit.

They followed the tree line west, then northwest, along the curve of meadow, circling toward home as the quickening air whispered through the grass. They returned to the north woods.

Around them, the soft chorus of nature arose once more: birds in song, the drone of insects, the arthritic creak of heavy evergreen boughs troubled by their own weight.

Although the unnatural hush had relented, Grady remained disturbed by a sense of the uncanny. Every time he glanced back, no stalker was apparent, yet he felt that he and Merlin were not alone.

On a long rise, they came to a stream that slithered down well-worn shelves of rock. Where the trees parted, the sun revealed silver scales on the water, which was elsewhere dark and smooth.

With other sounds masked by the hiss and gurgle of the stream, Grady wanted more than ever to look back. He resisted the paranoid urge until his companion halted, turned, and stared downhill.

He did not have to crouch in order to rest one hand on the wolfhound’s back. Merlin’s body was tight with tension.

The big dog scanned the woods. His high-set ears tipped forward slightly. His nostrils flared and quivered.

Merlin held that posture for so long, Grady began to think the dog was not so much searching for anything as he was warning away a pursuer. Yet he did not growl.

When at last the wolfhound set off toward home once more, he moved faster than before, and Grady Adams matched the dog’s pace.
Dean Koontz

When he was a senior in college, Dean Koontz won an Atlantic Monthly fiction competition and has been writing ever since. His books are published in 38 languages. He has sold 400,000,000 copies, a figure that currently increases by more than 17 million copies per year.

Twelve of his novels have risen to number one on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list (One Door Away From Heaven, From the Corner of His Eye, Midnight, Cold Fire, The Bad Place, Hideaway, Dragon Tears, Intensity, Sole Survivor, The Husband, Odd Hours, and Relentless), making him one of only a dozen writers ever to have achieved that milestone. Fourteen of his books have risen to the number one position in paperback. His books have also been major bestsellers in countries as diverse as Japan and Sweden.

The New York Times has called his writing “psychologically complex, masterly and satisfying.” The New Orleans Times-Picayune said Koontz is, “at times lyrical without ever being naive or romantic. [He creates] a grotesque world, much like that of Flannery O’Conner or Walker Percy … scary, worthwhile reading.” Rolling Stone has hailed him as “America’s most popular suspense novelist.”

Dean Koontz was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He graduated from Shippensburg State College (now Shippensburg University), and his first job after graduation was with the Appalachian Poverty Program, where he was expected to counsel and tutor underprivileged children on a one-to-one basis. His first day on the job, he discovered that the previous occupier of his position had been beaten up by the very kids he had been trying to help and had landed in the hospital for several weeks. The following year was filled with challenge but also tension, and Koontz was more highly motivated than ever to build a career as a writer. He wrote nights and weekends, which he continued to do after leaving the poverty program and going to work as an English teacher in a suburban school district outside Harrisburg. After a year and a half in that position, his wife, Gerda, made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: “I’ll support you for five years,” she said, “and if you can’t make it as a writer in that time, you’ll never make it.” By the end of those five years, Gerda had quit her job to run the business end of her husband’s writing career.

Dean Koontz lives with his wife, Gerda, and the enduring spirit of their golden retriever, Trixie, in southern California.

Visit Dean Koontz's Booktopia Author Page


ISBN: 9780553591736
ISBN-10: 0553591738
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 413
Published: 23rd November 2010
Publisher: Random House USA Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 19.4 x 10.6  x 2.7
Weight (kg): 0.25