01/11/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies
pub: Bantam Books. 337 page hardback. Price: $27.00 (US), $32.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-553-80713-4.
check out website: www.bantamdell.com and www.deankoontz.com
Ryan Perry is a contented rich man with a beautiful girlfriend. Retired at thirty-four, thanks to his success on the Internet, he's a man who has it all. You know what they say about not being able to buy good health? Ryan doesn't believe that and when he is diagnosed with cardiomyopathy he's sure that with the right kind of care he will be saved.
What Ryan needs is a transplant. Cardiomyopathy is caused by many factors but Ryan thinks that there is something more sinister going on. His world closes in around him as sinks to the bottom of the abyss of paranoia. The more he investigates; using his vast personal wealth, the more he believes there is something very wrong. A nurse who attends him after an exploratory operation offers a mysterious comment on his condition and as he is examined.
Months later, he has received his transplant and all is well but now it's not Ryan's heart that's damaged but his belief in the human race. Things are never going to be the same again and he's terrified that someone didn't want him to have the transplant and the original owner wants it back.
This novel never seems quite sure which pigeonhole it wants to slot into. We have mysticism, social comment and overstretched metaphors about novel writing all crammed into its pages. It ends up not satisfying any criteria. I found the references to novel-writing laboured. The mystery is explained away in a piece of exposition that Dan Brown would be proud. There were some good ideas but it plodded in a disappointing way to reach a lacklustre conclusion.
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