Life Expectancy: A Novel by Dean Koontz

Life Expectancy

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Another wild and crazy ride with Dean Koontz. Mr. Koontz blends suspense, murder, mystery, and some type of comedy all together in many of his books and Life Expectancy is one of those!

James (Jimmy) Tock is born with a fistful of predictions made by his paternal grandfather. Sadly all of these predictions, actually dates in the future, are all dire warnings of what is to happen to Jimmy’s life. Strangely enough the old man predicted the exact time, date, length and weight of Jimmy also and then the old fellow had a heart attack right when Jimmy came out of the canal!

The whole book follows that type of thinking or writing in the case of Koontz. Many strange things happen to Jimmy that aren’t always connected to his fortune predictions. It all starts when a deranged circus clown enters the hospital and shoots the attending doctor and nurse in the delivery room. He escapes with a baby whom he assumes to be the one delivered by his wife. The death of his wife while she was in labor is why the clown went crazy and blamed those associated with the process. Jimmy is saved by a nurse and his father who was in the area is also saved but warned by the clown that he should always be wary of trapeze artists as they have ruined his career and life.

Jimmy grows in a fantastic family that nurtures him and helps him to become a top-notch baker. The family is very close and like Jimmy they worry about the predictions. One day Jimmy meets up with a crazed man in the local library. The man shoots the librarian. He then takes Jimmy and Lorrie, a beautiful young lady who also happens to be there, as hostages. Throughout the kidnapping Lorrie is constantly talking and joking with Jimmy who quickly has fallen for her like a ton of bricks. Her quick wit and humor are constantly in view throughout the story.

During this part of the adventure the crazed man drags the pair along with him while he and two partners begin to destruct the downtown area through placement of bombs in the underground passages that were built by a wealthy gentleman who years ago did so much for the town including paying for all of the inner-city buildings like the library. The three miscreants all have developed animosity toward the town over their lifetimes.

The story goes on as Jimmy and Lorrie continue their lives after that first harrowing escapade but their life doesn’t necessarily get any smoother or safer.

Koontz does keep the reader’s attention however with one calamity after another. And even though there is much nail-biting and apprehension he constantly writes with humor involved. It is hard not to laugh out loud sometimes even when reading about some very hairy adventures.

A truly interesting read by the “Dean”. He really writes great stories and this is one of them!

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