First, thanks to Random House/Bantam Dell and Netgalley for allowing me to read an e-galley of this title. Dean Koontz will always be one of my all time favorite authors. And while a couple books ago I was a bit disappointed, that changed with the last one, Innocence, and now this one, The City, has totally won me back over.
I loved this story. It was such a good story, and it moved along at the perfect pace. There was plenty of suspense, and it was good to see things didn’t happen quite the way expected, but in a way that was just as, if not more, satisfying. There were still some of the major losses that you would expect with a Koontz story, people you loved, and hated to have to see disappear. But then there were others that stuck around, even when you just knew, based on all the foreshadowing, that something horrible must be able to befall them.
The main character is Jonah Kirk, or you might like his given name from his dead beat father, Jonah Ellington Basie Hines Eldridge Wilson Hampton Armstrong Kirk. All names of famous musical artists, ones that Jonah’s grandpa on his mom’s side would be a big fan of. His father did this to try to get in good with his wife’s parents. Didn’t quite work, as Grandpa Teddy kind of saw it for what it was. Fortunately for Jonah, he had the possibility of living up to that name with his own musical talent. But at first his father didn’t seem to want him to, or at least his father was afraid that his grandfather would turn Jonah against him. Jonah’s dad soon left, but then would come back. Until one time that his mom caught him visiting the woman who lived in the apartment above them. Then his mother knew it was time to be done with the man. Now Jonah had some magical types of things that happened to him, as in all good Dean Koontz stories you would expect. He was given a little charm by a cab driver that seemed to have good luck. He had this woman he named Miss Pearl that would come up to him on very rare occasions and talk to him. She might help him out, as she did the first time, helping him to find a piano at the community center that he could finally begin to learn to play on. But other times she came when he was dreaming, and the dreams she gave names to the people in them, and told him whether they were dreams of things to come, or things that had already happened. The people in these dreams would become a part of his life soon, but not in good ways. One, the bad man that he saw the things from the past from, he wouldn’t really come into contact directly much until the end of all this. The other, the woman, he would come into close contact, and she was pretty scary. This story took place during all the Civil Rights unrest in the US. And Jonah is a young, black boy. He makes friends with a Japanese man that lives in the same apartment complex. Although he does go about it in a kind of self serving way. He wants to enlist the man in his keeping track of this evil woman. In the end they become really good friends, Mr. Yoshioka almost a bit of a father figure, definitely someone Jonah knew and loved as much as a family member.
The group of characters in this book were all colorful and so easily loved or hated. While there was no animal really in this story, somewhat unusual for a Koontz story, overall it still was a great cast of people to build a story around. I think that the amount of background spent on most of the characters and storylines was perfect. Maybe a bit more time spent on one side character, but what was learned through that branch definitely added to the story. I can once again go out and announce to the world that Dean Koontz is one of my favorite, as well as one of the best authors out there.