From the Corner of His Eye

ISBN: 0553801341
ISBN 13: 9780553801347
By: Dean Koontz

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About this book

Dean Koontz has been called "America's most popular suspense novelist,"* but that only begins to describe the rich variety and endless invention that characterize his work. Critics hail his impeccable craft and the artistry that has inspired the devotion of millions of fans around the world. He is unique among contemporary writers, venturing far beyond traditional boundaries to explore our deepest fears and most transcendent aspirations. Now, in From the Corner of His Eye, Koontz brings together his most powerful themes to draw readers into a spellbinding world made by a master at the top of his form -- a story rich in triumph and tragedy, joy and terror, love, hate, and profound meaning, played out by perhaps the most unforgettable cast of characters he has yet created.Bartholomew Lampion is born in Bright Beach, California, on a day of tragedy and terror, when the lives of everyone in his family are changed forever. Remarkable events accompany his birth, and everyone agrees that his unusual eyes are the most beautiful they have ever seen. On this same day, a thousand miles away, a ruthless man learns that he has a mortal enemy named Bartholomew. He doesn't know who Bartholomew is, but he embarks on a search that will become the purpose of his life. If ever he finds the right Bartholomew, he will deal mercilessly with him.And in San Francisco, a girl is born, the result of a violent rape. Her survival is miraculous, and her destiny is mysteriously linked to the fates of Barty and the man who stalks him.At the age of three, Barty Lampion is blinded when surgeons reluctantly remove his eyes to save him from a fast-spreading cancer. As the growing boy copes with his blindness and proves to be a prodigy, his mother, an exceptional woman, counsels him that all things happen for a reason, that there is meaning even in his suffering, and that he will affect the lives of people yet unknown to him in ways startling and profound.At thirteen, Bartholomew regains his sight. How he regains it, why he regains it, and what happens as his amazing life unfolds results in a breathtaking journey of courage, heart-stopping suspense, and high adventure. His mother once told him that every person's life has an effect on every other person's, in often unknowable ways, and Barty's eventful life indeed entwines with others in ways that will astonish and move everyone who reads his story.

Reader's Thoughts

Tom

In a Dean Koontz book, if there's someone he describes as particularly good, gracious, or appealing; you can be sure that something very bad is about to happen to them.There's plenty of that in this book, which tells a number of stories, all tied together by the actions of the villain. There are good number of biblical references, with most characters having a biblical corollary; especially Bartholomew, one of the heroes of the story, who has as his namesake one of the lesser known Apostles.In the end, it's clear that Koontz is mixing a good stalker-murder-thriller with an interesting theory about religion and quantum physics... namely, that religion and quantum physics can not only coexist but actually support each other.If none of that makes sense, you probably just need to read the book.

Rick

NOTE: I am a HUGE Dean Koontz fan, but I'm also objective. Within the horror/suspense genre, Koontz generally writes two types of novels: 'government conspiracies', or 'madman chasing an innocent man/child/woman/dog/couple/ all of the above.' The gov't ones are fine, as a matter of fact, it was "Strangers" that got me hooked on DK. But there's only so much you can do with 'black ops' and 'the government within the government.'While "From the Corner of His Eye" DOES have a madman chasing innocent people (WHAT? no dog?), it's a very different type of Koontz novel. If you read the cover notes, you pretty much have most of the 'life and death suspense' figured out. You've been told, within the first couple of chapters,almost everything (but not quite) about who's going to die and who will live on.But for ME, that was okay, because in THIS novel, the story of the characters--each beautifully written and fleshed out--IS the journey. "From the Corner of His Eye" is far more than suspense (and there IS still plenty of it)...it is a deep, powerful SPIRITUAL book.The characters are some of Koontz's best. The villain is deliciously loathsome, yet such a sociopath that you almost feel...not SORRY for him, but just find yourself saying "what a pathetically deluded creep!"

Ethan

I stuck with this book for 250 pages before I gave up. The writing was beautiful at times, but the characterization absolutely drove me crazy. The sheer goodness of the good guys is nauseating, and Koontz slathers them with such sticky sweetness that I actually ended up hating the characters. The bad guy is the only character I enjoyed reading about, and he's overblown to the point of caricature.Koontz has a couple of nice passages, but there's no way I'm going to make it through this book without carving my eyes out with a grapefruit spoon, and I can't do the alternate universe quantum physics thing and magic my eyes back, so I'm calling it quits.Goodbye Barty, I barely knew ye.

Mike (the Paladin)

A good example of what some are calling the "new Koontz". Maybe, I know I like this book. There are several of his more recent offerings that I have really enjoyed and this is one.Also he has one of his more "interesting" villains here. I can't say anymore without giving a spoiler, but this is one of those horrible yet laughable evil killers. You can't laugh at the evil bloody acts, but the interesting "mental gymnastics" of this guy are well done. Koontz moves into the realm of science fiction/science fantasy here and it's an interesting "take". The female protagonist/ mother in the story is a nice woman...even a good woman yet at times she drives me crazy...up the wall so to speak. Each character is pretty fully formed and the story's "hook" (view spoiler)[ multiple universes is only a part of it (hide spoiler)] is handled well. As mentioned the story very much circles around the many (somewhat esoteric) characters. But by far our Villain (Enoch Cain Jr) is one of Koontz'z more weird and fairly original creations. To call him a psychopath is to just scratch the surface of his personality. The villain's evil, the kids are cute. The story has redemption, pathos, and quite a few twists and turns.Enjoy.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

Pam

A friend who loves Koontz mailed me this book and insisted that I read it. She's still my friend, but I hated this book. The first part was quite good, with that surprise murder, but the ending was rushed and unsatisfying.Then there's the issue with Koontz's writing style (he tells too much) and unnecessary characters. What ticks me off most about Koontz is that I think he could be really, really good, but he writes and publishes too fast -- tighten, polish, edit, lose the subplots that go nowhere -- there could be masterpieces!

Shawnee Bowlin

Weird, complicated, spooky. Dean Koontz is such an amazing author that it's actually good he didn't create movies from his books. The movie versions are always less enjoyable. Junior's disgusting idea of love for Naomi was even more creepy because there are twisted people in this world who tend to think along the same lines. That's one of the things about Koontz. His freaky characters come so close to the horror lurking in the world of today. I recommend reading From the Corner of His Eye just to keep a woman on her toes, if nothing else. There are dangers out there, and to turn a blind eye to them just because they are scary is stupid and dangerous. Junior is, unfortunately, like a lot of egotistical jerks who are unable to accept reality.Barty was endearing. What a great character to throw in for balance. I wanted to hug him and help Agnes take care of him! Celestina's family situation made me very sad, but I was envious of her inner strength and her artistic abilities. It was nice that her fate included such a special child as Angel.Loved the way the story ended with the families.Thanks, Koontz, for once again keeping me intrigued with your endless imagination.

Anne

Loved it! Twists and turns, a fabulous story, great characters. Enoch Cain has you believing he is a good and loving man as the book begins, but then he does something that totally leaves you in shock, and after a while you begin to see what an evil person he is. Evil and extremely dangerous. I couldn't put this book down. The way Dean Koontz brings all the characters together is very clever. What a writer. This book has everything, but what I particularly like is that there is a moral tone all the way through. This book is a thriller with spirituality. Quite a combination! It has your pulse racing, a few tears here and there and the spiritual side (you may die here, but in other parallel worlds you didn't die) leaves you thinking and wondering..........

Carmen

I love how Koontz brings his characters to life. You sympathize and root for the underdog or the good guys. You want to string the bad guys up and roast them over a slow fire, and I mean slowwwwww fire. This one has some memorable characters, bad and good.

Robert

It is hard to swallow a character that is incorruptible and perfect. Generous and selfless. A character that gives of herself even though her life is wrought with pain and loss. It is damn near impossible to accept 12 additional characters that are similarly saint like. But what's even more ludicrous is this group of caring people finding each other and then living together in perfect harmony. Even the most righteous person is going to sick of your annoying habits. These characters are so paper thin it's insulting.You are built up to accept that the villain is so evil none of these 12 people are likely to survive his wrath. I won't spoil it but let's just say the ending was so anti-climatic it risks becoming the very definition of the word. Not to mention its not until the last 50 pages that these characters finally clash! Hundreds of pages of meandering descriptive writing masturbation, promising a huge epic climax that just never shows up. Not only does it not show up, it never calls to say it can't make it.It's as though he wrote and wrote without looking at the calendar and then one day realized he had 700 pages, no ending and the draft was due the next day.Waste of time. Which is a bummer because I've liked his books I've read in the past.

Jen3n

I liked this book. I usually don't much care for the books of Dean Koontz. I find his writing formulaic and a little insulting. You already know who the good and bad people will be: the ugly women and good looking men will be bad and the beautiful women and ugly men will not only be good they will be VERY good and probably end up together. There will also be a strong moral/Christian undertone and the concepts of Good and Evil are black and white.But this book had large sections of very good writing and was largely involving a sort-of layman version of a few quantum physics concepts that, while not actually accurate, were handled very well and were entertaining.While I didn't like the two main (adult) protagonists (a pointlessly cliche ex-priest cop who sees the world entirely in black and white and thinks it's okay to break the law and kill people and things like that as long as he gets the murderer he is hunting down... and totally doesn't see the irony in that; and a perfect-perfect-PERFECT woman who is beautiful and perfect and sweet and perfect and never did anything wrong in her whole life and perfect) I liked almost all of the secondary characters and the two children at the heart of the story. I also liked the writing itself and the narrative style the author used for the story and the book lay-out.So I liked it, but not enough to recommend it. Or something.

Karen Rae

This book is full of suspense, drama, joy and amazing courage.The day that Bartholomew Lampion is born is not the kind of day that most couples experience when their first born child comes into the world. It holds much joy for Bartholomew's Mom, but also much sadness as his father is killed in a car accident on the day he was born.The story has many different aspects to it as Barty, as his Mother calls him, is growing up. This book is one that you do not want to put down. I enjoyed it reading it and will read other books by this author.

John

From the Corner of His Eyeby Dean KoontzBantam, 729 pages, paperback, 2001; reissue of a bookoriginally published in 2001Dean Koontz is probably, right now, the most underestimatedwriter at work in the field of fantastic literature. The reasonsare not hard to fathom. Unlike most authors, who go through thelearning process before they ever see print, Koontz had themisfortune — although of course it must have seemed far fromthat to him at the time — to find publishers for his early,clumsy attempts, which, again unfortunately for his status withinthe field, sold pretty well; one of them, Demon Seed(1973), an sf novel of risible implausibility, was successfullymade into an even worse movie (1977). His movie novelizationThe Funhouse (1980; initially published as by Owen West)is another to be recalled with the wrong sort of shudder. Throughthese and other books he gained a dubious reputation — andgood sales figures — as a sort of poor man's Stephen King, areputation that ignored the fact that he was slowly carving outhis own individual and quite distinctive niche: his novels, whichgot steadily better, grew less like horror novels and less eventhan like dark fantasies, instead becoming what might best bedescribed as dark technofantasies. Horrors there might beaplenty, and they might seem to be rooted in the fantastic, butalmost always there was a sub-sciencefictional rationalizationsomewhere. By the time of a book like Mr. Murder (1993)— which is not far short of a fine novel — he had moreor less mastered his art. It can be read as a technofantasyresponse to Stephen King's The Dark Half (1989): in bothbooks the central character is a writer being persecuted by adoppelg„nger, but in Koontz's novel the doppelg„nger has beenmanufactured rather than generated from the psyche.Bestsellerdom greeted many of his novels of the later 1980sand especially the 1990s, but by that time many readers offantastic literature had given up on him, having been more thanonce bitten by his earlier efforts. This was a great shame.And it would be a great shame were such readers to missFrom the Corner of His Eye, because, although not blemish-free, this is a good novel by anybody's standards. Although notas elegantly polished, it has the air of the novel that JohnIrving, perhaps, might write were he ever to stray into DeanKoontz territory.Most of the book is set in the latter part of the 1960s.Harrison White, a black preacher, writes a long and powerfulradio sermon based on the little-regarded disciple SaintBartholomew. This sermon provides important motivation for muchof the plot, as is slowly revealed. For example, a rehearsal ofit is playing in the background as psychopath Junior Cain isbrutally raping the younger of White's two virginal daughters,Seraphim; she dies bearing the resultant child, a girl who,christened Angel, is adopted by her elder sister Celestina.Although Cain barely listens to the tape, the name Bartholomewimprints itself upon his subconscious. Elsewhere, at about thetime of Angel's birth, the broadcast sermon much affects JoeLampion, whose wife Aggie is expecting their first-born; he diesin a car smash while taking her to hospital for the birth, hisdying wish being that the baby, if a boy, be called Bartholomew.Cain does not stop his psychopathic career at the rape ofSeraphim. Less than a year later he moves on to murder, thevictim being his fairly recent bride; he fakes her death as anaccidental fall from a rickety tower and is awarded millions inan out-of-court settlement by the authorities whose task itshould have been to keep the tower in a proper state of repair.Not all are entirely convinced by Cain's explanation, among themhis lawyer, Simon Magusson — seemingly seedy but in factwith a moral core — and most particularly a maverickhomicide detective, Thomas Vanadium, who can make coins(quarters) disappear in a seemingly sleight-of-hand trick that infact is real: he has accidentally learned the knack of flickingthe coins into parallel universes. (As an aside, this offers awry counter-explanation of the celebrated Randi-Geller dispute:what if it's not Geller who's doing conjuring tricks but Randiwho's performing paranormal feats?) Vanadium hears Cain talkingin his sleep, and discovers that the murderer has a subliminalfixation on the name Bartholomew — a fixation that he beginsto exploit after Cain has very nearly killed him. Cain, you see,believes that he has killed Vanadium, rather than, inactuality, putting him into a months-long coma; and it is becauseof this false assumption that Cain's psychopathic career beginsto unravel; tormented by occasional, deliberately staged glimpsesof Vanadium's "ghost", by incongruously "materializing" quartersand by snatches of a meaningful song "spectrally" broadcast intohis luxury apartment, he becomes obsessed with the notion thatthe child born of his rape must have been a boy calledBartholomew, the murder of which infant will bring him releasefrom all the "paranormal" persecution he is suffering.As they grow through infancy, both Bartholomew — whoproves to be a child prodigy — and Angel discover they haveVanadium's ability to interact with parallel universes, only muchmore so; in Bartholomew's case this becomes even more pronouncedafter, at the age of three, he must have his eyes surgicallyremoved to halt the spread of retinal cancer. To help him moveabout without accident, he can let his mind briefly camp inclosely similar realities where he was never stricken by thecancer and so still possesses his sight.Cain is the star of the show. Koontz is obviously irritatedby the fallacy perpetuated in almost all serial-killer chillersthat serial killers are phenomenally intelligent — allHannibal Lecters. In real life this is total nonsense: serialkillers are almost always pretty dimwitted but their psychopathyleads them to believe themselves to be more intelligent byuntold orders of magnitude than the "common herd"; this falsebelief is what leads them to getting caught, usually throughrepeated acts of thundering stupidity. Koontz, going against theliterary trend but more accurately reflecting reality, portraysJunior Cain as an exceptionally stupid and gullible, if at thesame time cunning and certainly lucky, psychopath, and he does sothrough often hilarious, laugh-out-loud satire. Cain haspretensions to Culture, and is completely hoodwinked by thestances of the bad modern-art cliques of the late 1960s: nopainting is acceptable to him unless it is utterly hideous,preferably stomach-churningly so, and thus he squanders much ofhis ill gotten gains on the dire but fashionable artworksproduced by idiot poseur Sklent. In his sexual life, Cain,physically handsome but affectingly vile, is convinced of hismagnificence as a lover and that he is completely irresistible towomen; he is perplexed by the fact that so few of his ex-loversever plead with him for a reconciliation and by the way so manyof the women lusting after him play the game of pretending toresist, but chooses to dismiss these facts as just quirks ofhappenstance. And throughout everything he is guided by theludicrous but bestselling self-help writings of the crackpot guruCyrus Zedd, which have titles like Act Now, Think Laterand which advise that one should live always in the future, neverin the present or the past. As example, Zedd's prescription forthe recovery of lost memories is to stand in a cold shower for aslong as it takes, tightly pressing a fistful of ice cubes to thegenitalia. Cain discovers that the technique does indeedeventually help him recover a specific lost memory, andthereafter, for some reason, he becomes generally muchbetter at not forgetting things. There are other books inCain's library — almost all purchased from the Book of theMonth Club, of which he is inordinately proud to be a member— but somehow he has never quite had the time to read morethan a page or two of any of them, obviously believing that,through their very possession, he has transformed himself intoLiterary Man through some sort of osmotic process.But Cain is not the only character in this long and much-woven novel to leap out of the page and permanently imprint onthe mind. Celestina White is another delightful discovery. Ahighly talented artist, she becomes successful creating paintingsof the type that Cain has learnt to detest and despise: onlymorons could like paintings that uplift the heart and displaybrilliant technique, after all. More to the point, havinginitially, briefly hated the baby whose birth "killed her sister"— the newborn who, while half the offspring of the lovedSeraphim must also be half the offspring of the deservedlyloathed (but unidentified) rapist — takes her in andsacrifices much to be an ideal mother to her. It might sound asif Celestina could read as a nauseatingly good goodie (and theportrayal of Agnes Lampion does on occasion veer this way), butin fact she emerges as a charming and extremely intelligentwoman, someone one wishes one had as a best friend. While it ishard to control a grin of derision, if not outright laughter,when Cain is at centre stage, in Celestina's case it is hard tocontrol a warm grin of affection.As noted parenthetically, the depiction of the one-womancharity movement Agnes Lampion is less successful, and, oddly,the same can be said for the unkillable cop and retired priestThomas Vanadium, who really should be the tale's Immutable Forceof Good. Perhaps part of it is to do with the name. As will beobvious, there's quite a lot of coding going on in terms of thebook's names: Cain, the black Whites, Simon Magusson, Angel,Bartholomew, and so on, and this is by no means limited to thecentral characters. But Vanadium — harder, of course, thansteel þ? It's a highly artificial surname, and the effect is abit hokey, damagingly so in that it colours our perceptions ofthe rest of Vanadium's characterization, which would be just onthe verge of clich‚d caricature even without the name, whichpulls it (only slightly) too far in that direction. It'spossible, of course, that this was a deliberate gambit onKoontz's part — to set a caricatured Force of Good againsthis inspiredly caricatured Force of Evil — and certainly inthe rest of the novel Koontz displays a sufficiently attunedintelligence that this may very well be the case, but in thisinstance, at least for this reader, it is a minor irritationrather than an effective literary stratagem.Fantasy, technofantasy, science fiction, chiller thriller orcomedy of manners? From the Corner of His Eye is all ofthese, to a greater or lesser extent. Although it has occasionalclumsinesses (almost inevitable in such a very long novel) —the final, inevitable despatch of Junior by the kids is, forexample, hurriedly and rather flatly done — these are justabout irrelevant in the context of the whole, which is a splendidachievement. Do not be deceived by the book's trumpetedbestseller status, or by the bizarrely misleading blurb, or byany memories you might have (no need for cold showers and icecubes here) of early experiences with Koontz's novels: give thisone a try.This review, first published by Infinity Plus, isexcerpted from my ebook Warm Words and Otherwise: A Blizzardof Book Reviews, to be published on September 19 by InfinityPlus Ebooks.

Alex Telander

“Like the cold and fragile ectoplasm of summoned spirits, the gossamer architecture pressed against their faces, and much of it clung tenaciously to their clothes that even in the gloom, they began to look like the risen dead in tattered gravecloth.”Thus begins the latest novel from bestselling author Dean Koontz, who has brought us such great tales as Fear Nothing, Watchers, Intensity, and Dark Rivers of the Heart. In From the Corner of His Eye Koontz transcends his revered storytelling, reaching a new and higher plateau, both in narrative style and plot. From the Corner of His Eye becomes a story that one wants to keep, both in their hears and on their shelf, to return to often.The novel uses a casts of fantastically strong characters, each with their own unique and complex lives that the reader learns about in turn. The main character, Bartholomew Lampton, is a young boy who is almost a miracle birth, the mother having suffered a near-death accident on the way to the hospital. Early on, Barty appears to be a prodigy of a new dimensions, excelling in all fields to a shocking degree. Approaching the age of four, he develops a rare form of retinal cancer; the only solution is to have the retinas removed. For the next ten years of his life, Barty is blind, dealing with this deformity and coping just fine. Then one day, through powers both mystical and supernatural, Barty gains his sight.Each of the other characters forms part of a beautiful circular puzzle, where Barty is at the cent, the rest accompanying pieces. The reader is taken on journeys into the minds and lives of these characters, orchestrated by the great puppet master, Mr. Koontz, from one character to the next, from this chapter to that.Koontz lays such a solid groundwork with From the Corner of His Eye that one is left hoping for possible sequels with this wonderful setting. The book concludes with a satisfying end, opening up the reader’s narrow mind to a world of impossibilities made possible and events – ruled not empirically possible by scientists – to reality and fruition.“Through the mind, odd and disconnected thoughts rolled like slow, greasy eye-of-the-hurricane waves on an ominous sea.” Koontz’s words broach the realm of poetry with their imagery, making the story not only compelling and spellbinding but outright charming and exquisite. When one begins reading From the Corner of His Eye, it will be unlike any book ever read by anyone. The tale is magnificent, the pace strong and continuous, the characters unique and incomparable to any others. The power is like a charging, one-manned train, where Mr. Koontz is the driver and the reader is the only passenger, where he or she will remain belted into the sea, reading paragraphs and turning pages, until the very last, collapsing in an exhausted heap; then rising after recuperation, hoping for a sequel.Originally published on March 26, 2001 ©Alex C. Telander.For over 500 book reviews, and over 40 exclusive author interviews (both audio and written), visit BookBanter.

Mike Harden

I'm going to keep this short and simple… this story plain ol' had the potential to be Dean Koontz' true masterpiece but was ruined by his inability to deliver a climactic ending with the villain. I mean, come on! We all know his books always end abruptly with little or no detail of how the "bad guy" meets his end… but this was on a whole other level. This is the epitome of ending with a fizzle, instead of a bang. It almost ruined everything for me. He crafted such an oddly deep and confusing evil character and, quite frankly, we deserved more. You just don't waste 700 pages of detail and throw it away in one unexplained sentence.So to sum this up, I loved this book. Would have been a perfect work of art if Mr. Koontz' faithfully annoying inability to deliver a closing was not pushed to an extreme here. Enjoy 95% of the book and then prepare for a well of despair and annoyance. Enjoy! or not...

Eve

I read the book for just one reason - to read for myself what Dean Koontz's prose is like. If he can sell so many books, there has to be a good reason. His prose offers nothing new, but his characterization is good - the "good guys" and "bad guy" are excellently drawn. Koontz tells the story from each of their perspectives in a natural, easy way. Although the villain is one sick character, Koontz manages to present him as more or less believable instead of as a caricature or a monster.One thing I notice is the lack of profanities. It feels a bit weird in a novel where a relentless killer is a major character. There's one scene where he is berating an already dead victim, and due to the total lack of profanity, he sounds more like a five-year-old boy badmouthing a playmate.There's a lot of suspension of disbelief going on, though I don't know if this is because it's a novel about miracles or because that's how Koontz normally does things.

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