‘Hideaway,’ by Dean Koontz

Pornography is the new mechanics of sex without the emotional context: lust ceaselessly indulged, love eternally unmentioned. That is also how novels of the supernatural read to me when they make much of otherworldly horror but say nothing of otherworldly redemption.

So I wrote a novel that dealt with both sides of the equation, in the belief that the forces of darkness seem more real and scarier when they are one half of a balanced narrative that includes the forces of light—just as making love with a cherished partner is immeasurably better than finding satisfaction in a porn film.

The passage above does not come from the text of Dean Koontz’s novel, Hideaway, but from an afterword to this edition, in which he reminisces about the book’s reception. He tells us how it became the first of his novels to receive a substantial amount of hate mail – because it assumes the existence of God. And he tells how it got made into a film – and how he eventually lost the artistic control he’d been promised but managed to get his name (mostly) removed from the film’s advertising, so great was his disgust with the final product.

When Hatch and Lindsey Harrison go off an icy mountain road in their car, victims of a drunk truck driver, they end up in a freezing river. Hatch dies and Lindsey barely survives. But by good fortune, the world’s foremost center for “re-animation” is only minutes away. A dedicated medical team brings Hatch back to life – after a record time dead, and amazingly without visible injury.

In the flush of a second chance, the couple decides to rebuild their life. Their major decision is to adopt a disabled child, a beautiful, spunky, and smart girl named Regina. Their second chance seems to be both physical and spiritual.

But somewhere in the darkness, in a secret place, there lurks a monster – an evil young man with a supernatural link to Hatch. This man worships Satan, and lives to kill. Through their psychic tie, the two men became aware of each other – Hatch is horrified, but the monster sees in his family the perfect prey he’s been hunting for.

I’d actually read Hideaway before, but I’d forgotten it almost completely, and the suspense was unimpaired on this reading. And suspense there was. I’d call Hideaway a tour de force in the tradition of C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength – a story where good is portrayed in heartbreaking beauty, while evil is exposed in all its banality and repulsiveness. I hardly made it through this book, but it was rewarding. And essentially a Christian story.

Recommended, with cautions for grotesquery and intense suspense.

2 thoughts on “‘Hideaway,’ by Dean Koontz”

  1. YES, a thousand times yes.

    This is exactly the problem with so much modern fantasy – I think I realized it first watching Buffy -evil is real and powerful, but Good is on the sidelines waiting for humans to handle things on their own.

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