Sorry to do another Koontz review. But Koontz is who I’m reading just now, and the day hasn’t produced any other subject material—at least none that I noticed. If I were James Lileks, I could get a couple thousand words out of how I avoided eye contact with the guy trying to sell Strib subscriptions in the grocery store tonight.
Oh, I had my dialogue worked out. He’d say, “Interested in subscribing to the Star Tribune?”
And I’d be like, “No.”
And he’d say, “Why not?”
And I’d be like, “I can get my beliefs and politics insulted for free any time I like. Why should I pay the Strib to insult them?”
But in real life those exchanges never work out like you’ve scripted them, so I just rushed by, pretending he wasn’t there.
Anyway, to the book. The Good Guy begins with the hero, Timothy Carrier, a master mason, sitting alone in his favorite bar. A man takes a stool near him and starts a conversation as if he knows him. Assuming the man has confused him with someone else, Timothy plays along for a few minutes, just as a lark.
It stops being funny when the man hands him an envelope containing ten thousand dollars, along with a photograph of a woman he wants him to murder, and then rushes out.
Not only is Timothy not in the least interested in murdering anyone, but he finds the woman’s face extremely attractive.
So begins an odyssey in which Timothy locates the woman, a novelist named Linda Paquette, and goes on the run with her, fleeing a murderer who is a talented professional as well a total, narcissistic sociopath.
But there’s hope. Because Timothy isn’t just a good guy. He has considerable resources of his own, and the conspirators made a very big mistake when they stumbled over him.
The Good Guy is one of Koontz’ recent books, and he’s become as good at building a story as (we’re informed) Timothy is at laying bricks. Timothy is just the kind of guy the reader wants to be, and Linda just the kind of woman he’d like to fall in love with (or vice versa if the reader’s a woman. If I know anything about women. Which I don’t). I put the book down from time to time, because I had to sleep and work, but it was a struggle. The villain was interesting, frightening and believable, but Timothy and Linda caught my full sympathy and held it.
I’m kind of glad Koontz doesn’t do a lot of sequels. That means Timothy and Linda will probably live happily ever after, without running into any more ruthless serial killers. That’s kind of nice to think about.