From the Corner of His Eye, by Dean Koontz

Be easy in your ceaseless care for me. I got my walk in tonight. It looks to be the only one I’ll get this week, but it’s something. The temperature was tolerable, if I bundled up, and enough sun filtered through the light clouds to give me a diaphanous shadow.

Tomorrow night it’s supposed to rain. In any case, I’ll be running to the airport to pick up Moloch and his wife, back from China.

Which means that it’s just possible, if I hear that traffic’s bad, that I’ll skip posting altogether.

Steel yourselves. I know you can survive it.

I promise I’m not going to review every Dean Koontz novel I read, as I go through them alphabetically.

But I’m going to review the really outstanding ones. And From the Corner of His Eye definitely qualifies.

I suppose it’s possible that Koontz could produce a better novel than this. I haven’t read them all yet. But at this point I can’t imagine a better one.

This is a big, sprawling book that covers a long period of time, kind of like those Victorian novels I’ve never read, by Thackeray and Trollope.

And it’s populated by a remarkable cast of quirky, fascinating characters worthy of Charles Dickens.

And it’s built on a Sci Fi/Supernatural premise, like… well, like a Dean Koontz book.

The blurb on the inside page of the paperback is misleading. It makes it sound as if this is the story of Bartholomew Lampion. Bartholomew is certainly a central character, but he’s a baby for half the book. The story is actually about a whole network of people, all bound together by the strange effects of a radio sermon called, “This Momentous Day.”

The story begins in January, 1965. First of all (though not first in the narrative), in Oregon, a narcissistic sociopath named Enoch Cain murders his beautiful, loving wife. The next day, in two places in California, two babies are born—a boy and a girl—in circumstances of extreme family tragedy. Nevertheless each child finds a loving home and shows early signs of being a prodigy.

But Enoch Cain is out there, and he has become aware that there’s a child who he believes is a danger to him. He grows obsessed with finding that child and killing him.

Cain is an interesting character. He’s evil and does horrible things that cause great pain to people the reader has come to care for. Nevertheless, Koontz treats him to a large degree as a comic figure (he explains his rationale for this through one of his characters in the course of the book). Cain thinks he’s a genius, a connoisseur, and God’s gift to women, but in fact he’s not particularly bright, likes only the things critics tell him to like, and most people who meet him find him rather creepy. He’s blissfully unaware of this. Also his suppressed conscience expresses itself forcefully in some painful and embarrassing physical reaction, every time he commits a murder.

As the plot works itself out, and all the characters come to know one another, we observe the working out of Koontz’ premise, that just as quantum physics and string theory tell us that every point in the universe is connected, so all people are connected, and all our actions have infinite consequences—and not only in our own universe.

I loved every page of this book. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel this long (over 700 pages) before and wanted it to be longer. As the saying goes, I laughed; I cried.

There are strong Christian elements (along with some speculation which could serve as fodder for late night discussions).

From the Corner of His Eye gets my highest recommendation.

Update: Scratch tomorrow’s rain. We’re going to get snow.

If Nature is our Mother, our family is dysfunctional.

5 thoughts on “From the Corner of His Eye, by Dean Koontz”

  1. Then I read it. I just had my first Koontz disappointment with Fear Nothing. I think he wrote that one prior to becoming serious about a more Christian worldview such as we see in the Odd Thomas books.

  2. What particularly did you dislike about FEAR NOTHING? I was troubled by the lack of resolution in the story, but since there’s a sequel, I assumed Koontz was leaving some conflict for that book.

  3. I wasn’t aware there was a sequel, but I thought this was a great thriller. (Though I read it quite a few years ago now.)

    – a little search shows up; The San Francisco Examiner; “Dean Koontz believes his latest mystery-terror-thriller is his best work. And he is right. … Fear Nothing will make you fear almost everything. A terrific tale.

    – “Fear Nothing is a novel released in 1997 by the best-selling author Dean Koontz. The book is the first installment in what is reported to be a three part series of books, known as the Moonlight Bay Trilogy, featuring Christopher Snow, who suffers from the rare (but real) disease called XP (xeroderma pigmentosum). The second of the three is Seize the Night. No release date has yet been set for the release of the third book titled Ride the Storm. Fear Nothing is in several ways a successor to 1987 Koontz novel Watchers.

    – I don’t think (ah, the old memory banks are melting down) I’ve read these last two. I’ve read Watchers. I remember it as a good read. (I’ll admit to being a sucker for books that feature dogs.)

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