Life Expectancy read true to a Koontz book, in that you are introduced to a new set of characters that you will fall in love with and cheer for. The plot has those twists and turns, that keep you on the edge of your seat, not being able to turn the pages fast enough. It’s the story of Jimmy Tock, who upon his birth, his grandfather predicts five days in his future that will have an unexpected impact on his life. A fast paced read, Koontz still keeps to his poetry like prose, which balances the story with a softness which his fans have come to expect and cherish from this amazing storyteller.
Innocence was different, not in a bad way but in being honest I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it at first. The protagonist being another strong female character, which I’ve come to appreciate from Koontz’s novels, yet Gwyneth reminds me more of a character from a Stieg Larsson novel. It’s as if she’s Koontz attempt to present a character which readers who live in a more digital environment can relate too, which I’m just not sold on if it worked or not. However, the timeless love story of Gwyneth and Addison, two lost souls who find each other against a cruel harsh world around them, kept me going and in the end did win me over with this novel.
Night Film is a must read second book from the author of Special Topics in Calamity Physics. This non-stop story of a journalist who becomes obsessed with the death of the daughter of a reclusive filmmaker will have you on the edge of your seat. It felt like reading a Hitchcock story with a bit of Stephen King mixed in.
Set in Tokyo during World War Two, you will be rooting throughout this epic novel for its 15 year old protagonist, Yoshi Kobayashi. Yoshi and five different characters experience a harsh journey through the time surrounding the firebombing of Japan in 1945. The beautifully developed characters and the far reaching impact their decisions have on each other’s lives will stay with you long after you have set this book aside.
George Saunders’ collection of short stories has a real-life quality to its story telling. Each one pulls you in and gives a small glimpse of a seemingly ordinary moment, which, after further reflection, reveals itself to hold much greater importance. I am normally not a fan of the short story format but this collection was an exceptional example of the genre.
When Ben Constable receives a letter from his best friend, Tomomi “Butterfly” Ishikawa, telling him that by the time he reads it she will be dead, it is just the beginning of a string of clues to an intricate scavenger hunt from Paris to New York. As Ben works his way through the many puzzles, he begins to question how well he actually knew his friend and what type of illicit activities she might have been involved in. This is a completely unique story that you will want to go back and start again as soon as you finish reading the last page.
This story of two doctors trying to save a little girl takes place in a small Chechnyan village over the course of five days. It is hard to believe that this is Anthony Marra’s first novel. It is a heart-wrenching and poignant story written with exquisite prose. I was constantly stopping to mark phrases that beautifully conveyed the emotion of the moment so I could read them aloud to my husband. It is the story I loved more than any other this year with characters that are bound to stay with me for a long time to come. Be sure to pick it up in the New Year if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet.