One Door Away from Heaven.

Over the years, Dean Koontz and I have had a strained relationship.  He would write books, I wouldn’t read them.

I used to be a huge Koontz fan when I was in high school.  I would read anything I could get my hands on.  At the time, he was a nice bookend to Stephen King.  I would read a King book, then two Koontz’s, then a King and so on.

But, eventually, I just stopped reading him.  After reading so much, his books started to seem the same.  Sure, there were greats like Watchers, Strangers and Lightening, but there weren’t enough of those to keep me reading.

So I just stopped.

I haven’t read a book by Dean Koontz in probably 15 years because, for as much joy as his books had given me growing up, I couldn’t trust him.

So when my buddy gave me One Door Away from Heaven to read, I was a little apprehensive.  He assured me it was good, but that didn’t assuage my fears.  Plus, it looked like a sci/fi book.  I’m not into sci/fi much.  But I told him I’d give it a chance.

One Door Away from Heaven - Dean Koontz

From the first chapter, I was hooked.  This book was good. I enjoyed it from cover to cover, and read it rather quickly.  Normally, I read only on the metro, on the way to and from work, but sometimes, if the book calls for it, I’ll read it before I go to bed, too.  Heaven called for it.

The characters are likeable (or, unlikeable, if called for), the action and suspense is plentiful and, in addition to some nasty aliens, it has a serial killer.  A serial killer is always good in the mix.

The story line seems convoluted at first.  There are three different stories running at once.  You have a kid trying to stay ahead of the aforementioned nasty aliens (who are trying to kill him), a little girl who’s stepfather is a serial killer (and she is an intended victim) and the women trying to help her and a private detective who has a complicated past.  But, with a lot of Koontz’s work that I’ve read, it all comes together.  From what I remember, that always seemed to be one of his strengths — tell the point of view from numerous characters, and tie it up nicely by the end.

If there was one downside to the novel, it would be the obvious (and I mean glaringly obvious not bothering to hide obvious) references to God.  I don’t like a sermon when I’m reading.  Fortunately, that theme wasn’t prevalent throughout the entire book, just certain, small spots.

Regardless, I really, really liked this book.  Enough to maybe give him another whirl (or at least re-read some of my favorites).  It’s been a long time since I’ve read him, so maybe it’s time to crack another page.

Now I gotta make a tag for scifi.