Dean Koontz, just like a good movie, sets the mood with the opening scene saying: “Sometimes a mayfly skates across a pond, leaving a brief wake as thin a spider silk and by staying low avoids those birds and bats that feed in flight.” Tim Carrier and Linda Paquette may have both felt they were laying low, but the author tells us in his second chapter that ‘A man’s life can pivot on the smallest hinge of time. No minute is without potential for momentous change, and each tick of the clock might be the voice of Fate whispering a promise or a warning.”
Timothy, a stonemason sitting in a bar, is accidentally mistaken for a hitman by a stranger who hands him an envelope containing $10,000 and a photo of the intended victim, a writer named Linda Paquette. Krait the real killer arrives soon afterwards, and Tim manages to bluff him by pretending to be the client, saying he's had second thoughts, and is cancelling the hit while giving the killer the $10,000 as a "no-kill fee".
Krait learns what happened and comes for Linda, but Tim has tracked her down and they have run, but they barely manage to stay one step ahead of him. The killer seems to have the ability to track cell phones, financial transactions and GPS tracking; implying that he is working for someone very powerful.
Tim and Linda, who seem to have been in love from the moment they met, have many close calls narrowly escaping the killer. Trying to retrace Linda’s life they look for what prompted Linda’s death sentence? Was it a visit to a coffee shop frequented by a senator making shady deals? Why was that coffee shop burned down and why have other past patrons been killed?
As a first-time reader of Dean Koontz, his talent for his character development can be clearly seen in the character of Krait. We see him as a psychotic vicious killer who personal habits seem to distinguish the danger he represents. He enjoys going into people’s houses and going through their belongings, trashing products and art he doesn’t approve of. He carefully cleans up after himself when he makes meals in the kitchens and puts the products he disposes into the trash cans.
Each of the characters are convincing and add to the plot. The bar tender where everything started, Liam Rooney, and his wife Michelle, his friend and Policeman-Pete Santo , and Tim's mother all have important support roles.
The book moves from chapter to chapter leaving you wanting to know what is coming next and not wanting to put the book down.
Quotes by Dean Koontz
“Intuition is seeing with the soul.”
“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation, almost as good for the soul as prayer.”
“She was fascinated with words. To her, words were things of beauty, each like a magical powder or potion that could be combined with other words to create powerful spells.”
“Human beings can always be relied upon to exert, with vigor, their God-given right to be stupid. ”