Friday, December 27, 2013

Innocence: A Novel (And the Short Story: Wilderness) by Dean Koontz

Book Review by:
Sharon Powers.

Innocence by Dean Koontz. This cover
image is the Kindle Edition from Amazon.
com; price: $10.49. The title is also
available from for $18.12
or 1 Club Membership credit.
     Dean Koontz is widely known for penning novels in the genre's of suspense thrillers, horror novels and mysteries; often these stories include science fiction, or supernatural and mystical elements.

     Many fans cheer the inclusion of dogs as an element into many of his popular novels; the dogs are invariably a positive element of the story, influencing the outcome for the featured characters.

     Innocence is a newly released novel, coming to us readers on December 10, 2013, just two short weeks ago. I loved getting my copy and getting to read it over my Christmas holiday.

     A young man, Addison, living alone beneath the city, afraid to be seen by anyone because of his monstrous appearance, meets a young woman, Gwyneth, in a library in the late hours of the night. She runs from those who would harm her. Gwyneth also wants to bring to justice her father's murderer. As events unfold, Addison and Gwyneth are caught up in a chain of events that may change their world...but maybe, it just might change everyone's world, as well. Will Addison and Gwyneth find a way to overcome their personal limitations and work together? Are the ghostly apparitions good or evil? Will the whole world be doomed?
Fabio gained popularity when he 
took off his shirt and became the
quintessential "man without a shirt"
on many romance book covers.
Innocence, by Dean Koontz is
really antithetical to this kind of 
romantic physical beauty.
     Putting Innocence into a particular genre is difficult when you consider the various elements of the book. I've even seen it classified as a "romance novel." I think probably Nora Roberts, Lisa Kleypas or Julie Garwood might disagree with that assessment...besides, as you can see, no shirtless man graces the cover of the Dean Koontz book.

     Even if you consider less titillating romance novels like Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, or Wuthering Heights, I'm still not sure Innocence fits the romance category. Yes, in the latter parts of the book some small amount of romance is there, but "romance" just isn't the driving force of the story.
Addison Goodheart,
hiding in the shadows...

     That having been said, what kind of book is Innocence? We know that the protagonist, Addison Goodheart, calls himself a "monster," several times, a "troll," a "...miscreation, freak, [and an] abomination" (p.302). He tells us that men and women recoil from him and to conceal himself from everyone, he wears black shoes and clothing and goes out after midnight, returning before dawn. In making such excursions, he wears a ski mask and hoodie, and hides when others approach. Even to those few who actually know him, he requires of them no physical contact to his person, nor can they look directly into his face.
Gwyneth's hair was black and spiky,
her make up was dark and heavy
and her face had piercings and
jewelry--her goal  was to make
people afraid to look directly
at her and stay away.

    The young woman in the story might be likened to Beauty, while Addison Goodheart might be likened to the Beast. Just one teensy, weensy little problem with that...Gwyneth, wore her hair spiked, wore heavy black mascara and makeup, wore facial jewelry, sunglasses, and fake tattoos on the back of her hands--dressing as a "Goth chick."
Beauty and the Beast.

     Gwyneth also fights off and tricks an attacker, letting all of us know she isn't some wilting flower waiting to be plucked. She is tough and nobody's fool--and, she is determined to find her father's murderer. No, she's not "Beauty," and she even says so herself. Just after meeting Addison, Gwyneth tells him, "I've no illusions about romance...Beauty and the Beast is a nice fairy tale, but fairy tales are for books. You're no beast, and I'm no beauty" (p. 59). Oh, yes. And Gwyneth has a "social phobia," to go along with her Goth look (p. 84). The rules for their interactions? Gwyneth doesn't look at Addison, and Addison doesn't touch Gwyneth (p. 88).

Addison's lucky coin story.
[Addison tells us:] ON AN APRIL NIGHT WHEN I WAS TWELVE, SHORTLY after I finished reading a novel about a lucky coin, [I found a penny and] showed it to Father, [and] declared that I had found my own lucky coin....he told me that there was no such thing as luck. To believe in luck, you must believe that the universe is a roulette wheel and that instead of paying out to us what we have earned, it pays out only what it wishes (269). He said that the penny would not bring us luck, that even if it had been a million dollars, it would not of itself bring us luck and change our lives, that what happened to us was of our election--and therefore allowed us more hope than luck could ever provide....When Father took luck away from me, I was not downcast but exhilarated. The penny didn't mean anything, but what I did with the penny mattered. I put the coin down on the...floor, where I had found it, in the hope that whoever discovered it next led to the revelation to which I had been led (271).

     I love Addison's story about how he learned what real hope was, as something you keep in your heart and mind, not in your pocket in the form of a "lucky penny." Addison's father, teaching him about choices being more important than abandoning yourself to the whims of "luck," is moving and illustrative of the kind of life Addison and his father lead. Addison loves, as well. He returns the penny to the ground so another may find the treasure he found . . .hope.

The title of the short story prequel
Wilderness. It costs $ .99 as an
e-book download from Amazon.
     Before we get to what I think about the book, I want to tell you--briefly--about the short-story prequel. The short story is approximately thirty (30) pages, so it is truly a short story, not a novella. The subject is Addison before he gets to the big city. It sets the stage for Innocence and we get to see Addison with his mother and him as a child. Of course, Dean Koontz throws in a little zinger--a serial killer! How exciting is that? I loved this short story and urge you to read it before the book. You'll get to see more of Addison (and his mother) and have a better understanding of the novel, Innocence, in general. It is only $.99, and for me, it was well worth the price.

     We do have elements of horror, some supernatural entities grace the pages, Gwyneth is on a quest to bring her father's murderer to justice, some spirituality, oh yes, and Dean Koontz does get some dogs into the book. So...fantasy, horror, thriller, mystery, crime, romance (and dare I say it? "apocalyptic themes") all rolled up into one. Without a doubt, Dean Koontz has been a writer who has attracted legions of readers to his books. And, without a doubt, Dean Koontz has crafted a wonderful novel, utilizing his excellence in writing and storytelling. Well done, Dean Koontz. I am loathe to say much more because I don't want to give the major plot away. Suffice to say that the end is not quite what you might expect.

About the Author: Dean Koontz is
shown here with his dog, Trixie.
Dean loves to include dogs in
many of his novels (no, not all
his novels). Dean Koontz wrote a
wonderful book, entitled, A Big Little
Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog
Named Trixie
. Check it out at by following the
link. For the prequel to the book,
Innocence, "Wilderness," follow
the link, to that--also to be found
on For other books
by Dean Koontz in which you may be
interested, see Amazon's Dean
Koontz Page

4.5 Stars out of 5.

     I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Dean Koontz's work, who enjoys thrillers and horror, who enjoys supernatural elements and, of course, dogs for all the dog lovers. I rate this very interesting book at 4.5 stars out of 5 for all the reasons I listed above.

Pages: 352
Publisher: Bantam (December 10, 2013)
Sold by: Random House LLC
Language: English

     I hope you have enjoyed reading my post today about Dean Koontz's new book, Innocence. Please join me next week for another new book review.

Until next time . . .

White Rose.
. . . many happy pages of reading.



________________________________________________________ - Innocence by Dean Koontz on Amazon; -Fabio; - Hiding in the shadows; - Gwyneth's hair; - Beauty and the Beast; - Wilderness - 4.5 Stars out of 5; - A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog Named Trixie by Dean Koontz; - Wilderness by Dean Koontz, a prequel to Innocence - Amazon's Dean Koontz Page; - White Rose.