I am not typically a Dean Koontz reader. In fact, I think I’ve only read one other book by Dean Koontz, it was years ago and I don’t even remember what the name of it or what it was about. When I saw The City on Netgalley, I decided to give him another try. Apparently, this one is not the usual Koontz offering.
The City is the story of Jonah Kirk, a 10 year old African-American boy who lives with him mother, his father having deserted them. It’s told in hindsight when Kirk is in his 50’s and I think the style works really well. Kirk is visited by a woman that no one else meets and she gives him little looks into what the future holds. He also has dreams that seem to foretell events. She miraculously provides him with a piano which he has phenomenal talent for just as his grandfather, who is a piano man, did. His mother is a singer and the family life revolves around music. One of the most touching parts of the book is his friendship with an older Japanese man in his building who becomes his ally as events start to unravel. There’s a murderous psychopath, a woman who likes to set off bombs, a true believer in The Cause and Jonah’s criminal father as the cast of bad guys.
From what I’ve read from other people, a Koontz book is usually some type of creepy horror story. This is not a horror story. It definitely has some creepy elements and I enjoyed those but, at least to me, it’s not scary. The whole thing has more the feel of walking through a dream. While there are plenty of bad guys to go around, the feeling of softness, love, friendship and gentility dominated the book. Maybe that’s why some Koontz fans are disappointed with it. I loved it. It was showed the best and worst of humanity in a well-told tale.
Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.