Halloween Special: Intensity- Dean Koontz

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Or rather, happy day after Halloween! As it is one of my favourite holidays of the year, I was too busy getting high on candy to post anything yesterday. Oh well, I’m posting it now dammit. Here’s a review of the creepiest book on my 2016 shelf, which gets its own special review because it fits the theme of Halloween perfectly. If you like being scared and want to experience fear through literature, here’s a great book for you. Let’s start with a synopsis:

Past midnight, Chyna Shepard, twenty-six, gazes out a moonlit window, unable to sleep on her first night in the Napa Valley home of her best friend’s family. Instinct proves reliable. A murderous sociopath, Edgler Foreman Vess, has entered the house, intent on killing everyone inside. A self-proclaimed “homicidal adventurer,” Vess lives only to satisfy all appetites as they arise, to immerse himself in sensation, to live without fear, remorse or limits, to live with “intensity.” Chyna is trapped in his deadly orbit.
Chyna is a survivor, toughened by a lifelong struggle for safety and self-respect. Now she will be tested as never before. At first her sole aim is to get out alive–until, by chance, she learns the identity of Vess’s next intended victim, a faraway innocent only she can save. Driven by a newly discovered thirst for meaning beyond mere self-preservation, Chyna musters every inner resource she has to save an endangered girl…as moment by moment, the terrifying threat of Edgler Foreman Vess intensifies.

Wow. heavy, right? I saw this book recommended in a video about good horror books. So what did I do? I ventured out into the void (library) and picked it right up. And man, did I love it. Why? Because it was the perfect encapsulation of horror in book-form. It was exactly what I was looking for. I love horror, but rarely read horror for some reason. I wanted to be scared. And I was terrified. Here’s why:

First of all, the events in the novel were movie-perfect. I keep using this term, but I’m not sure if it makes sense to anyone other than my weird-ass self. Basically what I mean by this is that the book is described so well, I can picture it clearly in my head in movie form. I can see how certain scenes would work perfectly on the big screen. Am I the only one who does this? It may be my background of drama and performance, I don’t know. In short, it’s just how I envision a book being translated to film. And this book was sooooo good. It was like an episode of Criminal Minds. The villain? Terrifying. The events that occur? Terrifying. And the twist at the end? Perfect. The author did a great job leading the reader through the minute details, and it plays out so well scene by scene, second by second. It’s like reading a horror movie. If you’re into those of course.

Next, I loved how scary it was. It was a classic cat and mouse chase. The very first pages grab you straight away, and you spend the whole book in absolute fear. Follow Chyna as she tries to silently escape a psychotic killer. And the author doesn’t hold back. The killer kills. I felt like all my expert knowledge from watching Criminal Minds was finally put to good use. Because I was trying to profile the killer the whole time. And I was biting my nails at every close encounter between him and Chyna. If you want to be a nervous wreck, read this book.

Finally, I loved the writing. The writing was lovely, and it didn’t take away from the events described in the book. It added to it. It was a perfect blend of descriptive prose and heart-stopping, fast-paced narrative. I loved it.

There isn’t much to say about it without spoiling everything, so I’ll leave this review short and sweet.

So, if you want a challenge, turn off the lights, get under the covers and read this by torchlight. I guarantee you will be terrified. It’s that intense. Hence the title. See what I did there? English, y’all. I have a way with words.

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