Publication: December 8th 2015 By: Bantam
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Supernatural
Format: eARC Source: Netgalley My Rating: 3.5 Stars
At twenty-two, Bibi Blair’s doctors tell her that she’s dying. Two days later, she’s impossibly cured. Fierce, funny, dauntless, she becomes obsessed with the idea that she was spared because she is meant to save someone else. Someone named Ashley Bell. This proves to be a dangerous idea. Searching for Ashley Bell, ricocheting through a southern California landscape that proves strange and malevolent in the extreme, Bibi is plunged into a world of crime and conspiracy, following a trail of mysteries that become more sinister and tangled with every twisting turn.
Unprecedented in scope, infinite in heart, Ashley Bell is a magnificent achievement that will capture lovers of dark psychological suspense, literary thrillers, and modern classics of mystery and adventure. Beautifully written, at once lyrical and as fast as a bullet, here is the most irresistible novel of the decade.
I liked this story, though parts of it seem to go on forever. Coming in at almost 600 pages, Ashley Bell is quite a mind binder. I’ve read 3 or 4 novels by Koontz over the years, but I think this is one of the most confusing. Now, if you don’t read every word in this long tale, then you will not see where it’s going and you definitely won’t see where it came from. My favorite parts of this story are from the past; the present is a little murky.
Bibi Blair comes off as a normal person. She’s a writer, and as much as she uses her imagination, she is also a realist. She’s a tough cookie, always has been. But the moment the story takes a turn back in time to Bibi’s childhood, you can tell that this is something more. Maybe something sinister. And Koontz hits you with a big dose of fear and sympathy fairly early, and I wasn’t prepared. I cried, for Bibi – her parents – and myself; but quickly put it all aside. Surly Koontz has a point to make, because to drop that within the first 10% means that everything is about to flip. It flipped, alright. It flipped and made this into a more mystical story. After all is said and done, Bibi has to figure out where to find Ashley Bell and what it all means. There are forces at play here that I didn’t see coming. Talk about overkill!
So, all of this has to be read. As much as I’d like to say that some of this could have been left out of this story, I can’t. Every single detail comes into play with this plot. From Bibi’s childhood, to the dead tenant, to the dog, to her doomed college education, to present day – it all combines to make sense of what the hell is going on. I admit, I cried when Bibi got that bad news. I was brought back to some dark personal days, and I had to check myself. Then, everything changed. Bibi’s situation changed the tone of the story. It went from sentimental to something close to spiritual, and then comes the darkness. So why just 3.5 stars? Well, the pacing was up and down throughout. It starts off at a great speed, and keeps it up until around 25%. That’s when I had to put it down, and started (and finished) another book.
This is more than a thrilling mystery, it has some supernatural / paranormal features as well. So if you are into any occult stories, then this will appeal to you. There’s also some Black-Ops and terrorist situations, so if that isn’t your thing, then you may need to stay away from this one. Again, I enjoyed this one; even if it is too long. Recommended.