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Bending the Spine

Friday, July 1, 2011

Review: Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz

With his bestselling blend of nail-biting intensity, daring artistry, and storytelling magic, Dean Koontz returns with an emotional roller coaster of a tale filled with enough twists, turns, shocks, and surprises for ten ordinary novels. Here is the story of five days in the life of an ordinary man born to an extraordinary legacy—a story that will challenge the way you look at good and evil, life and death, and everything in between.

Jimmy Tock comes into the world on the very night his grandfather leaves it. As a violent storm rages outside the hospital, Rudy Tock spends long hours walking the corridors between the expectant fathers' waiting room and his dying father's bedside. It's a strange vigil made all the stranger when, at the very height of the storm's fury, Josef Tock suddenly sits up in bed and speaks coherently for the frist and last time since his stroke.

What he says before he dies is that there will be five dark days in the life of his grandson—five dates whose terrible events Jimmy will have to prepare himself to face. The first is to occur in his twentieth year; the second in his twent-third year; the third in his twenty-eighth; the fourth in his twenty-ninth; the fifth in his thirtieth.

Rudy is all too ready to discount his father's last words as a dying man's delusional rambling. But then he discovers that Josef also predicted the time of his grandson's birth to the minute, as well as his exact height and weight, and the fact that Jimmy would be born with syndactyly—the unexplained anomaly of fused digits—on his left foot. Suddenly the old man's predictions take on a chilling significance.

What terrifying events await Jimmy on these five dark days? What nightmares will he face? What challenges must he survive? As the novel unfolds, picking up Jimmy's story at each of these crisis points, the path he must follow will defy every expectation. And with each crisis he faces, he will move closer to a fate he could never have imagined. For who Jimmy Tock is and what he must accomplish on the five days when his world turns is a mystery as dangerous as it is wondrous—a struggle against an evil so dark and pervasive, only the most extraordinary of human spirits can shine through.

From the Hardcover edition.

Audio CD, 0 pages
Published December 7th 2004 by Random House Audio (first published 2004)
ISBN: 0739315536 (ISBN13: 9780739315538)
This is my first EVER audiobook.  I tried it out on the recommendation of a coworker that listens to audiobooks during her commute.  I never thought that I would enjoy listening to someone else read a book, I’m easily distracted.  I found out that I, in addition to being a regular book nerd, am an audiobook nerd.
I don’t think that words can describe how great this book is!  It is, well, GREAT!
Dean Koontz’s (is that proper, “Koontz’s?”…anyways) writing is witty, sarcastic when needed, and enrapturing.  I honestly looked for reasons to be in the car, just so I could hear a few more minutes of Life Expectancy!  When I finished the last disc, and realized that I didn’t have anything to listen to, I looked at the stereo controls in the Tribute, and said out loud (to myself), “Aww man, I have to listen to the radio!”  Disappointment made my commute a total drag.
After listening to this book I have come to two conclusions: 1. my insane fear of clowns is totally justified & 2. not haven taken my kids to the circus yet is totally ok.  In all seriousness, though, the level of crazy of these circus folk in the book was one that I had not experienced in a book before.  And I don’t mean medication-can-fix-it-crazy, but certifiable-institutionalized-padded-room crazy.
Which leads me to my not-so-great part of the book review:  the five terrible days Grandpa Joseph predicted, were ALL relating to these clowns, literally.  Sounds lame, right?  It kinda was, until the action started, and then I was like “holy freaking crap that just happened!”  Less the redundant predictability of who the villain was, this was a enthralling audiobook!  The ending was pretty great, though a little cheesy.
5 Stars: read it, listen to it, whatever, but you must get your hands on this book!
Many Adventures,


  1. I've had this on my shelf forever!! I need to read it already!!
    The Bookish Brunette

  2. DO NOT read it alone in the dark if you are afraid of clowns...I'm serious. Trust me. It's not like they're dressed up as clowns, just that that's their chosen career path...I've always known there was something seriously wrong with a clown...

    Enjoy it! It's SOOOOO great :) Would love to hear what you think about it

  3. I haven't picked this one up yet- clowns have scared me witless since I read It when I was 11

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  4. @Shelleyrae...I never actually SAW It. I saw previews and that was enough for me. What really fueled my clown-phobia is Killer Clowns From Outer Space...saw it at a friends house when I was a tween...then had to walk home, in the dark...yeah, not so much.

    Thanks for stopping by!


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