Monday, October 4, 2010

One Door Away from Heaven

One Door Away from Heaven by Dean Koontz
Bantam Books, 2001
Mass Market Paperback, 681 pages
ISBN-13: 9780553582758
very highly recommended

Synopsis from cover:
Michelina Bellsong is on a mission. She is following a missing family to the edge of America... to a place she never knew existed - a place of terror, wonder, and shattering revelation.
What awaits her there will change her life and the life of everyone she knows - if she can find the key to survival.
At stake are a young girl of extraordinary goodness, a young boy with killers on his trail, and Mickey's own wounded soul.
My Thoughts:

One Door Away from Heaven follows several different storylines and characters until they all converge at the end. We meet: Micky, a woman who is trying to get her life back together after some bad choices; Leilani, a precocious nine-year-old girl who is trying to overcome her upbringing as well as her birth defects; Curtis, a ten year-old boy and his dog who are both running away from killers; as well as several other memorable characters including Aunt Geneva, P.I. Noah, a drug addled mother, a truly evil stepfather, and some amazing twins.

This is not a horror novel, although it has some terrifying moments. It's a cross-genre novel. There is plenty of action, suspense, humor, compassion, and terror. The novel is a mix of action and science fiction, but also carries a real-life message concerning bioethics with some spiritual undertones.

I really enjoy Koontz's writing style in One Door Away from Heaven, all of it, including the metaphors, alliteration, and long descriptions. I enjoyed the humor and message mixed in to the story too. The characters are all well developed and memorable. You care about what happens to these broken people. You want them to succeed, to overcome. I also want to believe that good triumphs over evil, that there is always hope.

One Door Away from Heaven was a very enjoyable book. It kept its fast pace throughout the whole novel for me. No spoilers, but, although I am a dog lover who found the ending full of hope and satisfying based on the world created in the novel, I will also admit that it was a little far-fetched for me. And I loved the dog in the book.
Very Highly Recommended

THE WORLD IS FULL of broken people. Splints, casts, miracle drugs, and time can’t mend fractured hearts, wounded minds, torn spirits. opening

Closing her eyes again, turning her face to the deadly blazing heavens, Micky said, “Well, I don’t intend to live forever.”
“Why not?”
“Maybe you haven’t noticed, but nobody does.”
“I probably will,” the girl declared.
“How’s that work?”
“A little extraterrestrial DNA.”
“Yeah, right. You’re part alien.”
“Not yet. I have to make contact first.”
Micky opened her eyes again and squinted at the ET wannabe. “You’ve been watching too many reruns of The X Files, kid.”
“I’ve only got until my next birthday, and then all bets are off.” The girl moved along the swooning fence to a point where it had entirely collapsed. She clattered across the flattened section of pickets and approached Micky. “Do you believe in life after death?” pg. 2

Until now, Micky hadn’t noticed this deformity. “Everyone’s got imperfections,” she said.
“This isn’t like having a big schnoz. I’m either a mutant or a cripple, and I refuse to be a cripple. People pity cripples, but they’re afraid of mutants.”
“You want people to be afraid of you?”
“Fear implies respect,” Leilani said. pg. 5

Geneva added one thought before changing the subject: “It’s also true that sometimes — not often, but once in a great while — your life can change for the better in one moment of grace, almost a sort of miracle. Something so powerful can happen, someone so special come along, some precious understanding descend on you so unexpectedly that it just pivots you in a new direction, changes you forever. Girl, I’d give everything I have if that could happen for you.” pg. 9

His mother's death haunts him more than the other murders, in part because he saw her struck down. pg. 13

"I'm always working on a screenplay in my head. In film school, they teach you everything's material, and this sure is." pg. 25

He is amazed to be alive. He doesn't dare to hope that he has lost his pursuers. They are out there, still searching, cunning and indefatigable. pg. 26

Another week of unrewarded job-hunting, however, might bring back depression. Also, more than once during the day, she'd been troubled by a new version of her former rage; this sullen resentment wasn't as hot as her anger had been in the pas, but it had the potential to quicken. pg. 37

"So now," said Micky, "in addition to your perpetually wasted tofu-peaches-bean-sprouts mother and your murderous stepfather, we're to believe you had a brother who was abducted by aliens." pg. 49

Gen often said that what we perceive to be coincidences are in fact carefully placed tiles in a mosaic pattern the rest of which we can't apprehend. Now Micky sensed that intricate mosaic, vast and panoramic, and mysterious. pg. 472

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