I have a love/hate relationship with author Dean Koontz. I’ve been reading his books for over 30 years. Some of them can be a bit on the violent side and very gory. When he starts describing how a woman is kidnapped by the bad guy, killed, and then have her eyelids sewn shut that’s when I close my eyes and say that I will not read another one of his books ever again. But I rarely follow through on my threats so I end up with his newest novel in my hot little hands. I’ve enjoyed many good stories because I gave the author a second chance, or a third chance, or a twelfth chance. That is the reason why I picked up “Ashley Bell.”
Our 22 year old protagonist, Bibi Blair, is told that she has brain cancer and, if lucky, will have a year to live. Bibi tells the doctor that she will defeat the cancer. Within two days, to the shock of her doctor, family, and friends, Bibi’s cancer is gone. No sign of it at all.
As a gift to Bibi, her parents, who are still hippies at heart, make an appointment with a psychic friend of theirs to give a reading to their newly healthy cancer-free daughter.
The psychic tells Bibi that the reason she was cured of her cancer was because she has to save the life of Ashley Bell. Who is Ashley Bell? Where does she live? What’s going on with Ashley that her life has to be saved? The psychic can’t answer those questions. Some psychic. But she does tell Bibi to run for her life because now some bad men are after Bibi to stop her from helping Ashley Bell.
Suddenly the psychic flees the scene because these same men are after her too. Bibi starts running and does her best to avoid the bad guys and searching for Ashley Bell.
Let me give you a word of advice here: don’t hold your breath waiting for the doomed Ashley Bell to make an appearance. Oh, she does eventually but you have to get through most of the 560 pages until she pops up.
But I’ll also say, I really enjoyed this novel. It has a great, interesting twist that I didn’t see coming. Even though the novel is a tad lengthy the pages do go by fast as you get involved with the story line.
For those of you who hate violence, well, there is some here but no eyelids are sewn shut, thank goodness. For those of you who are getting annoyed with Koontz always involving a hero dog in his recent books, yes, there’s a dog showing up every so often in “Ashley Bell” too. Nothing to get alarmed about though.
If you like a good thriller with a different type of twist give “Ashley Bell” a try. The violence level is low, well, let’s say medium, but nightmares won’t hinder your beauty sleep.
Hardcover, 560 pages
Published December 8th 2015 by Bantam
Original Title Ashley Bell
ISBN 0345545966 (ISBN13: 9780345545961)
Edition Language English