What would you do if a sadistic serial killer forced you to decide who his next victim was? That's the crux of Dean Koontz's newest psychological thriller Velocity, an intimate, masterfully understated novel that will terrify readers with its almost subliminal metaphors and symbolism.
Bartender Billy Wiles gets off work one day and finds a note under the windshield wiper of his truck: If you don't take this note to the police and get them involved, I will kill a lovely blond schoolteacher somewhere in Napa County. If you do take this note to the police, I will instead kill an elderly woman active in charity work. You have six hours to decide. The choice is yours. With this discovery, Billy begins an unwilling descent into darkness that will bring him face-to-face with the long-buried demons of his past and force him to delve into the twisted subconscious of a maniac. As the killer draws Billy deeper and deeper into his performance, he also plants pieces of evidence at the crime scenes that will implicate Billy if he refuses to play along. While the notes continue, and innocent people meet brutal deaths because of his decisions, Billy realizes that the killer's next victim may be his fiancÅ½e, who has been in a coma for the last four years. Will Billy be forced to order the death of his fiancÅ½e in order to give a stranger a chance at life? One of the most popular suspense novelists in the world, the prolific Koontz delivers the spine-tingling goods in Velocity. With its tightly woven plot and break-neck pace, this dark exploration into what it means to be alive will keep readers up all night with all the lights on, of course. Paul Goat Allen is a freelance editor and writer in Syracuse.