Dean Koontz’ The House of Thunder is similar to his work, The Voice of the Night, in that it offers a one-character viewpoint and tailors down the descriptive detail to a tolerable degree, which is a refreshing change for many readers. First released in 1982 this book was originally published under one of Koontz’ pseudonyms, Leigh Nichols, and re-introduced in 1992 under his real name. The story’s plot is quite a tale and includes international espionage between the US and the USSR, Medical dilemmas, romance, and the presumably supernatural.
The tale begins following a car accident near the mythical town of Willawauk, Oregon, when thirty-two-year-old, Susan Thornton, a scientist with Milestone Corporation, awakes in a strange hospital room after having been in a coma for three weeks. Upon her awakening, Susan temporarily struggles with amnesia and even as this improves, she maintains a black hole in her memory and to complicate her situation further she begins being tormented by dreams of her finance’s ghastly murder. Unfortunately, for Susan, there is a clever ploy going on at the hospital that will turn her world upside – down as she starts to see the murderers (who have supposedly died since this event), during her waking hours, walking around the hospital as orderlies. At first, Susan turns to the hospital staff for assurance but they only attempt to convince her that she is suffering hallucinations from the brain injury she incurred from the accident but that does not explain her bathroom encounter with the ghost who promises to rape and kill her. Ultimately, a pawn in a mindless game of espionage Susan is manipulated by almost everyone she meets and neither she nor the reader is likely to fathom what Koontz has in store for the stories conclusion.
Overall, House of Thunder has a good plot, good characters, twists, and turns that kept the story moving along and an ending, that while seeming a little farfetched and rushed, was quite unexpected. Even given that minor criticism, I was captivated by the storyline, which did include a little romance between Susan and one of the doctors and found the pages impossible to turn fast enough. So while I might not recommend this book to someone new to Koontz’ work perhaps suggesting that they read Intensity first I would recommend it to those readers who are already Koontz fans. [tags]book review, House of Thunder, Koontz, Dean Koontz, intrique, espionage, romance, murder, suspense[/tags]