The City by Dean Koontz


I can hear a lot of you saying, "But Koontz is not a Christian fiction writer!"

You are correct. But I really like the way Koontz writes so I asked to review this book and the publisher graciously gave me permission.

This is not typical Koontz. You know everything will be okay in the end because the beginning is actually the end. The City reminds me a lot of The Prayer of Owen Meany. I really liked that novel, too. 

You are quickly whisked back to last century (around the 60s) to the life of one nine-year-old boy called Jonah Kirk who has eight or nine names of famous black musicians between the Jonah and the Kirk. Add a good-for-nothing father and a wonderful Christian mother set in an apartment house in the middle of a big city (Chicago, I think, it really is not important which city). Then stir in some truly evil people that have zero feeling for the sanctity of life, a wonderful Japanese neighbor who is struggling with his own demon, and you have the perfect mix for a great literature reading experience.

[Spoiler Alert!] There are numerous religious connotations in this novel. I was a tad disappointed in Miss Pearl at the end. I think Koontz tried to bring in some whiffs of his old time novels with how this character acted in the climax. There could have been some truly remarkable insights that Jonah could have shared during this part, but that opportunity was sadly missed. I hope Koontz gains a lot more courage in his later works. It is not wimpy or craven to own up to one's Christian beliefs... then, again, maybe he did own up and he really believes all that about Miss Pearl being The City. If so, I missed the allegory's true meaning. [End Spoiler Alert!]

Pay attention to that key word: literary. This is very similar to the old timey novels of yesteryear where the reader gets a lot of description that makes you feel the heat, the chilling rain, the taste of the ice cream and hot dogs. You are taken for an in depth tour of some of the most chilling villains, but it is not like a jerky head jumping ride. The transitions are smooth and extremely expert. This is more a psychological thriller than one of Koontz's monster fear factors of his early career. Unlike a lot of today's fair, you actually want to read to the very last word. The ride is very satisfying.

The book will hit bookstores on July 1st. Get in line!

Five of five stars. I was tempted to give it four stars because of one segment in the climax, but the book overall deserves five stars. You'll pay a lot of money for the hardback version, but it is worth every penny. The book is a keeper.


The city changed my life and showed me that the world is deeply mysterious. I need to tell you about her and some terrible things and wonderful things and amazing things that happened . . . and how I am still haunted by them. Including one night when I died and woke and lived again.

Here is the riveting, soul-stirring story of Jonah Kirk, son of an exceptional singer, grandson of a formidable “piano man,” a musical prodigy beginning to explore his own gifts when he crosses a group of extremely dangerous people, with shattering consequences. Set in a more innocent time not so long ago, The City encompasses a lifetime but unfolds over three extraordinary, heart-racing years of tribulation and triumph, in which Jonah first grasps the electrifying power of music and art, of enduring friendship, of everyday heroes.

The unforgettable saga of a young man coming of age within a remarkable family, and a shimmering portrait of the world that shaped him, The City is a novel that speaks to everyone, a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share. Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, it’s a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart.

Acclaim for Dean Koontz

“A rarity among bestselling writers, Koontz continues to pursue new ways of telling stories, never content with repeating himself.”—Chicago Sun-Times

“Tumbling, hallucinogenic prose. ‘Serious’ writers . . . might do well to examine his technique.”—The New York Times Book Review

“[Koontz] has always had near-Dickensian powers of description, and an ability to yank us from one page to the next that few novelists can match.”—Los Angeles Times

“Koontz is a superb plotter and wordsmith. He chronicles the hopes and fears of our time in broad strokes and fine detail, using popular fiction to explore the human condition.”—USA Today

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