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A book by Dean Koontz

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Frightening and suspenseful, yet too long by half!

  • Nov 17, 2010
Chyna Shepherd, a twenty-six year old young lady, is the product of a deeply disturbed and seriously dysfunctional family. Having had to endure violence, rape, child molestation and a bizarre life of crime with an vodka-soaked promiscuous mother, she has found the best road to survival and safety is passivity and invisibility. When Edgler Foreman Vess, a sociopathic serial killer, invades the home of Chyna's dearest and only friend, Laura Templeton, and brutally slaughters the entire family, this deeply nurtured ability to hide out of sight and out of mind saves Chyna's life. The killer is not aware that there is a guest in the home that night. Laura, savagely raped and near death, is scooped up by the killer and taken to his motor home to be "enjoyed" and mutilated later in the evening. As Chyna cautiously follows hoping to rescue her captive friend, she inadvertently discovers that the killer has also kidnapped a young, innocent sixteen year old girl and is holding her captive "waiting for her to ripen, get just a little sweeter". Now driven by the possibility of elevating her life to a meaning beyond passivity and mere survival, hoping to draw some meaning from the death of her friend, Laura, who has succumbed to her injuries, Chyna resolves to rescue Ariel or die in the attempt.

I have to hand it to Koontz. The writing in "Intensity" is ... well, intense! In any given chapter taken out of the context of the whole, the tension is electric and the dramatic cliff hangers are to die for! But the fact is, that as a whole, the darn book is just too long. There are absolutely no plot twists and the only surprise is the real identity of the killer! I mean, let's face it, we all KNOW that Chyna's going to survive! The only catch is how many tight spots she's going to worm her way of and how many times the killer is going to come within an ace of finishing up his intended night's work of blood and gore! (Does anyone remember the movie "Wait Until Dark" - remember that scene that made you jump out of your skin when the killer leaped across the room after we thought all was well??) The dramatic effect of Koontz's admittedly brilliant, psychological suspense is watered down by the mere length of the book. I actually found myself thinking it had become slightly tedious at times.

Certainly this is a novel that will be enjoyed by die-hard fans but I don't think it's the kind of novel that would prompt me into running out to the bookstore to pick up something else by Koontz. Chyna and Vess, the only two real characters in the novel, are well described and exceptionally well-developed. Like Ted Bundy and Paul Bernardo, perhaps the most frightening thing about Vess, which Koontz portrayed magnificently is the oftentimes stunning banality of these multiple murderers and their uncanny ability to blend in to their milieu and appear entirely normal.

In summary, "Intensity" was briefly entertaining but, in response to those who have suggested that it deserves a place of the list of the ten best thrillers of all-time, I can only say that I disagree.

Paul Weiss

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review by . November 27, 2002
First, and foremost, id ignore the negative review written by one of the first people on this page. I dunno what he was smoking when he read the book, and wrote such negative comments, about such an intense book.   Please, how pathetic. If i havent have read this book first, and used his review to judge it, id miss out on one of the best books ever! And besides his review, was longer , more boring and annoying that the supposed "100 pages that it took Chyna to get out of the chains" that …
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Paul Weiss ()
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   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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About this book


A young woman staying as a guest in a Napa Valley farmhouse becomes trapped in a fight for survival with a self-proclaimed "homicidal adventurer", and races to warn his next intended victim. Unrelentingly terrifying, this book lives up to its name.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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ISBN-10: 0553582917
ISBN-13: 978-0553582918
Author: Dean Koontz
Genre: Literature & Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Bantam
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