Reviews for Innocence

Booklist Reviews 2013 November #1
*Starred Review* Addison Goodheart, who must never be seen, and last-nameless Gwyneth, who must never be touched, meet sensationally cute at the end of evading a big, enraged man shouting that he'll kill her. Confronting one another by the Dickens collection of the grand central library of a never-named American metropolis, they realize, as he says, that "we're made for each other." Love at first sight, though heavily impeded (by his clothes and her makeup), saves both them and the story time, which they need because her would-be rapist-murderer is about to find her, no matter her many hideouts, and which the reader relishes because this is as speedy a chase-thriller as any Koontz, a past master of the form, has ever constructed. Written in Koontz' late mellifluent and reflective manner (Addison ponders as well as reveals his backstory in many flashbacks), the book is also another of his moral thrillers, fueled by deep disgust with the world's evils--especially abusive violence, especially against children--and by definite, though idiosyncratic, Christian hope for redemption. And so this entrancing romance resolves, like Koontz's The Taking (2004), apocalyptically, in a new Earth. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 November #1
In a shift from his usual exploration of the fantastical and supernatural, Koontz's (Odd Apocalypse, 2012, etc.) new book contemplates an apocalyptical confrontation between good and evil. In an isolated cabin, Addison Goodheart is born to a drug-and-alcohol-addled mother. The midwife takes one glance at the newborn and attempts to smother him. The mother intervenes. Addison must be raised in isolation. As he grows, he takes to the woods, almost able to fend for himself. At age 8, near self-sufficient, his mother forces him to leave and then kills herself. Addison treks to a metropolis (think New York City), each stranger he meets attempting to kill him. In the city, he meets a man he will call Father, so like Addison that one glance at his face sparks murderous intent. The two lurk beneath the city, venturing out only at night, but 18 years later, Father's murdered as the two frolic on seemingly blizzard-isolated streets. Enter Gwyneth, heir to an immense fortune, isolated by "social phobia." Addison meets Gwyneth while night-exploring a magnificent library. Gwyneth's being pursued by Ryan Telford, a sexual pervert who also purloined millions from her father. Koontz's tale is no "Beauty and the Beast." Laced with fantastical mysticism, it's an allegory of nonviolence, acceptance and love in the face of adversity. Addison and Gwyneth are the driving characters, their tales spinning out from Addison's introspective point of view. Each has a tenuous link to Teague Hanlon, former Marine, parish priest and catalyst for the denouement sparked when a virus is deliberately released by a rogue state. The narrative is intense, with an old-fashioned ominousness and artistically crafted descriptions like "[t]he fallow soil of loneliness is fertile ground for self-deception." Koontz's allegory on morality and love (agape rather than sensual) probes the idea that evil is woven through humankind. Koontz fans shouldn't be disappointed, especially with an optimistic and unexpected conclusion mirroring his theme. Something different this way comes from Mr. Koontz's imagination. Enjoy. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2013 November #1

Most often, offerings from the thriller/horror genre force an everyman character to confront an extraordinary circumstance, compelling the reader to wonder, "What would I do if this were happening to me?" Koontz (Deeply Odd) has, of late, taken the opposite approach. His "Odd Thomas" series chronicles a young man endowed with a sixth sense--and more--while his "Moonlight Bay" trilogy features a hero who lives under the cover of darkness because of a rare genetic disorder. Now Koontz introduces Addison Goodheart, a grotesquely deformed young man who has remained in the shadows for all of his 24 years. The story he tells, in the elegant prose of one whose understanding of language has come more from reading than from conversation, is that of his venturing forth into a fuller life than he had ever imagined for himself. It is Addison's encounter with Gwyneth, a Goth girl who boldly embraces her own solitary existence while she seeks to prove that her father's seemingly accidental death was actually a murder, that draws him into the light. VERDICT Fans of Koontz's previous series will be left hoping that Addison and Gwyneth, too, will return. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/13.]--Nancy McNicol, Hamden P.L., CT

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 October #2

In this imaginative, mystical thriller from bestseller Koontz (77 Shadow Street), Addison Goodheart, a 26-year-old man so "exceedingly ugly" that his appearance causes "the most terrible rage" in regular people, lives alone in a hidden part of an American metropolis, but views his solitude as a gift that has enabled him to recognize "reality's complex dimensions." An unexpected encounter in a deserted library with Gwyneth, an 18-year-old Goth girl who's the target of the rare-book curator's lust, throws him for a loop. Addison bonds with Gwyneth, who suspects her nemesis, J. Ryan Telford, of murdering her father by sending him poisoned honey. The interactions of the isolated leads and the meaning of their existence overshadow the crime elements, and the language can be vague (e.g., "Who we of the hidden were, what we were, why we ever existed, explained the mystery of music issuing out of the ether"). Still, this is the most satisfying Koontz standalone in a while. (Dec.)

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