I first read Hideaway when I was able to waste away an entire day reading and I remember loving it. This time around I listened to it on audio because I can’t keep up with new releases, never mind re-reads. It held up pretty good for a reread but Odd Thomas will probably always be my favorite novel by Koontz.
Hideaway starts out with a little back story, character development and a lot of action. We are introduced to Hutch and Lindsay, a married couple slowly getting over a devastating heartbreak, as they are driving in a storm. Their car spins out of control and they end up in icy water. Lindsay survives the ordeal but Hutch? Hutch isn’t so lucky. They are rescued and Hutch is brought back to life by a resuscitation specialist after he’s been dead for over an hour. You’ve got to know that Hutch probably ain’t coming back quite the same after this, right? I thought this part was interesting and suspenseful and I was just getting into things when then this jarring event spoils my party . . .
With no warning, chapter break or even change of tone by the narrator, we head hop right into the super Eeevil human hating villain of the story. I actually rewound several tracks because I was so confused by this abrupt intrusion. Here I was minding my own business, enjoying the story when suddenly I’m forced to endure a seemingly endless diatribe from this guy whose point of view became tedious and repetitive after only a few of his sociopathic thoughts. He blathers on for too long but the gist is this, “I am so freaking evil, the vilest of all vile villains because I love darkness, cruelty and all things reeking of decay. Humans are useless and deserve the death I long to give them. I have renamed myself Vassago after some dastardly demon. I kill people and create pieces of art from their corpses to earn my place back in hell.” Blah, blah, blah. He goes on for a few more pages pissing and moaning because he longs to be back in hell which is such a delightful place. This bit here was one of the most over the top introductions to a villain that I can remember reading in a good long while. He hides out in an abandoned amusement park while pondering his serial killer thoughts and chillen’ with his corpses but then he starts to get strange visions of a woman. A woman named Lindsay. Uh oh, bet you can see where this might be going?
So Hutch heals and he and Lindsey decide to live life to the fullest and adopt a handicapped child named Regina. They are nice decent people but as they settle in to their new lives typical pain-in-the-butt things crop up and Hatch starts having a difficult time controlling his anger. He’s also having terrifying dreams. Turns out he and Vassago now share some sort of psychic link and eventually it all culminates in a classic good vs. evil showdown.
It’s a decent story with some decent characters and suspense and it was downright disturbing at one point when Vassago describes his first kill. That was creepy and horrifying and probably will never leave my mind. Koontz has also spared us his from his famously awkward love scene (you gluttons for punishment can read about it here). But in the end some of it came off as a wee bit cliché.
Narration Notes: There are two narrators. Both are overblown, read too slowly and pause in the strangest places. There are no chapter breaks and the transitions are abrupt but I probably can’t blame that on the narrators. Michael Hanson reads in a deadly serious “reading the bad news” tone and he makes all of the male characters sound identical. Carol Cowan reads from Lindsay and Regina’s POV. She’s also deadly serious with Lindsay but finds her groove with Regina, giving her the spunk her character deserves.
It ends with a short interview with author Dean Koontz. He seems like such a genuinely nice guy that I feel bad for panning one of his books recently. He’s asked basic questions about his pen names, his work and talks a bit about the movie adaptations of his novels. He’s really honest and candid about his loathing for a few of them and I found it refreshing and hope that someday his vision will come to the big screen correctly.