cover image The Bad Place

The Bad Place

Dean R. Koontz. Putnam Publishing Group, $19.95 (382pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13498-2

In his imaginative new novel, Koontz soars beyond the limits of Midnight and his other bestsellers. The principal characters, married detectives Julie and Bobby Dakota, agree to help frightened amnesiac Frank Pollard figure out what he does when he's asleep. (Not only can Frank not remember his past, but he wakes up mornings to find mysterious bags of large-denomination bills by his bed.) In due course, Frank and the Dakotas join forces against murderer Candy Pollard and his weird sisters, who want to kill Frank--evidently the sole human in the monstrous family. Candy extends psychic feelers toward potential victims, emanations that are sensed by Julie's younger brother Thomas. A Down's syndrome child, Thomas is telepathically gifted and able to warn Bobby of the demons who threaten Julie. Horror follows horror with each crime perpetrated by Candy & Co. as they come ever closer to the Dakotas and other prey. Besides episodes of shriek-worthy suspense, the book features out-of-body flights, and data on insects and gems of impossible origins, no less unnatural than the Pollard villains, who could incite envy in Lucifer himself. Koontz should lure even more readers to his myriad following with his terrifyingly credible fantasy. Literary Guild main selection. (Jan.)