cover image Dragon Tears

Dragon Tears

Dean R. Koontz. Putnam Adult, $150 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13789-1

Playing police logic against the supernatural, Koontz ( The Bad Place ; Night Chills et al.) delivers fairy-tale horror in the form of a detective thriller. In southern California, police detective Harry Lyon and his partner, Connie Guliver, find themselves hounded by a golem who appears in the shape of a towering vagrant. Called Ticktock because he grants his victims only hours to live, the vagrant has tremendous physical power, a taste for gruesomely described violence and the ability to stop time and rearrange reality. Koontz romps playfully and skillfully through this grown-up enchantment, dealing out such motifs as a talking dog and taking potshots at recognizable pop culture: e.g., the book's epigram is a Garth Brooks lyric, and during a killing spree the murderer yells out titles of Elvis Presley songs. The prose may occasionally strike a false note, but Koontz's breakaway bestseller pace does not dally for the mot juste. As irresistible (and nutritionally valuable) as a stack of brownies. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections; Mystery Guild featured alternate. (Jan.)