The City

Dean Koontz, read by Korey Jackson. Recorded Books, 3.5 hrs., $39.99, $ ISBN 978-1-4906-2396-2
The middle-aged African-American protagonist of this novel, Jonah Kirk, describes his account of his youth in the city as an oral history, and Jackson reads it that way—with the conversational, easy-going attitude of a guy talking to friends, unaware that he’s being recorded. It’s a beguiling performance, charming enough to add some needed sparkle to Koontz’s not always on-key tale of a musical family trying to make ends meet in the late 1950s. Instead of developing a unique voice for each family member, Jackson follows the example of most dinner-table raconteurs: he concentrates more on attitudes. Young Jonah, a piano phenom, is naïve and generally happy. His mother, Sylvia, is upbeat around the boy, but there’s an underlying air of weariness she can’t hide. His grandfather, the respected pianist Teddy Bledsoe, is confident and a little self-satisfied. The book’s villains, gang member Fiona Cassidy and her partner Lucas Drackman, are both perennially angry. The only character for whom Jackson seems to have developed a special voice, jivey and insouciant, is the mysterious Pearl, an attractive young woman who claims to be the living incarnation of the New York. She also seems to possess magical powers. This being a Koontz novel, would anyone expect less? A Bantam hardcover. (July)
Reviewed on: 09/01/2014
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