My first girlfriend gave me a copy of Intensity by Dean Koontz when I was a teenager. I was on a huge horror and thriller kick and Dean usually was good for whichever I needed. Sometimes both. As the title suggests, the book is fast-paced and intense. It would be a bit of a let down if it turned out to be a book about proper ladies having an English tea party, wouldn’t it?
Never fear. I am no longer the Koontz fan that I used to be, but I believe he is very, very good at beginning his books with a bang. In this case his heroine, Chyna Shephard, is staying at a friend’s house when an intruder break into the house and kills everyone except her and her best friend. This all takes place in a matter of pages and the pace doesn’t let up until the book is over.
Without spoiling the reasons, I will tell you that Chyna winds up stowing away in the killer’s motor home as he heads back to wherever it is he is going after finishing the kill. His name is Edgler Vess (Koontz is fond of weird names) and we gradually learn that he kills just for the sheer intensity of it. And now the metaphors are simply abounding.
By the time he gets home, he has realized that she is hiding in the back of his motor home, but he decides to wait and see what happens and figure out who she is. Eventually she is his captive and much of the latter stages of the book involve her trying to escape from his basement while waiting for him to come home from…somewhere! Sorry, can’t tell you where.
There is an absolutely fantastic scene with some trained attack dogs, a great scene with a chair, and the reveal, when it comes, actually surprised me. Intensity is a fun, fast, read, and a relatively light and fluffy one, if you can get over the fact that it is about a killer.
Intensity is one of my favorites of Mr. Koontz, but it is no Watchers (my review), which was the first book of his that I read. It remains, for me, the best he has ever written. I hope that never changes!
PS: This was also made into a movie that I thought was terrible. You’ve been warned. It had a couple of slightly intense moments, but not the best sort of Dean Koontz intensity.