By: Dean Koontz

Rating: 80%

Brief Summary: A killer seeks out a man claiming his identity has been stolen.

First things first. Mr. Murder was an excellent book. The plot was simple, very basic: A killer, who can't seem to remember his past, is suddenly drawn to a family in Southern California, claiming the father has stolen his wife, his children, and his whole identity. Of course this leads to a lot of running around, and shooting and screaming, which ends in the normal Koontz-type "conspiracy theorist" twist at the end. [No, this is not a spoiler].

There are two things that made this book an enjoyable read. The character's involved, and the pace in which it flows.

Let's meet the characters. The killer, though a brute villain, is believable enough as a cold-blooded murderer, yet naive enough to his own situation where you almost (but not quite) feel sorry for him. The reason why you don't feel sorry for him is because the man he is chasing, Marty Stillwater the father, is a realistic character, a compassionate family man, not perfect by any means, but a man that cares for his family. His occupation as a "dark" mystery writer strangely parallels Koontz himself. And the way Marty views himself seems to be an indication of how Koontz himself wants to be thought as. While you read this story, keep this in mind as you will no doubt agree with me. Then there is Marty's family. He has two daughters, Emily and Charlotte. Typically I do not enjoy reading about small children.

However, these girls have personality and in Mr. Murder they steal some scenes. Particularly the younger one, seven year old Emily.

She is much wiser than her age, but because of a limited vocabulary, she struggles to make sense. In the second half of the book, however, the girls fun dialogue begins to be far less in occurrences. On the other end of the spectrum, you have Marty's wife Paige. She does not do or say much as the story begins, but turns into an action hero as the stories climax. Then there are two other important characters. Drew Oslett and Karl Clocker. At first, you do not know what role they play, as far as "good" or "bad"; but you do know they have all the answers regarding the mysterious villain. And as they pursue him--it is always one step behind. Oslett, is as bitter as they come, but Karl Clocker was an excellent character for those who understand an odd sense of humor. Especially if you are a recovering "Trekkie" like myself.

Now let's discuss the pace of this book. To me, it was ideal. No part of the book at anytime was over developed or excessive.

The style of the writing was very creative, at times turning into a "stream of consciousness" that kept the reading on a steady flow and put yourself perfectly in the character's mind. And when things get action-packed at the end, it was not overdone.

As mentioned earlier, the twists at the end are not very impressive. Anyone who has read more than one Dean Koontz book may be able to predict this.

If you are new to this type of genre, then Mr. Murder is a great place to start!

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