I have had mixed success in the past with Dean Koontz’s novels, so this is not an author I am necessarily going to go easy on out of the gate. The Husband, like the few other books I’ve read from the author, is a psychological thriller. Instead of taking the reader on some exotic adventure to far off locales, Koontz prefers to explore around your own neighbourhood, and show you the dark side of the human psyche. This approach can lead to books which are a bit more real, and therefore less of an escape. However, they are captivating.
In this case a husband, a lower-middle class gardener of modest means, is forced to face his worst nightmare and raise two million dollars to save his wife’s life. Confronted with this impossible situation, the husband, Mitch, is forced to see just how far he is willing to go to cherish and protect the one he loves. The book takes you along as this naïve gardener is transformed into a man of action. Sound like a good story?
I had this book for a while before starting into it. I was a little apprehensive after my last Koontz book couldn’t hold my interest, even on a plane. Appropriate I suppose that I started this book at an airport while waiting at my gate to board a plane. Boredom will make many people seek out any possible entertainment, regardless how weak, to help pass the time. This didn’t happen this time. In fact, my failure to pack more than one book on this trip had me faced with the dilemma of whether to finish the book sooner and risk not finding another one, or to ration my reading over the trip so as to have something to do on the way home. The trip wasn’t very long, but I still ended up finishing off the book in the hotel a day or two before leaving.
I honestly can’t find many bad things to say about this book. It did seem a bit over the top at times, but I can’t say that I know what a situation like this would feel like, perhaps this is a spot on representation. The book was engaging and fun despite the stress of the situation. About halfway in, it takes a bit of a turn and the action shifts a bit from purely psychological to physical and dramatic. It is a nice touch that helps keep the story alive and engaging. The story seemed quite credible, at least in the beginning which is one of the elements which makes it that my more exhilarating, the notion that this is something which “could” happen to you. Nothing alien or fantastical, just human avarice, which is a common theme, but only because it is very real.
Overall, I’m going to say that this book gets an eight because it was quite engaging and there wasn’t any flaw which distracted from the story. Not mind blowing, but a great read if you want something a bit more real than the adventures I usually read.