Ex-cop turned chief of security Ethan Truman has a very bad feeling about the series of twisted little " gifts"being left at his employer's mansion. After leaving the LAPD, Ethan took a job overseeing security for Hollywood icon Channing Manheim— who has been dubbed " The Face"of the new millennium and is a hugely successful star. Although Manheim is not currently in residence at the well-guarded estate, his 10-year-old son Aelfric, or " Fric,"is.

Following up on a lead to the identity of the " gift giver,"Ethan confronts the suspect, Rolf Reynard, in his apartment. Unexpectedly, Rolf pulls a gun out of potato chip bag and shoots and kills Ethan. Astonished and more than a little wigged out when he suddenly comes to alive and well and sitting in his car in front of Rolf's building, Ethan can't figure out what just happened: He isn't shot, but he does have his own blood underneath his fingernails.

The day gets weirder as Ethan learns that his childhood friend Dunny Whistler finally has died in the hospital. Dunny chose a life of crime and eventually ended up in a coma. Now, shortly after his " death,"Dunny's body disappears from the morgue.

Meanwhile, something or someone is stalking both Channing and Fric Manheim. If Ethan is ever going to figure out exactly what's going on, he's going to have put aside all of his preconceived notions of life, death and things in between.

Nobody can deliver creepy and goosebump-inducing stories quite like Dean Koontz! As in many of his more recent books, Koontz takes reality and perception as we know them and turns them on their ear. (Jun., 624 pp., $26.95)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith