Jimmy Tock comes into the world on the very night his grandfather leaves it. As a violent storm rages outside the hospital, Rudy Tock spends long hours walking the corridors between the expectant fathers’ waiting room and his dying father’s bedside. It’s a strange vigil made all the stranger when, at the very height of the storm’s fury, Josef Tock suddenly sits up in bed and speaks coherently for the first and last time since his stroke.
What he says before he dies is that there will be five dark days in the life of his grandson—five dates whose terrible events Jimmy will have to prepare himself to face. The first is to occur in his twentieth year; the second in his twenty-third year; the third in his twenty-eighth; the fourth in his twenty-ninth; the fifth in his thirtieth.
Rudy is all too ready to discount his father’s last words as a dying man’s delusional rambling. But then he discovers that Josef also predicted the time of his grandson’s birth to the minute, as well as his exact height and weight, and the fact that Jimmy would be born with syndactyly—the unexplained anomaly of fused digits—on his left foot. Suddenly the old man’s predictions take on a chilling significance.
What terrifying events await Jimmy on these five dark days? What nightmares will he face? What challenges must he survive? As the novel unfolds, picking up Jimmy’s story at each of these crisis points, the path he must follow will defy every expectation. And with each crisis he faces, he will move closer to a fate he could never have imagined. For who Jimmy Tock is and what he must accomplish on the five days when his world turns is a mystery as dangerous as it is wondrous—a struggle against an evil so dark and pervasive, only the most extraordinary of human spirits can shine through.
‘Life Expectancy’ by Dean Koontz was not a typical Koontz book that I’ve read. There was very little supernatural (none outside the predictions) and very little impossible/maybe possible/holy whistles what if that really happened moments. It was, however, a well written account of one man’s life through the 5 days his dying grandfather had predicted shortly before his birth.
Jimmy Tock was an interesting storyteller. His meandering through the story kept me interested. Some of the almost-typical Koontz twists and turns were there in a different format, some more believable that others. A couple of the twists almost feeling contrived to keep the motivation of the story going. Other’s came out of no where and I never saw them coming. This is a hard one to review without giving away more plot than the dust cover.
‘Life Expectancy’ was a merge of Kootz-esque drama, meets offbeat love story, meets coming of age story, meets family drama. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I’ve been a Koontz fan for years, and while not a typical genre and storyline for him, it was an excellently written story.
About Dean Koontz
Dean Ray Koontz is an American author. His novels are broadly described as suspense thrillers, but also frequently incorporate elements of horror, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and satire.
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