Big Dark Sky
by Koontz, Dean R.

Drawn to a Montana homestead and to a strange childhood companion she'd long forgotten, Joanna Chase and others converge on this remote ranch where a madman lurks with a vision to save the future through murder, forcing them all to come together to save themselves-and humanity. (suspense). Simultaneous.

*Starred Review* Nearly a quarter of a century ago, Joanna's parents died within two weeks of one another. Joanna, now a novelist, has never quite shaken the trauma of those events. Lately, she's been suffering from what she can only assume are hallucinations-the voices of people begging her to come to the "big dark sky" of Montana and save them. From what? She has no idea. But the compulsion is strong within her. Koontz interweaves chapters featuring Joanna with segments about other people: the wonderfully named Harley Spondollar, who used to be the treasurer for a cult led by Xanthus Toller; Wendy, a single mom whose daughter was fathered by Toller; and Asher Optime, Toller's former right-hand man, who has embarked on a mission to "eradicate the horrid pestilence of humanity from this stressed planet." Figuring out exactly how all these characters relate to one another, as well as determining what the "big dark sky" of Montana has to do with it all, keeps us turning the pages. And the story's conclusion does not disappoint. Koontz has been having a lot of fun with his villains lately (see Lee Shacket in Devoted, 2020), and Asher Optime is one of his best: completely wackadoodle but absolutely riveting. Another A-plus thriller from a writer on a serious winning streak.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Koontz's popularity has been building steadily through more than 150 books. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Those incredible coincidences Carl Jung dubbed synchronicities lie at the heart of Koontz's latest-if it can be said to have a heart. Twenty-four years after the deaths of her mother and father only weeks apart drove her from Montana to live with her Aunt Katherine in Santa Fe, Joanna Chase hears a spectral voice bidding her return. At the same time, tech billionaire Liam O'Hara, who now owns Rustling Willows, the ranch where Joanna spent her childhood, hires Seattle PI Wyatt Rider to investigate a mysterious disturbance that spooked O'Hara's family on a recent visit. And no wonder, for there's no lack of spooky manifestations in the area. Embezzling chemist Harley Spondollar's house collapsed moments after he stepped outdoors; Jimmy Alvarez, the childhood friend Joanna's somehow forgotten despite his memorable birth defects, has been touched by dark forces; and Asher Optime, formerly associated with Xanthus Toller's Restoration Movement, has branched out on his own quest to restore the planet to its natural balance by eliminating all humankind (the list of victims he's abducted and killed so far stands at five). Eventually the oddball heroes, joined by good-guy hacker Kenny Deetle, his more-than-one-night-stand Leigh Ann Bruce, his wingman, Dr. Ganesh Patel, and Artimis Selene, Patel's partner in the secret Project Olivaw who yearns to be more, make common cause against the odder-ball villains. But although Koontz repeatedly and oracularly invokes the awesome powers of synchronicity to explain the mesh of connections among the cast members, this remains very much a pickup ballgame, highly effective from scene to scene but in hindsight as evanescent as a mirage. A nonstop actioner with cosmic overtones painted in consistently broad strokes. Copyright Kirkus 2022 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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