False Memory by Dean Koontz

False Memory, Dean Koontz, 1999

My favorite quote: It’s a toss-up between, “She turned more heads than a coven of chiropractors,” and “Where does fiction end and reality begin?” I can relate to that one. The one about fiction and reality — not the one about turning heads. Obviously

Most interesting characters: Martie Rhodes, who has suddenly developed an acute case of autophobia (fear of oneself); Susan Jagger, her friend, who takes very long baths; the “Keanuphobe,” a character with a crippling fear of Keanu Reeves. This last one is such a classic hilarious Dean Koontz character. I love it

Opening scene: Martie Rhodes is taking her dog, Valet, for a walk outside, and is inexplicably terrified by her own shadow

The gist: An evil psychiatrist has figured out how to successfully brainwash his clients for his own profit and entertainment

Greatest strengths: The characters. Despite a few of Dean Koontz’s trademark too-good-to-be-true types, the cast in False Memory is solid and (mostly) believable. I say “mostly” because of “Smilin’ Bob ” who we’ll get to shortly — *rolls eyes in Dean Koontz*

Standout achievements: False Memory blurs the lines of horror, science fiction, and psychological thriller in that seamless way Dean Koontz is famous for. Rather than being a genre-juggler who’s all over the place, Dean Koontz is a little like a chef, tossing in different spices as needed. Either way, it works when he does it, and you’ll see a lot of that in False Memory

Fun Facts: False Memory was the second Dean Koontz book I ever read. The Servants of Twilight was my first. Both remain personal favorites — but False Memory will always have a special place in my dark, bloodless, barely-beating little heart … 

Other media: None I know of but if they made a False Memory movie, I think they should cast Dean Koontz himself as Martie’s idealized deceased father, “Smilin’ Bob.” Maybe after all that  grinning and pathological merriment, Dean Koontz would realize he tends to overdo the goodness of his good guys and tone it down some. I mean, it couldn’t hurt, right? Are you reading this, Hollywood? Because if you are, I really think it’s worth a shot … Hello … ?

Additional thoughts: Okay, so … you’ll want to brace yourself for “Smilin’ Bob,” Martie’s unnaturally happy father for whom no one had anything negative to say, ever, not once in his whole life. He’s already dead when False Memory begins, so at least we’re spared his chronic glee in real-time, but hoo-boy, does Dean Koontz want to let you know what a great guy old Bob was. Smilin’ Bob not only possesses every single positive human quality available, but I think he may have invented some new ones. I swear, there’s at least one of the these guys in every Dean Koontz book (I call all of them the “Smilin’ Bobs” — as in, “Ah, THERE’S the ‘Smilin’ Bob’ in this one!”) and they always have me sighing and rolling my eyes heavenward

Hit or miss: Despite some minor irritations along the way, I’m gonna say False Memory is a hit — but only because “Smilin’ Bob” was already dead and I didn’t have to experience him firsthand

Haunt me: alistaircross.com

Read False Memory

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: http://alistaircross.com ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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