The new fast-moving thriller from Dean Koontz is the story of an innocent man forced by a serial killer to choose who will be murdered next.
William Wiles is an easygoing thirty-something, a bartender who lives a quiet life alone until a serial killer singles him out - not to kill him, but to force him to decide who the next victim will be. On his SUV Billy finds the first note: "If you don't take this note to the police and get them involved, I will kill a lovely blonde schoolteacher. If you do take this note to the police, I will instead kill an elderly woman active in charity work. You have four hours to decide. The choice is yours."
Billy pays an informal visit to an acquaintance, Lanny Olson, who is a policeman, and who thinks the note is a prank. The schoolteacher dies. The next note reverses the choices: if Billy takes the note to the police, a mother of two young children will die. If he doesn't, an unmarried man who won't be much missed will die. Lanny has to take this note seriously but the deadline runs out before he can decide how to make his involvement official. Billy doesn't hear from him again because Lanny himself, unmarried, who will not be much missed, has become the next victim.
There will be more communications from the killer, more hideous choices, with ever tighter decision times, and with each choice Billy is drawn deeper into an accelerating nightmare, which steadily becomes more personal, more confrontational, until he is isolated, with no one to turn to and no one to rely on but himself. Finally he must risk everything to save the intended victims.
Dean Ray Koontz (born 1945) is an American writer.
Dean Koontz is best known for suspense thrillers, which incorporate elements of horror, science fiction, mystery, and satire.
Dean Koontz wrote under an array of pen names (Aaron Wolfe, Brian Coffey, David Axton, Deanna Dwyer, John Hill, K. R. Dwyer, Leigh Nichols, Leonard Chris, Owen West, Richard Paige), but since the 1980s he has written mostly under his own name.