Publisher: Putnam Pub Group Jan 1993
I have to say, I didn't really care for this book nearly as much as other Koontz novels. It was OK but it just seemed to take a long time to get into it. I found it to be rather slow paced and at times, difficult to focus on. The characters are likable and interesting and although the villain is sufficiently creepy, he is sometimes a little too predictable.
Behind most scary stories, there is a little niggling feeling that the described events could possibly happen (even though in the common sense part of your brain, you know they won't). That didn't happen to me with this story. I couldn't find anything believable about this villain.
Description (from author's website):
Harry Lyon was a rational man, a cop who refused to let his job harden his soul. His partner urged him to surrender to the chaos of life. But Harry believed in order and reason. Then, one fateful day, he was forced to shoot a man—and a homeless stranger with bloodshot eyes uttered the haunting words that challenged Harry Lyon’s sanity…
“Ticktock, ticktock. You’ll be dead in sixteen hours…Dead by dawn…Dead by dawn…Dead by dawn…”
Excerpt:The day had started out so well, but it sure had gone to hell in a hurry.
He was determined to get it back on track. Paperwork would help. Nothing like official reports and forms in triplicate to make the world seem ordered and rational.
Out in the street, the whirlwind had gathered more dust and detritus. Earlier the ghost dancer had appeared to be waltzing along the blacktop. Now it was doing a frantic jitterbug. As Harry took a step away from the tree, the column of debris changed course, zigged toward him, and burst upon him with startling power, forcing him to shut his eyes against the abrasive grit.
For one crazy moment he thought he was going to be swept up as Dorothy had been, and spun off to Oz. Tree limbs rattled and shook overhead, shedding more leaves on him. The huffing and keening of the wind briefly swelled into a shriek, a howl--but in the next instant fell into graveyard stillness.
Someone spoke directly in front of Harry, voice low and raspy and strange: "Ticktock, ticktock."