After Death by Dean Koontz

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After Death by Dean Koontz

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Kerry King
Reviewed by Kerry King
Summary: Waking up in the morgue, you could say that Michael Mace was in the wrong place at the wrong time but the fact that, unlike every one of his colleagues, he was not dead puts an entirely different perspective on things.
Buy? No Borrow? Yes
Pages: 382 Date: July 2023
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
External links: [ Author's website]
ISBN: 978-1662500466

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Michael Mace, Head of Security, at a top secret biological research facility, is among 55 people who die when a virus is released in a bio-hazard accident. Finding himself in a makeshift mortuary, covered in plastic, he has a sense that something very, very bad has happened to him – and only him – as he sits up and looks around at the shrouded bodies of his dead friends and former colleagues. As he recovers his senses, he realises that there is something different about him; he can feel everything. Everything. Michael isn't Michael anymore.

Having been resurrected with this this bizarre superpower; an ability to tap into any system with a microchip and effectively be a living, breathing, omnipresent internet, Michael's first play is that he should right some of the past wrongs perpetrated on his friends, and in particular, Nina Dozier. In fact if Michael hadn't just died and woken up altered, he may very well have become romantically involved with her. Nina, however, does not come without emotional baggage. This, in the form of Aleem Sutter, the father of her son, who it seems is something of a violent gang-banger and whom enters the tale as he attempts to stake his claim on his son.

As if dealing with a drug dealing crime lord is not enough, Michael quickly realises that his new gift has drawn the attention of the secret facility's bounty hunter, Durand Calaphas, who makes Aleem look like Mary Poppins. Can Michael outrun Durand Calaphas and make things right for Nina and her son? Will Aleem get in Michael's way? Just how powerful has Michael Mace become?

I will say it straight off the bat, I have been a Dean Koontz fan since I was 18 and read Watchers the year it was released, which had me hooked from the first page. I have dipped in and out of his books through the years and have a handful of them on my bookshelves (hallowed indeed if they were selected to live with me – if I had kept every book I ever read, the house would resemble the Bodlean Library!), however, I'm not really sure what it was about the plot that basically turned me off, but I couldn't get on board. I loved the sub-plots and the characters are, as ever, fully-fleshed, three dimensional and fascinating but the baseline story did not capture my imagination like most Koontz novels have previously done.

Maybe it's the possibility that this dystopian future is all too real? Maybe it wasn't real enough? Maybe Michael wasn't enough of a renegade with his new powers… whatever it was, I just didn't feel this book like I rather desperately wanted to. I was hoping to catch up with an old friend in picking up a Koontz novel, but maybe too much water has gone under the bridge for us to recapture the awe I once felt reading his books?

Look, the long and the short of it is this: if you are a fan, you absolutely should read this book. Not really sure if I can go as far as to say you should buy it for the casual Koontz reader – but if you are a diehard fan then you won't listen to a word of this recommendation anyway. Certainly you must borrow it because the premise is a brilliant idea.

I would suggest that After Death is definitely for you if you are a Koontz devotee and though you have probably read everything he has written, you might like to take a look at Brother Odd because we loved it and maybe the horror genre is a better fit for this legendary author. If you have read and enjoyed Everything About You by Heather Child which was published back in 2018 you may find the tech thriller angle is in the same ballpark as After Death and love it regardless. I'm still a massive fan and will be eagerly awaiting Koontz's next release which I believe is coming in January 2024 and which I understand is in the same vein as the aforementioned Odd Thomas books.

I would like to thank the publishers for providing this copy for us to review.

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