Book Reviews

Book Review: The Other Emily

The Other Emily

By Dean Koontz

362 pages

Writer David Thorne still mourns the loss of his girlfriend, Emily Carlino, a decade after she disappeared on a California highway.  The agony of not knowing what happened to her drove him from California to New York City to begin a new life, but he returns each year to the cottage they shared.  He’s done everything he can to find out what happened to her, including visiting the convicted serial killer he believes may have murdered her. The man who saved some of his victim’s bodies for safe keeping, refusing to reveal their locations or identities.  

Grief is the driving force in David’s life until the night that Emily walks into a restaurant where he’s dining – calling herself Madison Sutton.  Even facial recognition software confirms that Madison is Emily Carlino, not a day older than when she disappeared.  But how is that possible?  

In searching for answers, David faces danger from a mysterious force that will do anything to stop him and possibly from Madison herself.  Is he willing to sacrifice the future of the planet to uncover the mystery of what happened to Emily?

Dean Koontz is, hands down, one of my favorite authors  – mostly for his memorable characters (Odd Thomas), deep POV (Elsewhere), or beautifully crafted stories that stay with you long after you’ve read the last page (Innocence).  After years of reading his work, I’ve noticed his novels tend to fall either on the paranormal or the sci-fi side, with my preference being his more paranormal-driven stories.  

The Other Emily is in the sci-fi lane and for that and various other reasons, doesn’t make my top ten favorite Koontz novels.  It’s a solid story but some of the things I look for, and expect in a Koontz novel, were missing:  really deep pov and dialogue that riffs like a Guy Ritchie scene.  This novel felt more cerebral than others, meaning most of the action centered around David trying to figure out what was going on and coming to terms with his grief and shame. There was a lot of focus on planning and sleuthing, not a lot on physical action.  Despite that, I never felt very grounded in David, although I couldn’t quite put my finger on why.  In addition, after an entire novel of build up, the ending came off as a little easy and pat.  I thought it could have been drawn out a bit more, although it’s possible there’s a sequel coming or it’s up to the reader to decide how David fares.

On a positive note, I’ve added seeing a sunset over the Pacific ocean to my bucket list because there were several gorgeous descriptions peppered throughout the novel.  

If you’re not familiar with Dean Koontz, you have plenty to choose from (since he’s written over 70 novels) but I’d recommend his Odd Thomas or Jane Hawk series, if not Innocence, to begin with. 

All that said, this was a solid book that I rated at 3.5 stars.

My rating system:

5 stars – Wow, I could not stop thinking about this book and/or I wish I’d writtn it.

4 stars – This was an awesome novel, I’d recommend it to friends.

3 stars – This was a good novel, I will look for more by this author.

2 stars – An okay novel, but I probably won’t look for anything else by the author.


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