SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 692 Hideaway, by Dean Koontz Book Review |

Hideaway, by Dean Koontz cover image

Hideaway, by Dean Koontz
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Berkley
Published: 1992
Review Posted: 10/16/2005
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 10 out of 10

Hideaway, by Dean Koontz

Book Review by Jeff Edwards

Have you read this book?

Clinically dead for eighty minutes after a car accident, Hatchford Harrison is brought back to life by an innovative resuscitation team. But Hatch has returned with something from the other side, and now shares a telepathic link with a murderous psychotic who calls himself Vassago. This serial killer is creating a museum of the dead - and he thinks that the addition of Hatch's wife and recently adopted daughter will complete his collection.

Hideaway proves that Dean Koontz can tell a riveting story, but first-time Koontz readers may need to adjust to his writing style; he alternates between oddly formal narration ("Suddenly the moderate gradient appeared precipitously steep") and attempts at more poetic prose ("[T]he night seemed empty, as hollow as the vacant chambers of a cold, dead heart").

Despite his sometimes stilted narration, Koontz uses clever similes to create cunning parallels that will haunt readers as the book progresses; for example, the car accident is described using symbolic language that later links to actual places within Vassago's subterranean lair ("like the water-greased spillway of an amusement-park flume ride," "as if [they] some windowless funhouse, rocketing down a roller-coaster track").

Although Koontz's similes are vivid, his protagonists are relatively bland. Ironically, the author imbues Vassago - who hates the world of the living - with more life than any of the other characters in the novel. Readers learn about Vassago's first murder at the age of twelve, what drives him to kill again and again, and even what he eats and drinks (candy bars and root beer) in his hideaway. This predator is a far more compelling character than either Hatch or his wife, Lindsey. Hatch is so perfect that he's boring: "Hatch, who never forgot a birthday or an anniversary, who bought her flowers for no reason at all, who never lost his temper and rarely raised his voice." And Lindsey - who shows remarkable strength and willpower at the beginning of the book, struggling to pull Hatch from the car while it sinks into an icy river - takes a definite backseat as the story continues. Vassago, on the other hand, remains a powerful presence throughout the novel.

Perhaps the most intriguing question in the story is whether Vassago might actually be an otherworldly killer from the depths of Hell, or just a young man driven to murder by psychosis. There seems to be evidence within the book to support both theories - the supernatural aspect ("Even at night, the land of the living was too bright for the likes of him. He didn't need light to see. His vision had adapted to the perfect blackness of death, to the catacombs of Hell") and the scientific rebuttal ("An ophthalmological examination revealed a curious...degeneration of the irises. The...muscle causing the iris to contract...had all but atrophied"). To truly understand Koontz's reconciliation of Vassago's evil - and Hatch's goodness - readers may need to look back through the novel to see how the author began constructing his ending within the story's opening pages.

One of the characters in Hideaway believes that "art was meant to reveal meaning in the chaos of life." Dean Koontz seems to have taken that notion to heart, using this novel to present his own unique meditation on dualism. Whether or not readers agree with Koontz's views, they will undoubtedly find themselves compulsively turning pages, carried away by this archetypal story of good versus evil.
Click here to buy Hideaway, by Dean Koontz on Amazon

Hideaway, by Dean Koontz on Amazon

Hideaway, by Dean Koontz cover pic
Comment on Hideaway, by Dean Koontz
Your Name:
Type (case sensitive) here:

Comments on Hideaway, by Dean Koontz
Posted by Jeff Edwards on 10/2/2007
Thanks for reading my review, and for your comments, Hailey.
Posted by Hailey on 7/24/2007
I recently read this book. It was great, but creepy at the same time. I could really picture everyone described in the book. I really like this book and I think everyone should have a chance to read it.