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Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz

Read between 20th of January 2020 to 31st January 2020

Edition Details:
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 476
Publisher: Bantam Books
ISBN: 9780553588248

Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz

First Sentence:
On the night that i was born, my paternal grandfather, Josef Tock, made ten predictions that shaped my life.

On the night Jimmy Tock was to be born, his grand father Josef Tock made ten predictions about him. And then after making those predictions, the grandfather died the moment Jimmy Tock was born.

Josef had given his son Rudy a list of five dates which according to him would prove very dangerous for his grandchild.

Rudy was not a superstitious man but when five of these ten predictions came true, then he had to take these dates seriously.

This is Jimmy's story and he's telling you how he faced those 'terrible dates'.

What would happen to Jimmy on these dates?  
Were the predictions true? Were these dates really dangerous to him?
How did he survive them?

Major Characters:
Jimmy Tock - Narrator of the story. He's a baker
Rudy Tock - Jimmy's father who's a baker
Madelaine Tock - Jimmy's mother
Josef Tock - Jimmy's paternal grandfather who was a pastery chef
Konrad Beezo - A clown who was also present at the hospital where Jimmy was born
Natalie - A trapeze artist and wife of Konrad
Dr Pickett - The physician who was treating Josef
Dr Ferris Macdonald - Madelaine's Physician
Charlene Coleman- a nurse present at the hospital
Rowena - Jimmy's maternal grandmother
Lionel Davis - The librarian
Lorrie Lynn Hicks - A woman who had entered the library  when Jimmy was there
Honkers and Crinkles - People who had come into library to destroy it
Punchinello Beezo - Konrad Beezo's son
Huey Foster - Rudy Tock's friend and a cop
Annie, Lucy and Andy, Rowena - Jimmy's children
Vivacemente - Natalie's father

My Views:
Life expectancy is a novel by Dean Koontz which was first published in 2004.

I enjoy reading horror novels and so i keep looking for books by horror writers like Dean Koontz,Peter Straub, Stephen king, James herbert, Richard laymon etc. And this quest for horror novels forces me to keep going to Delhi's Daryaganj market where you can get novels by these author at dirt cheap price.

During my one of such visits in Delhi's Daryaganz market  when i came across this i title i grabbed it because i saw Dean Koontz on the cover. I was getting this book for 20 Rs and i wanted some Dean Koontz for my library and so i picked it up thinking that this would be just another horror by him. But i  was wrong there. Yes, the tock family in this novel does go through some horrific situations but this book would probably be kept in thriller section of a library.

As far the book is concerned i loved reading Life Expectancy. The book is divided into 6 parts and there are total of 70 chapters. The book starts from the birth of Jimmy tock and then after that each part is about the date which his grandfather has told would be dangerous for him. Each part has a title which kind of foreshadows what is about to come in that particular part.

It's fast paced, thrilling,humorous and thus keeps you engaged from start to finish. There are twists in the story especially in the later part of the book that would keep you on your toes and you  keep  guessing what would happen next.

The book is also very funny and would you make you laugh out loud in many situations. I haven't read Dean Koontz much but i was really surprised by the amount of humor in the book. I would love to read more such books by Dean. If you know about them then do tell me their names.

For example in one of the situation a maniac has taken the local library under his control. He has shot the librarian point blank and has Jimmy and Lorrie as his prisoner and this is one of the conversation that's going on between them:

"Your mother sounds like a caring person", he said.

Sensing i'd made a connection with him, I said, "She is. When i was growing up, she even ironed my socks."

This revelation drew from Lorrie a look of troubled speculation.

Concerned that she might think i was an eccentric or worse, a momma's boy, i quickly added:"I have been doing my ironing since i was seventeen. And i never iron my socks."

Lorrie's expression didn't change.

"I don't mean that my mother stills irons them," i hastened to assure her."No body irons my socks anymore. Only an idiot irons socks."

Lorrie frowned.

"Not that i mean my mother is an idiot," I clarified. "She's a wonderful woman. She's not an idiot, she's just caring. i mean other people who iron their socks are idiots."

At once i saw that with the language skills of a lummox i had talked myself into a corner.

"If either of you irons your socks," I said, "I don't mean that you're idiots. I'm sure you're just caring people, like my mom."

With disturbingly similar expressions, Lorrie and the maniac started at me as thought i had just walked down the debarkation ramp from a flying saucer.

As far as characters are concerned, I really liked Jimmy Tock as a narrator. He is a funny guy and  that humor translates into the way this story is narrated. This in turn makes the story fun and engaging to read.. As a main character you can't help but like him and want everything to be right for him.

I liked Tock family too. Their family banter is fun to read and reading it makes you want to be part of their daily dinner conversations. I really enjoyed hearing grandma Rowena's stories whenever they were shared. If the author ever decided to write a book containing only Grandma Rowena's life stories i would definitely read it.

The antagonists are ridiculous but very kooky characters. This makes them lot more interesting. Some time when you read about their antics you wouldn't be able to control your laughter. But they are funny only when you are reading about them. I know if one was to encounter them in real life then they would be very scary.

The only thing that one may complain about the book is that the situations here sometimes may feel too outlandish. The antagonists Konrad Beezo and Punchinello Beezo are so mad that it's is very difficult to believe that such people would exist. You tend to think that these things are happening in some fantasy land created by the writer and such characters can't exist in real world.

Also, the way Konrad's characters was shown doing things like coming in  and out of country at will, taking over police and other government agents etc, may seem a little far fetched. If you are not into such over the top stories than you may find it irksome but for me i enjoyed them. I was fully engrossed into this world created by the writer and was enjoying what was being given to me.

If you like thriller then do give it a try. The humor in the book would be the bonus.

Some lines of the book that i liked:
Their love is deeper than desire, than affection, than respect, so deep that it's well-spring is humor. Humor is petal on the flower of hope, and hope blossoms on the vine of faith. They have faith in each other, and faith that life has meaning, and from this faith comes their indefatigable good humor, which is their greatest gift to each other - and to me.

A close and loving family is a blessing. But the more people we love and the more deeply we love them, the more vulnerable we are to loss and grief and loneliness.

When danger can be sensed but not identified, then everyone and everything becomes a source of concern; the world from horizon to horizon seems hostile.
Fear of the unknown is the most purely distilled and potent terror.

A lot of people don't actually have fun even when they're at a party having fun. That's because they don't have a sense of humor. Everyone claims to have a sense of humor, but some of them are lying and a significant number are fooling themselves.

My family has always insisted on fun not only during the sunny times of life but also during times of adversity, even in the face of loss and tragedy. Maybe we inherited an acutely sensitive funny-recognition gene. Or maybe we're just on a permanent sugar high from all the baked goods we eat.

Insanity is not evil, but all evil is insane. Evil itself is not funny, but insanity sometimes can be. We need to laugh at the irrationality of evil, for in doing so we deny evil's power over us, diminish it's influence in the world, and tarnish the allure it has for some people.

No matter what breed of miserable lost soul you might be, you deserved at least the safe community of your own kind.

Every family is eccentric in its own way, however, as is each human being.

Revenge and justice are twin braids in a line as thin as the high wire that an areialist must walk, and if you can't keep your balance, then you are doomed- and damned- regardless of whether you fall to the left or to the right of the line.

No one's life should be rooted in fear. We are born for wonder, for joy, for hope, for love, to marvel at the mystery of existence, to be ravished by the beauty of the world, to seek truth and meaning, to acquire wisdom, and by our treatment of others to brighten the corner we are.

No one can grant you happiness. Happiness is a choice we all have the power to make.

Love can do all but raise the dead.

Maybe it's our free will misdirected or just a shameful pride, but we live our lives with the conviction that we stand at the center of the drama. Moments rarely come that put us outside ourselves, that divorce us from our egos and force us to see the larger picture, to recognise that the drama is in fact a tapestry and that each of us is but a thread in the vivid weave, yet each thread essential to the integrity of the cloth.

Rating: 4/5

If you have read this book then do tell me your thought about it. If you haven't read this one then you can get it from the following links:
Mass Market Paperback

Now some questions for you dear reader:
Question 1: Has anyone made some predictions about  you? What were they? Did they come true?
Question 2: Have you ever been to circus? What did you like there?
Question 3: If you were asked to join the circus, what would you like to join as?

You can read my views about other books by Dean Koontz by clicking on the link below:
Dean Koontz

You can read my views about other horror works that i have read by clicking on the link below:

You can read my views about thrillers that i have read by clicking on the link below:

©विकास नैनवाल 'अंजान'
FTC Disclosure: इस पोस्ट में एफिलिएट लिंक्स मौजूद हैं। अगर आप इन लिंक्स के माध्यम से खरीददारी करते हैं तो एक बुक जर्नल को उसके एवज में छोटा सा कमीशन मिलता है। आपको इसके लिए कोई अतिरिक्त शुल्क नहीं देना पड़ेगा। ये पैसा साइट के रखरखाव में काम आता है। This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy from these links Ek Book Journal receives a small percentage of your purchase as a commission. You are not charged extra for your purchase. This money is used in maintainence of the website.

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  1. Nice review... Dean Koontz is also in my wish list.

    1. Thanks....I have read two or three by him.... This one was one of his best...

  2. Kindle has been suggesting me this book for a long time, but I was ignoring it as I ain't into the genre of horror. After reading your views on the book, I'm thinking of giving it a try. :)


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