77 Shadow Street.
Our main character is a man named Addison Goodheart. Addison has lived a hard life. When he was born, there was something so horrific about him that the midwife and her assistant wanted to kill him. His mother didn't let them, and sent them away. But even she had trouble having him around and looking at him. Once he reached a certain age, she made him live outside the house, in the forest, often he would sleep in the garage. Once in awhile she would call him up to talk with her and she'd tell him things about her past. But then one day she called him up to tell him she couldn't live with him even that close anymore, and she told him to leave. He did, because he loved his mother, and knew she loved him in her own way. On the way, he heard a gunshot, and knew that she had killed herself. Whether it was something she'd planned, or if she just couldn't bear having to send her son away, he didn't know. As he traveled, he came upon people that would hurt him. One time he saw a man that had been beat almost to death, and he tried to comfort him. But when this man looked into his eyes, he began to try to attack Addison, even though he was dying himself. Also along the journey, there were some dogs, and while Addison had never had any trouble with the wild animals in the forest, he assumed that since dogs were tamed and the most like humans, that they, like humans would be repulsed and try to hurt him. But that wasn't the case, as with all Dean Koontz books, the dogs are the good guys. The dogs liked him and wanted to play with him, and maybe even would have traveled with him. But when Addison heard a hunter's voice, he told the dogs to go back, and he ran as fast as he could to get away. He hopped onto the back of a truck, and just stayed on it until it stopped. Which was in a city. In the city he ran into a man that was like him. This man kind of adopted him, and became his father.
We join the actual story after Addison's father has died, and all these things we've learned through flashbacks. Addison meets Gwyneth on one of his late night forays into the city. His father was given a key to the food bank, and also a good will for clothes. And he also taught Addison how to get around the city at night without being seen. Including visits to the library, so that they can find books to read. As they must live underground, in a long forgotten room. This night he is in the library when he sees a girl run past. He hides, as he doesn't want anyone to see him, as that is dangerous for him. And he soon hears a man that is chasing her. The girl is able to give the guy the slip, and she ends up hiding in a secret room in the library. Addison knows the room, and goes to knock on the door, and tell the girl that if she wants to talk to him, he will be in a specific area waiting for her. Once they meet, he stays back, telling her that he doesn't want to be seen. This works well as she also has a social type of phobia in that she doesn't want to be touched. Both agree to do as the other has asked, and a sort of friendship begins. One that also leads them both into more trouble, and to the main storyline of the book I guess. I won't go much more into the story, just to say that what we are told may not be what really is, even based on what the characters themselves think not being true. There are secrets to find, even in the tragedies that have occurred. And in the end, could it be that Addison and Gwyneth's "shortcomings" could be what will save the world?
I like how we are given hints of what is actually happening through brief scenes of what is showing on the tv, or on a newspaper's headlines. As I said before, as I was reading, I just remember how much I love the way Dean Koontz always makes the dogs good guys. I love dogs, when I see one, I just want to pet it and hug it. I own two dogs now, and can't imagine life without them, even in the midst of housebreaking one of them. Truly, there is only one issue I had with the book, and it is the use of a term, that I did look up, but I'm not sure why it was needed. The term is "groin-vaulted" ceiling. Yes, it is a real term, and I looked up the pictures on line. But not sure it really added to the story? Was a kind of distraction to see that and picture in my mind what that might be before I actually looked it up. But that is not the story, and as I said, the story was really good. If you are a long-time Dean Koontz fan, I believe this is one you will really enjoy, as it hearkens back to his earlier books.