Alan Marchant's Reviews > Life Expectancy

Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz
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's review
Jul 26, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, horror, comedy
Read in April, 2006

feel-good horror story

With Life Expectancy, Dean Koontz takes on the challenge of writing an entirely wholesome horror story. Many readers may not care for the mix of creepiness, humor, and schmaltz. But I found it refreshing.

Life expectancy is the life story of a young baker, Jimmy Tock, and his wife, told in first person. They are happy, optimistic, family folk. Therefore their story is virtually free of profanity or gratuitous nastiness. But they are also blessed with "interesting lives" that are punctuated by run-ins with a bizarre circus family. The crises in Jimmy's life are moderately suspenseful and scary, the characters are moderately funny, the plot resolves itself well, and the moral outlook is consistently decent. I recommend the book as a fun read.

As the plot of Life Expectancy began to resolve, I was reminded sharply of an Anthony Burgess novel, M/F. The Burgess novel is also a first-person comedic treatment of innocents who are entrained in the sick machinations of a bizarre circus family. M/F is not so family friendly as Life Expectancy, but it is wonderfully literate and entertaining.
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