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Stand Alone Novels 2000-2007 > The Face (Group Read - November 2010)

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message 1: by Maciek (new)

Maciek (pan_maciej) | 666 comments The Face was written in 2003, the same year as Odd Thomas. Curiously, Odd Thomas I thought was poor and The Face is now one of my DK favorites.

Channing Manheim, known as The Face is the highest grossing actor in the world. He is the epitome of the famous and rich. However, he is not the hero of the novel; the plot revolves around Ethan Truman, an ex-cop who now works as Manheim's security chief. The Face received six messages promising a very nasty surprise, and it is up to Ethan to figure out their meaning and guard The Face from possible danger.

The Face has a son, Fric. Fric owes his name to his mom (his parents are, of course, divorced) who apparently read the LOTR trilogy over and over. No wonder she was confined to a mental insitution for some time, LOL !

Since this is a DK book there has to be a bad guy. Enter Corky Laputa, the English professor who is also an anarchist. Corky spreads chaos whenever he goes and plans to kidnap Fric and kill him, of course. Corky is one of Koontz's funniest and most likable villains. Despite doing horrible things he's presented in a humorous manner so one can't stop wondering what weird stuff will he do next.

The book I liked immensely. Despite being almost 700 pages long, the plot is gripping enough to make you want to know what will happen next - and isn't that what a book is supposed to do ? There's no romance, so we are spared the sappiness and all the sugary dialogue. The setting is eerie; there's constant downpour and much of the action takes place in Manheim estate, which is a great mansion. A little bit of the supernatural is also there; but I don'twant to spoil it for you.

The prose is a bit theasurusy, for example: "Through skeins of rain as fine as angel hair...the gray-green quartzite cobblestones, polished to a sterling standard by the rain..." etc etc etc. While in Odd Thomas the constant use of such flowery prose bothered me to no end, here it works in setting a mood. It's just a matter of personal preference.

The flaws: The preaching is here. Since The Face is a movie actor Dean couldn't resist putting some of his views on modern cinema - basically it sucks, all the movies are made only for money and the last good actors were Garbo and Bogart. Did he miss all the good stuff that came out inbetween ?

The Deux Ex Machina ending is here (literally). However, the ending is very sweeet and satysfying. I enjoyed it greatly. It's difficult to write without spoiling, so I'll say that this si the book I'll pick up again. If this doesn't convince you, I don't know what will. ;)

PROS
- Ethan and Fric
- Corky
- No harleequin romance
- Supernatural elements
- No sugary dog

CONS
- Preachism (We get to know that Hollywood tycoons are just greedy men, greedy greedy men)
- Stereotyping (description of the thug on meth - your typical TV show thug on meth. But still he doesn't beat the thug from Sole Survivor, who had "popeye arms" and a tatoo on his neck that said "ANABOLIC".)
- Anarchist millionaire (wait.what ?)
- Roman Castevet (Friend of Corky goes by that name. It's an obvious allusion to Rosemary's Baby, however it is never credited and it bothered me just because of this.)


message 2: by Jaice (new)

Jaice Cooperrider (plasborgma) | 1299 comments I plan to read this book soon, which is why I nominated it as the March group read. My aunt finished it last month and told me a lot about it (not the plot so much as the characters and some of their less relevant, though amusing, actions). I will probably start it after I finish Cold Fire tonight, which I have really enjoyed and will start a thread about soon.


message 3: by Maciek (new)

Maciek (pan_maciej) | 666 comments Read it Jason, I'm really curious about your opinion on it. I'm surprised it didn't gain wider recognition.


message 4: by Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl, Colorful Colorado (new)

Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl (dustpancrazy) | 5993 comments Mod
Jason "plasborgma" wrote: "I will probably start it after I finish Cold Fire tonight, which I have really enjoyed and will start a thread about soon.
"

Good to hear! I love Cold Fire!!!


message 5: by Jaice (new)

Jaice Cooperrider (plasborgma) | 1299 comments Dustin wrote: "Good to hear! I love Cold Fire!!!"

Me too. One thing that made it especially good for me was that I did not figure out the twist until shortly before it was revealed, unlike with Lightning.


message 6: by Jaice (new)

Jaice Cooperrider (plasborgma) | 1299 comments Maciek wrote: "Read it Jason, I'm really curious about your opinion on it. I'm surprised it didn't gain wider recognition."

I started it last night. I am anxious to get to the part with the boy, because he sounds really amusing from what my aunt told me about him.


message 7: by Jaice (last edited Aug 22, 2012 01:49PM) (new)

Jaice Cooperrider (plasborgma) | 1299 comments ***SPOILERS***
I figured out three of the gift clues last week, once Laputa revealed his plans to capture and torture Fric. There is an old and popular nursery rhyme about boys and girls: snips and snails and puppy dog tails--that's what little boys are made of; sugar and spice and everything nice--that's what little girls are made of. I realized that the foreskins, snails, and the book about assistance dogs (i.e., puppy dog tales) represent the little boys part of the nursery rhyme, alluding to the villain's plans for Fric. My aunt, who has already read this book twice, confirmed it for me. She couldn't believe I figured it out. :-) I still haven't figured out what the remaining three clues mean. By the way, you do know what "la puta" means in Spanish, right? :-D (It's also a destination in Swift's tale, Gulliver's Travels, but that is less amusing ;-))


message 8: by Maciek (last edited Mar 17, 2010 09:45AM) (new)

Maciek (pan_maciej) | 666 comments That's neat. I didn't know the nursery ryme so I couldn't figure out the meaning of the gifts.

About the Spanish name...that's a wink from Dean propably, he likes wordplay. You'll be surprised when you'll learn what nationality Corky is.


message 9: by Jaice (new)

Jaice Cooperrider (plasborgma) | 1299 comments Maciek wrote: "About the Spanish name...that's a wink from Dean propably, he likes wordplay. You'll be surprised whe..."

Yes, I figured it was. I assume Corky is of Russian descent, considering his first name is Vladimir. I think Vladimir means "to rule with greatness/peace" in Russian, which is ironic, given that he is an (evil) anarchist.


message 10: by Maciek (new)

Maciek (pan_maciej) | 666 comments That's the point I wanted to discuss. Koontz seems to be anti-Russian, to the point of xenophobia. I can't remember a Russian character who would be presented as a positive person. all of them are either mad scientists/aarchists/communists...or all these factors combined.


message 11: by Jaice (last edited Mar 18, 2010 10:44AM) (new)

Jaice Cooperrider (plasborgma) | 1299 comments Maciek wrote: "That's the point I wanted to discuss. Koontz seems to be anti-Russian, to the point of xenophobia. I can't remember a Russian character who would be presented as a positive person. all of them are ..."

Unfortunately, Koontz seems to have quite a few prejudices that appear in his writing. Some that I can think of off the top of my head include atheists, pacifists, communists, scientists, and reporters. :-/ I happen to be two of those things for sure and two others to a degree.


message 12: by Maciek (new)

Maciek (pan_maciej) | 666 comments Agreed. If you're an athiest you're bound to be a negative person in a Koontz book. If you're a communist you're bound to be a villain...but that's understandable.

And the pacifists...they get it all the time. In TDEOTY the main heroine was raised by nuns, and later in the novel speaks about "righteous shooting" of a man.
WTF is this crap.


message 13: by Jaice (new)

Jaice Cooperrider (plasborgma) | 1299 comments Maciek wrote: "WTF is this crap...."

It is disturbing.


message 14: by Maciek (new)

Maciek (pan_maciej) | 666 comments I'd say that there's no such thing as "righteous shooting" and such statement coming from a woman raised in a monastery is plain stupid...but it's just me. :)


message 15: by Jaice (new)

Jaice Cooperrider (plasborgma) | 1299 comments Maciek wrote: "I'd say that there's no such thing as "righteous shooting" and such statement coming from a woman raised in a monastery is plain stupid...but it's just me. :)"

I agree, but then I'm somewhat of a stinking pacifist. ;-)


message 16: by Jaice (last edited Mar 22, 2010 11:01PM) (new)

Jaice Cooperrider (plasborgma) | 1299 comments By the way, the brain does not "stop" during a sneeze. The brain never "stops" until death. I mention this because it is something Fric says to Ethan over dinner.


message 17: by Lori (new)

Lori (barfield) http://www.theothersideofkim.com/inde...

The other side of the story!


message 18: by Maciek (last edited Mar 19, 2010 03:02AM) (new)

Maciek (pan_maciej) | 666 comments Jason "plasborgma" wrote: "By the way, the brain does not "stop" during a sneeze. The brain never "stops" until death. I mention this because it is something Frick says to Ethan over dinner."

I picked that up too. If the brain stops during a sneeze, what turns it on again ? Or maybe sneezers are some sort of zombies ?

Lori wrote: "http://www.theothersideofkim.com/inde...

The other side of the story!"


Dept. Of Righteous Shootings ? LOL A kill is a kill, always.
"remember, children: if possible, always shoot a bad guy with a rifle" - yeah, and don't forget to go to the church at Sunday, after all you are righteous citizens.


message 19: by Maciek (new)

Maciek (pan_maciej) | 666 comments Jason "plasborgma" wrote: "Maciek wrote: "About the Spanish name...that's a wink from Dean propably, he likes wordplay. You'll be surprised whe..."

Yes, I figured it was. I assume Corky is of Russian descent, considering his first name is Vladimir. I think Vladimir means "to rule with greatness/peace" in Russian, which is ironic, given that he is an (evil) anarchist."


Come to think of it, there may be more to Corky than we think. His last name sounds uncannily familiar...and when his first name (Vladimir) is revealed, we can't stop but think about the former president and current prime minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin.


message 20: by Jaice (new)

Jaice Cooperrider (plasborgma) | 1299 comments Maciek wrote: "...His last name sounds uncannily familiar...and when his first name (Vladimir) is revealed, we can't stop but think about the former president and current prime minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin."

Good point, I hadn't thought of that. Maybe he's calling Putin a puta. :-D


message 21: by Jaice (new)

Jaice Cooperrider (plasborgma) | 1299 comments I couldn't have figured out the meaning of the three other gift clues.

***SPOILERS*** I had never heard of the ladybug nursery rhyme and, though I have heard the feline cookie jar related nursery rhyme, I am not familiar enough with it to know that Wednesday's child is full of woe, besides, I did not find out that Fric was born on a Wednesday until the meaning of the clue was revealed. Also, though I had guessed early on about the true nature of Dunny's (spelling?) role, due to the origins of his phone calls, as discovered by those who dialed *69 after receiving a call from him, I knew for certain once the elevator continued descending past the lower garage and became putrid.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and the characters, but I could have done without all the Christian-themed supernatural elements. I especially enjoyed the relationship between Fric and Ethan, as well as the amusingly evil deeds and thoughts of the primary villain (especially when he sprayed Stinky Cheese Man down with the disinfectant, after SCM closed his eyes in routine anticipation :-D).


message 22: by Maciek (last edited Mar 23, 2010 02:47PM) (new)

Maciek (pan_maciej) | 666 comments Jason "plasborgma" wrote: "Overall, I enjoyed the story and the characters, but I could have done without all the Christian-themed supernatural elements.."

Funny, because the supernatural made the story for me. Without all these the book would be boring, and the ending wouldn't be half as powerful.


message 23: by Maciek (new)

Maciek (pan_maciej) | 666 comments EDIT:Jason "plasborgma" wrote: "I am not familiar enough with it to know that Wednesday's child is full of woe" - I knew that one :D


message 24: by Jaice (new)

Jaice Cooperrider (plasborgma) | 1299 comments Maciek wrote: "EDIT:Jason "plasborgma" wrote: "I am not familiar enough with it to know that Wednesday's child is full of woe" - I knew that one :D"

You shouldn't have told me that, because now I am disappointed that you couldn't figure out the clue. ;-)


message 25: by Maciek (new)

Maciek (pan_maciej) | 666 comments I didn't even try. I was just too wrapped up in the story .
This is one of the few Koontz books where I felt completely satisfied, from start to finish.


message 26: by Jaice (new)

Jaice Cooperrider (plasborgma) | 1299 comments Maciek wrote: "...This is one of the few Koontz books where I felt completely satisfied, from start to finish."

Interesting.


message 27: by Wolf (new)

Wolf (lonewolfank07) Umm... I'm not part of this group (for long), and I'm not a fan of Koontz, but a member asked me to give my opinion on the book, so here it is:

I LOVE the end and the stereotypes he worked with. xD

I've read Odd Thomas and it was by far his best that I've read. The Funhouse is up there, but this one in particular is a new sort of style for him. Still extreme obsessions with ghosts, but now with a purpose and more of a riddle/mystery type book than any others I've read by him.

The only reason it's a 4 rating other than a five is because of his writing. Some of it just doesn't make any sense in his descriptions unless you're speed reading, and THEN you think "wait a second - did I just read what I thought I did????" The scary part is it turns out you did. He definitely seems to think he's amusing in some manner. Some of his phrases are just the stupidest, most cliche-like things around. But then, one has to wonder, where did cliche phrases come in the first place? Why NOT make a few more? :)

The only thing I truly detested about his references to celebrities and the like (since this IS a book about hypocrisy and fame and so SHOULD have those allusions by right) was his poking at Sherlock Holmes. He wrote it twice: "even the like of Sherlock Holmes could not" (and then something to the effect of) 'puzzle such a maze out.' I beg to differ - I've read enough Doyles to know that Sherlock Holmes, in fact, could probably have solved most of the case within a couple hours without the help of Whistler.

And Corky - although the first chapter of his bugged the heck out of me because that's what I chose a few months ago to call my main character, and I mistakenly thought the name was not used for humans - turned out to be much better than I originally thought him. I love his yellow raincoat. Clever thinking on Koontz's part.

Hope this helps inspire new discussion or thought or something. xD


message 28: by Mischelle (new)

Mischelle (Misc) | 33 comments I know that I have this book in my collection somewhere. I have to dig it out to read for the November 2010 discussion.


message 29: by Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl, Colorful Colorado (new)

Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl (dustpancrazy) | 5993 comments Mod
I'm planning on reading too :-)


message 30: by Mischelle (new)

Mischelle (Misc) | 33 comments I just started the book. It is a nice easy flow so far.
Ethan's little dream reminded me of the movie FINAL DESTINATION. When the main guy had a dream of the jet plane blowing up after take off. When he wakes up, he does the things he did in his dream and realizes that the jet will explode and he gets off the plane before it takes off. Ethan didn't do the same thing that his dream did. He got out of the apartment before anything could happen.

Fric: What a name?! Well, it is better than Frodo. I can't believe that anyone would name their kid Frodo. He better be lucky he didn't go to public school.


message 31: by Driftwood (new)

Driftwood | 30 comments I just started and am intrigued already by page 27. there goes my house work for today. Its a cold blustery day, so I will be on my can reading. love it!! thanks again Mr. Koontz, if my husband kicks me out, I expect a guest room.


message 32: by Driftwood (last edited Nov 08, 2010 12:08PM) (new)

Driftwood | 30 comments Poor fed, frightened, frustrated fric. I am so into this book right now. It is a good read. I've even laughed out loud at a few places.


message 33: by Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl, Colorful Colorado (new)

Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl (dustpancrazy) | 5993 comments Mod
Driftwood wrote: "Poor fed, frightened, frustrated fric. I am so into this book right now. It is a good read. I've even laughed out loud at a few places."

This is good to hear - planing on reading The Face later this month :-)


message 34: by Driftwood (new)

Driftwood | 30 comments I hope darkfall is as good as this one, it is next for me.


message 35: by Maxine (new)

Maxine (maxine00) | 12 comments I loved this book. I'm gonna start re-reading this later. Ü


message 36: by Mischelle (new)

Mischelle (Misc) | 33 comments This about the second book I've read by Dean Koontz where the villain give illegal drugs to kids! Corky did it twice so far in THE FACE! Plus, he is terrorizing that poor boy. The villian Enis gave drugs to kids playing basketball in a park in the book FROM THE CORNER OF HIS EYE. I know Koontz do not have any kids but is he telling us that he hates kids all together?


message 37: by Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl, Colorful Colorado (new)

Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl (dustpancrazy) | 5993 comments Mod
Mischelle wrote: "I know Koontz do not have any kids but is he telling us that he hates kids all together? "

I think Dean likes kids - I know he loves dogs and he likes to put children with disabilities in his books too - a lot of time he gives them special powers too. Dogs can teleport and children walk between the rain. He even featured Jason of the Borg in his novel with the teleporting dog - Jason was featured as a childhood genius named Milo.

Another favorite of author of mine, John Saul, does horrible things to children in his books. His first book was called Suffer the Children.


message 38: by Jaice (new)

Jaice Cooperrider (plasborgma) | 1299 comments Dustin Crazy wrote: "...He even featured Jason of the Borg in his novel with the teleporting dog - Jason was featured as a childhood genius named Milo...."

:-P


message 39: by Suey (new)

Suey (suey_docos) | 48 comments REreading 'The Face' for the third time. Really wasn't one of my favorites the first two times, but I'm trying to go slower and enjoy it more - so many things I forgot! AND - I found two GREAT 'keeper quotes' - all in the first chapter! (I'll look them up and post them later...)

Side Note: I LOVE the way Koontz describes scenery/weather - it adds so much to the mood of the story - don'tcha think?!?!


message 40: by Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl, Colorful Colorado (new)

Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl (dustpancrazy) | 5993 comments Mod
Suey wrote: "REreading 'The Face' for the third time. Really wasn't one of my favorites the first two times, but I'm trying to go slower and enjoy it more - so many things I forgot! AND - I found two GREAT 'kee..."

You're such a devoted fan! Reading the book 3 times when it's not even one of your favorites - Amazing! You deserve a special button to wear or something :-)


message 41: by Maxine (last edited Nov 16, 2010 04:02AM) (new)

Maxine (maxine00) | 12 comments Side Note: I LOVE the way Koontz describes scenery/weather - it adds so much to the mood of the story - don'tcha think?!?!

I agree. His weather descriptions (especially in The Face) are really enjoyable. Ü


message 42: by Suey (new)

Suey (suey_docos) | 48 comments Dustin Crazy wrote: "Suey wrote: "REreading 'The Face' for the third time. Really wasn't one of my favorites the first two times, but I'm trying to go slower and enjoy it more - so many things I forgot! AND - I found t..."

I know! And I think it's the only one I've read more than once - go figure. ALWAYS love Koontz's writing style though!


message 43: by Driftwood (new)

Driftwood | 30 comments Finished. I'll write more later, but I really liked this one.


message 44: by Dustin (new)

Dustin Dustin Crazy wrote: "Suey wrote: "REreading 'The Face' for the third time. Really wasn't one of my favorites the first two times, but I'm trying to go slower and enjoy it more - so many things I forgot! AND - I found t..."

The Face in't one of my Koontz favorites, either!


message 45: by Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl, Colorful Colorado (new)

Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl (dustpancrazy) | 5993 comments Mod
Still planning on reading The Face next week :-)


message 46: by Dustin (new)

Dustin Oh, okay. Please be sure to let us know what you think about it.


message 47: by Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl, Colorful Colorado (new)

Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl (dustpancrazy) | 5993 comments Mod
Dustin wrote: "Oh, okay. Please be sure to let us know what you think about it."

:-) Not sure if you were replying to me or someone else - but I sure will! I do have the audiobook of The Face from the library - hoping I can get through it without falling asleep this time.


message 48: by Suey (new)

Suey (suey_docos) | 48 comments Well...I guess three times is the charm - enjoyed it much more this time around. I think because so much of the story takes place in the mansion - gave me that claustrophobic feeling. The constant rain didn't help either, but knowing that it all turns out right in the end, along with all the colorful characters you meet along the way...made for a pretty enjoyable read.


message 49: by Suey (new)

Suey (suey_docos) | 48 comments My favorite quotes from The Face (both in the 1st chapter - go figure):

"Ethan did too little living to devote an entire room to it."

"In bad times as in good, the only two absolute necessities were food and illusions."

Fric had some good lines too that made me smile, but these were my favorites.


message 50: by Suey (new)

Suey (suey_docos) | 48 comments Mischelle wrote: "This about the second book I've read by Dean Koontz where the villain give illegal drugs to kids! Corky did it twice so far in THE FACE! Plus, he is terrorizing that poor boy. The villian Enis gave..."

IMO, Koontz is establishing how REALLY bad the villain is by having him be mean to kids.


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