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Dean Koontz's Intensity
Dean Koontz’s name is often secondary in the list of horror writers in the field today. Even Stephen King gets more literary credit than Koontz. However, Koontz’s book Intensity goes a long way to changing this.
Intensity is the story of a twenty-six year old psychology student, Chyna Shepard, who suddenly finds herself in a world of extreme terror when she stays at a friend’s house. A killer works his way into their lives, killing all but Chyna. He is not a normal killer, striking silently and without malice so much as adrenaline driven intensity. After witnessing him coax a spider out of its web and eat it, Chyna decides to follow him because he takes her best friend’s body. She manages to hide out in the travel trailer he came in, effectively hitching a ride into a nightmarish tour of traveling death.
Even though she has more than one chance to escape the madman, she chooses to stay with him so that she may have a chance in rescuing an angel-faced, sixteen-year old girl named Ariel. The girl has been his captive for close to a year now, and Chyna knows that she will not survive much longer if the killer has his way.
There is also another thing that connects these two girls: childhoods immersed in horror and instability. Chyna herself was raised by a harshly beautiful mother who thought danger was the most thrilling thing in the world, putting it above her own daughter’s welfare. For too many years Chyna had to rely on her wits and her survival instincts to keep her away from the danger her mother craved and the people she hung out with in order to fulfill this need as if it were a high she could attain from a syringe and needle.
It is Chyna’s recognition of this primal ability to live beyond the terror that has been inflicted upon this little girl that draws them together in the battle for their lives.
Intensity pulls the reader in from the word go, grips them by the throat, and refuses to relent until the very end. The solid, pulse-pounding action interwoven with a very intricate plot manages to connect with the human spirit and the will to survive makes Intensity a book that will only enhance Koontz’s reputation as a solid storyteller. In my humble opinion, it may even help serve to one day get his name recognized for the solid writer I’ve always thought of him as.