In the stillness of a golden September afternoon, deep in the wilderness of the Rockies, a solitary craftsman, Grady Adams, and his magnificent Irish wolfhound, Merlin, step from shadow into light . . . and into an encounter with mystery. That night, a pair of singular animals will watch Grady's isolated home, waiting to make their approach.
A few miles away, Camillia Rivers, a local veterinarian, begins to unravel the threads of a puzzle that will bring to her door all the forces of a government in peril.
At a nearby farm, long-estranged identical twins come together to begin a descent into darkness. . . . In Las Vegas, a specialist in chaos theory probes the boundaries of the unknowable. . . . On a Seattle golf course, two men make matter-of-fact arrangements for murder. . . . Along a highway by the sea, a vagrant scarred by the past begins a trek toward his destiny.
In a novel that is at once wholly of our time and timeless, fearless and funny, Dean Koontz takes readers into the moment between one turn of the world and the next, across the border between knowing and mystery. It is a journey that will leave all who take it Breathless.
Showing 1-10 of the 14 most recent reviews
1 . nonsense
Posted February 19, 2011 by john , salt lake cityThis was the worst book ever. Total nonsense!
2 . Great book
Posted January 24, 2011 by Daniel , San DiegoThe story moves at a great pace that sucks you in from the first chapter. The only gripe I had was the ending felt a bit rushed.
3 . Timely and Spellbinding
Posted September 30, 2010 by gail , PattersonThis is the first Dean Koontz novel I have read . I will read many more. Mr. Koontz artfully weaves several story lines together with poetic prose. He carries the reader through the painful lives of characters who remain deeply human through their trials. He attaches them to spirituality and faith while artfully shining a light on current political undercurrents which many readers will dare not believe.
Read it once, read it twice and read it again!
4 . Wonderful
Posted May 13, 2010 by Machak , MachakWonderful
5 . Good storyline and characters but...
Posted April 16, 2010 by Josh , Fort Worth, TXThe book was entertaining until about the second to last chapter. Still worth reading but the ending left me wanting some more...and not in the best sense of that phrase.
6 . Great!
Posted April 02, 2010 by Me , EdmondI have seen several negative reviews on this book, and I do not claim to be a good literary critic, but for what it was I really enjoyed it! It presented some interesting ideas on life and existence that made me think. Great read!
7 . I liked it
Posted March 10, 2010 by New Reading Dude , St. LouisI liked the story. I loved the disjointed story and how they all came together at the end of the book. It kept me riveted the entire time I read the book.
8 . Felt like a gotcha
Posted February 14, 2010 by usually a fan , Central TexasI am typically a big DK fan, in spite of his regular inclusion of paranoid politics and anti-science bent for his genre. However, I was mouth-open disappointed when I finally made it to the end of the story only to find I had been sipping a cup of Tea-Party politics ending with a non-sensical story wrapup. A waste of delightful characters and suspense. I will be much more discerning before buying him again. Alas.
9 . Certainly not one of his better novels.
Posted February 03, 2010 by Cindy , ManitobaI finished this novel scratching my head and wondering if I had purchased a defective book that was missing a couple of hundred pages. Abrupt ending that was totally anticlimactic. Very dull narrative throughout. Not impressed with this one at all. If it were not for his name attached to it, I would not believe this to be a DK book.
10 . This book was a disappointment for me.
Posted December 30, 2009 by Paublo , FolsomI have read probably 12-15 Koontz novels over the years but Breathless didn't do it for me! I thought the story was kind of weak and there was very little provided to build up the characters. The ending was terrible. I really hate to say it...but I couldn't wait to get the book overwith so I could move onto something better. My biggest issue with the book was Koontz spent too much time describing physical elements within the story and not enough time spent of making the story line compelling. Many times I just felt I read too many pages of frivolous filler. Big disapointment.
November 23, 2010
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Excerpt from Breathless by Dean Koontz
A moment before the encounter, a strange expectancy overcame Grady Adams, a sense that he and Merlin were not alone.
In good weather and bad, Grady and the dog walked the woods and the meadows for two hours every day. In the wilderness, he was relieved of the need to think about anything other than the smells and sounds and textures of nature, the play of light and shadow, the way ahead, and the way home.
Generations of deer had made this path through the forest, toward a meadow of grass and fragrant clover.
Merlin led the way, seemingly indifferent to the spoor of the deer and the possibility of glimpsing the white flags of their tails ahead of him. He was a three-year-old, 160-pound Irish wolfhound, thirty-six inches tall, measured from his withers to the ground, his head higher on a muscular neck.
The dog's rough coat was a mix of ash-gray and darker charcoal. In the evergreen shadows, he sometimes seemed to be a shadow, too, but one not tethered to its source.
As the path approached the edge of the woods, the sunshine beyond the trees suddenly looked peculiar. The light turned coppery, as if the world, bewitched, had revolved toward sunset hours ahead of schedule. With a sequined glimmer, afternoon sun shimmered down upon the meadow.
As Merlin passed between two pines, stepping onto open ground, a vague apprehension--a presentiment of pending contact--gripped Grady. He hesitated in the woodland gloom before following the dog.
In the open, the light was neither coppery nor glimmering, as it had appeared from among the trees. The pale-blue arch of sky and emerald arms of forest embraced the meadow.
No breeze stirred the golden grass, and the late-September day was as hushed as any vault deep in the earth.
Merlin stood motionless, head raised, alert, eyes fixed intently on something distant in the meadow. Wolfhounds were thought to have the keenest eyesight of all breeds of dogs.
The back of Grady's neck still prickled. The perception lingered that something uncanny would occur. He wondered if this feeling arose from his own intuition or might be inspired by the dog's tension.
Standing beside the immense hound, seeking what his companion saw, Grady studied the field, which gently descended southward to another vastness of forest. Nothing moved . . . until something did.
A white form, supple and swift. And then another.
The pair of animals appeared to be ascending the meadow less by intention than by the consequence of their play. They chased each other, tumbled, rolled, sprang up, and challenged each other again in a frolicsome spirit that could not be mistaken for fighting.
Where the grass stood tallest, they almost vanished, but often they were fully visible. Because they remained in motion, however, their precise nature was difficult to define.
Their fur was uniformly white. They weighed perhaps fifty or sixty pounds, as large as midsize dogs. But they were not dogs.
They appeared to be as limber and quick as cats. But they were not cats.
Although he'd lived in these mountains until he was seventeen, though he had returned four years previously, at the age of thirty-two, Grady had never before seen creatures like these.
Powerful body tense, Merlin watched the playful pair.
Having raised him from a pup, having spent the past three years with little company other than the dog, Grady knew him well enough to read his emotions and his state of mind. Merlin was intrigued but puzzled, and his puzzlement made him wary.
The unknown animals were large enough to be formidable predators if they had claws and sharp teeth. At this distance, Grady could not determine if they were carnivores, omnivores, or herbivores, though the last classification was the least likely.
Merlin seemed to be unafraid. Because of their great size, strength, and history as hunters, Irish wolfhounds were all but fearless. Although their disposition was peaceable and their nature affectionate, they had been known to stand off packs of wolves and to kill an attacking pit bull with one bite and a violent shake.
When the white-furred creatures were sixty or seventy feet away, they became aware of being watched. They halted, raised their heads.
The birdless sky, the shadowy woods, and the meadow remained under a spell of eerie silence. Grady had the peculiar notion that if he moved, his boots would press no sound from the ground under him, and that if he shouted, he would have no voice.
To get a better view of man and dog, one of the white creatures rose, sitting on its haunches in the manner of a squirrel.
Grady wished he had brought binoculars. As far as he could tell, the animal had no projecting muzzle; its black nose lay in nearly the same plane as its eyes. Distance foiled further analysis.
Abruptly the day exhaled. A breeze sighed in the trees behind Grady.
In the meadow, the risen creature dropped back onto all fours, and the pair raced away, seeming to glide more than sprint. Their sleek white forms soon vanished into the golden grass.
The dog looked up inquiringly. Grady said, "Let's have a look."
Where the mysterious animals had gamboled, the grass was bent and tramped. No bare earth meant no paw prints.
Merlin led his master along the trail until the meadow ended where the woods resumed.
A cloud shadow passed over them and seemed to be drawn into the forest as a draft draws smoke.
Gazing through the serried trees into the gloom, Grady felt watched. If the white-furred pair could climb, they might be in a high green bower, cloaked in pine boughs and not easily spotted.
Although he was a hunter by breed and blood, with a Sher?lockian sense of smell that could follow the thinnest thread of unraveled scent, Merlin showed no interest in further pursuit.
They followed the tree line west, then northwest, along the curve of meadow, circling toward home as the quickening air whispered through the grass. They returned to the north woods.
Around them, the soft chorus of nature arose once more: birds in song, the drone of insects, the arthritic creak of heavy evergreen boughs troubled by their own weight.
Although the unnatural hush had relented, Grady remained disturbed by a sense of the uncanny. Every time he glanced back, no stalker was apparent, yet he felt that he and Merlin were not alone.
On a long rise, they came to a stream that slithered down well-worn shelves of rock. Where the trees parted, the sun revealed silver scales on the water, which was elsewhere dark and smooth.
With other sounds masked by the hiss and gurgle of the stream, Grady wanted more than ever to look back. He resisted the paranoid urge until his companion halted, turned, and stared downhill.
He did not have to crouch in order to rest one hand on the wolfhound's back. Merlin's body was tight with tension.
The big dog scanned the woods. His high-set ears tipped forward slightly. His nostrils flared and quivered.
Merlin held that posture for so long, Grady began to think the dog was not so much searching for anything as he was warning away a pursuer. Yet he did not growl.
When at last the wolfhound set off toward home once more, he moved faster than before, and Grady Adams matched the dog's pace.