On the heels of his critically acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Fear Nothing and Seize the Night, "America's most popular suspense novelist"* will stun readers with a deeply sinister and endlessly surprising tale of a rare and terrifying phobia: autophobia - fear of oneself.
Martie Rhodes is a young wife (happily married to Dustin for three years), a video game designer, and a compassionate woman who takes her agoraphobic friend Carol to therapy sessions. Carol is so afraid of leaving her apartment that the trips are grim ordeals for both women - but bonding experiences as well.
Then one morning Martie experiences a sudden fear of her own, a brief but disquieting terror of...her shadow. The episode it over quickly. It leaves her shaken but amused. Then, as she is about to check her makeup, she realizes she is terrified to look in the mirror and confront her own face.
As the episodes of this traumatic condition - autophobia - build, the lives of Martie and her husband change drastically. Frantic to discover the trigger for her descent into hell, Dustin begins to look into the background of a respected therapist. As he comes closer to the truth about this strange and troubled "healer," Dustin finds himself afflicted with a condition even more bizarre and terrifying than Martie's.
No fan of psychological suspense will want to miss this extraordinary novel of the human mind's capacity to torment - and destroy. Dean Koontz once more reveals why he has, as People put it, the "power to scare the daylights out of us."
Koontz's latest offering centers around evil and powerful psychiatrist Dr. Mark Ahriman, who has developed an effective procedure for "brainwashing" his clients that he uses for fun and profit. Husband and wife Dusty and Martie Rhodes, themselves among the victims of the drug-and- hypnosis-based method, become aware slowly, through a series of accidents, of the doctor's malevolent influence. They struggle, sometimes against themselves, to discredit and defeat him. Koontz's legion of fans will recognize again his skill at making the improbable seem possible, and even likely. Actor Stephen Lang reads with skill, especially the chilling inner and outer voice of the psychopathic doctor. Recommended for purchase as demand warrants.�Kristen L. Smith, Loras Coll. Lib., Dubuque, IA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Showing 1-5 of the 5 most recent reviews
1 . Favorite Book EVER
Posted August 06, 2010 by Sarah , MissouriI totally recommend this book. I am 13 and my boyfriend gave me this book and i loved it. Dean Koontz in the best author EVER!!!!!! Please buy this awesome book
2 . Not the best Koontz book
Posted February 28, 2010 by Tina , DenverI was disappointed with this book. I'm a fan of Koontz books, (Watchers is still my favorite) but this one I wouldn't recommend. I was expecting to read about a women afraid of her shadow...perhaps some deep-seated psychological problem, but instead it was about a twisted doctor...highly unbelievable!! I know it's fiction....but come on.....
3 . good book many twists and turns
Posted February 09, 2010 by mandy , wilmingtonthis was a pretty good read absolutly worth the current price!! there are alot of twists and turns and it drags you in from page one..
4 . Suspense!
Posted January 23, 2010 by Autumn , Johnson CityI loved this book from the begnining to the end it was full of suprises and twists! This was my first Dean Koontz book and I will be buying more :)
5 . Fantastic
Posted January 22, 2010 by Karen , Huntsville. TxThis was an amazing awesome, can't put down read! I highly recommend.
November 27, 2000
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Excerpt from False Memory by Dean Koontz
On that Tuesday in January, when her life changed forever, Martine Rhodes woke with a headache, developed a sour stomach after washing down two aspirin with grapefruit juice, guaranteed herself an epic bad-hair day by mistakenly using Dustin's shampoo instead of her own, broke a fingernail, burnt her toast, discovered ants swarming through the cabinet under the kitchen sink, eradicated the pests by firing a spray can of insecticide as ferociously as Sigourney Weaver wielded a flamethrower in one of those old extraterrestrial-bug movies, cleaned up the resultant carnage with paper towels, hummed Bach's Requiem as she solemnly consigned the tiny bodies to the trash can, and took a telephone call from her mother, Sabrina, who still prayed for the collapse of Martie's marriage three years after the wedding. Throughout, she remained upbeat--even enthusiastic--about the day ahead, because from her late father, Robert "Smilin' Bob" Woodhouse, she had inherited an optimistic nature, formidable coping skills, and a deep love of life in addition to blue eyes, ink-black hair, and ugly toes.
After convincing her ever hopeful mother that the Rhodes marriage remained happy, Martie slipped into a leather jacket and took her golden retriever, Valet, on his morning walk. Step by step, her headache faded.
Along the whetstone of clear eastern sky, the sun sharpened scalpels of light. Out of the west, however, a cool onshore breeze pushed malignant masses of dark clouds.
The dog regarded the heavens with concern, sniffed the air warily, and pricked his pendant ears at the hiss-clatter of palm fronds stirred by the wind. Clearly, Valet knew a storm was coming.
He was a gentle, playful dog. Loud noises frightened him, however, as though he had been a soldier in a former life and was haunted by memories of battlefields blasted by cannon fire.
Fortunately for him, rotten weather in southern California was seldom accompanied by thunder. Usually, rain fell unannounced, hissing on the streets, whispering through the foliage, and these were sounds that even Valet found soothing.
Most mornings, Martie walked the dog for an hour, along the narrow tree-lined streets of Corona Del Mar, but she had a special obligation every Tuesday and Thursday that limited their excursion to fifteen minutes on those days. Valet seemed to have a calendar in his furry head, because on their Tuesday and Thursday expeditions, he never dawdled, finishing his toilet close to home.
This morning, only one block from their house, on the grassy sward between the sidewalk and the curb, the pooch looked around shyly, discreetly lifted his right leg, and as usual made water as though embarrassed by the lack of privacy.
Less than a block farther, he was preparing to conclude the second half of his morning business when a passing garbage truck backfired, startling him. He huddled behind a queen palm, peering cautiously around one side of the tree bole and then around the other, convinced that the terrifying vehicle would reappear.
"No problem," Martie assured him. "The big bad truck is gone. Everything's fine. This is now a safe-to-poop zone."
Valet was unconvinced. He remained wary.
Martie was blessed with Smilin' Bob's patience, too, especially when dealing with Valet, whom she loved almost as much as she might have loved a child if she'd had one. He was sweet-tempered and beautiful: light gold, with gold-and-white feathering on his legs, soft snow-white flags on his butt, and a lush tail.
Of course, when the dog was in a doing-business squat, like now, Martie never looked at him, because he was as self-conscious as a nun in a topless bar. While waiting, she softly sang Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle," which always relaxed him.
As she began the second verse, a sudden chill climbed the ladder of her spine, causing her to fall silent. She was not a woman given to premonitions, but as the icy quiver ascended to the back of her neck, she was overcome by a sense of impending danger.
Turning, she half expected to see an approaching assailant or a hurtling car. Instead, she was alone on this quiet residential street.
Nothing rushed toward her with lethal purpose. The only moving things were those harried by the wind. Trees and shrubs shivered. A few crisp brown leaves skittered along the pavement. Garlands of tinsel and Christmas lights, from the recent holiday, rustled and rattled under the eaves of a nearby house.
Still uneasy, but feeling foolish, Martie let out the breath that she'd been holding. When the exhalation whistled between her teeth, she realized that her jaws were clenched.
She was probably still spooked from the dream that awakened her after midnight, the same one she'd had on a few other recent nights. The man made of dead, rotting leaves, a nightmare figure. Whirling, raging.