The first heart transplant took place in the 1960s. Since then,
many lives have been saved by this delicate and skilled procedure.
It remains dangerous, and patients risk infection and rejection if
they survive the operation itself. When Ryan Perry, just 34 years
old, undergoes the transplant, he is prepared for the worst. But a
year later he is in good health. Then mysterious and creepy gifts
begin to appear, bringing back memories of the year leading up to
the surgery. He knows it is all connected: his break-up with his
girlfriend, the transplant, the gifts left for him by a threatening
entity. But how?
YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME, Dean Koontz’s latest thriller,
is Ryan's story.
Ryan is a self-made success; having made millions in the
high-tech industry, he is confident and content. He has a beautiful
and smart girlfriend, work he finds interesting, a California
mansion, and whole days free to surf and play. Yet all is not
completely well. Samantha won’t marry him and won't really
tell him why. There are things about herself, especially the death
of her twin sister, that she keeps from him, and he wonders why she
doesn't trust him. He begins to have panic attacks, and they
quickly turn into debilitating episodes of physical pain. After he
finds out he has a heart condition, he decides to find the best
doctors money can buy. As he approaches the transplant surgery that
will save his life, Samantha pulls away from him and strange things
begin to happen. Paranoid and scared, Ryan uses his financial
resources to try to find answers. But it is only later, after
Samantha is gone and he has a new heart, that Ryan can really get
the answers he was seeking.
Part supernatural thriller, part medical mystery, part love
story and part moralistic tale, YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME is an
interesting novel about greed, love, anger, loss and redemption.
When Koontz tells readers that “Ryan Perry did not know
something in him was broken” it is soon obvious that it is
not just his heart to which he is referring. Ryan, like many of the
characters in the book, is a deeply wounded individual who must
come to terms not only with the decisions he has made, but also
with things beyond his control. They each may choose art or
violence, perversion or service, but in the end they are all
grappling with nothing less than the meaning of a life well lived
and a death not in vain. Ryan is helped along the way, but a series
of individuals who come into his life to bring him guidance and
move him towards the enlightenment will make him far healthier than
any medical procedure can.
Ryan Perry is not a very likable character. In fact he is a bit
of a spoiled brat, with a domestic staff to cook his meals, drive
him around and even turn down his bed sheets at night. Koontz,
however, wants to prove that there is goodness in even such a
self-centered and shallow man. While the plot veers wildly a few
times, readers --- if willing to look past the undeveloped ghostly
tangent --- will find much to enjoy.
YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME lacks the lightness and humor of the
early Odd Thomas novels, but is a far better book than his
last, THE DARKEST EVENING OF THE YEAR, with plenty of the scary and
spine-tingling moments that has made Koontz a bestselling
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on January 24, 2011