The Good Guy
Timothy Carrier is a quiet, unassuming man who goes about his
business everyday as a bricklayer --- "an exceptional bricklayer,"
he would say --- and then likes to unwind at the Lamplighter
Tavern. It is a refuge of sorts where he can have a beer or two
after work and chat with the bartender/owner, his friend Liam
This night, however, is like no other. As he relaxes, enjoying
himself and preparing for another long, lonely night, a fidgety and
out-of-place man takes up residence on the stool beside him. Tim
dreads small talk but finds the prospect of this individual and his
skydiving dog intriguing enough. At least until the stranger slides
the envelope across the bar to him and bolts out the door.
Within the confines of that envelope lay half the money for a hit
and a photo of the target --- a beautiful young woman. As he sits
trying to comprehend what has just happened, the second case of
mistaken identity unfolds when a gruff and cold-looking guy sits
beside him, and Tim quickly learns that this is the intended hit
Thinking quickly, Tim gives back the money but keeps the picture.
He tells the hit man that he has changed his mind and no longer
wants the girl dead. However, this is not enough for the
professional, who vows not to be swayed from the job. Tim is
troubled even further when he discovers that the killer is actually
A race against time ensues, with Tim trying to stay one step ahead
of a man who will stop at nothing to complete his mission ---
killing Linda Paquette.
Tim is an endearing figure, just a normal guy in an exceptional
circumstance trying to do the right thing, even though it puts his
own life in jeopardy. Linda is an intriguing woman, a writer with
an affinity for old Hollywood and vintage cars. Their relationship
is superbly crafted, and their banter back and forth is cool and
collected. It is made all the more compelling as we slowly learn
more about both of them throughout the novel.
The relentless executioner, Krait, is no less interesting. He is
patient, smart, finely dressed and detail-oriented. At one point
his time spent in a family home as he awaits a new vehicle is
borderline hysterical. He approves of the cleanliness of the house
as well as their choice of products, discarding the ones he does
not like. Still, he is of singular purpose and savage mind.
A handful of side characters pepper the plotline and work as great
mini-propellers, keeping the action constant. Koontz displays an
excellent ability to maintain the pace, and readers almost will
feel that they themselves are being chased by the killer.
Once again Koontz strays from the supernatural in THE GOOD GUY,
much like in THE HUSBAND, and instead focuses on the more horrific
and suspenseful possibilities to be found in everyday life. The end
result is a very intense experience, one that he throttles through
at breakneck speed.
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on January 22, 2011