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Dogs and humans have a long history of loving and living with each other. Our four-legged friends are becoming ever more special. In DEVOTED, Kipp, a golden retriever, has been a companion to Dorothy, who unfortunately is on her deathbed. He stays by her side to the bitter end, then mourns her passing. Dorothy always understood how extraordinary Kipp’s mind and abilities were, and she planned ahead for that.

Kipp, though, made a plan, too, and his involves 11-year-old Woody Bookman, a boy suffering from autism. Woody has been mute his entire life, never speaking, except when alone in his backyard, in the dark late at night, softly whispering encouragement to the nearby deer. His mother, Megan, treasures him above all else in her life, even more now than ever. She lost her husband, Jason --- Woody’s father --- to a helicopter crash years ago. Woody means the world to her, and, although he can’t say it, she means the world to him. And Jason’s death has left a huge hole in both of their hearts. All of that love has given them amazing strength.

"This is a page-turner for certain, but sometimes it’s so scary you might want to resist turning that next page.... [Y]ou may need to read some parts of DEVOTED with one eye closed."

Now Kipp is on the way to find the boy. He knows Woody is going to need him --- very soon. Something momentous is happening, and the boy’s future may depend on the dog. An explosion at a Utah research facility seems like a totally unrelated event, except that the lone survivor is obsessed with Megan. That man, Lee Shacket, has set out on a mission to make her his own. He believes that Jason stole Megan from him, and now he intends to right that wrong. Shacket’s journey, though, is no less fraught with obstacles than is Kipp’s, as each makes his way toward the Bookman house in tiny Pine Haven, just as a dawning consciousness begins to awaken in Woody. This peaceful little town has never seen the likes of what is coming their way.

DEVOTED is a classic tale of good vs. evil. Shacket may never have been evil personified exactly, but he likely was not a good person much of his life. And now, at this point, with his judgment possibly affected by outside influences, he may be unable to tell right from wrong. Or could it be that he doesn’t care? Meanwhile, the partnership formed by Kipp and Woody gives them a strength larger than the sum of a boy and a dog, and brings others in, too, to fight off the evil.

Dean Koontz’s love for dogs shines through brilliantly in this wonderful, frightening tale. He infuses Kipp with all of the best qualities of our canine buddies, and then amps it up many levels beyond. And the pairing of an exceptional dog with an autistic child is perfect. Woody makes the ideal receptacle for Kipp’s powerful message of hope. This is a page-turner for certain, but sometimes it’s so scary you might want to resist turning that next page. Koontz has a flawless intuition for knowing precisely how much tension to mount before backing off. Nonetheless, you may need to read some parts of DEVOTED with one eye closed.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on April 3, 2020

by Dean Koontz

  • Publication Date: October 1, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 383 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
  • ISBN-10: 1542019516
  • ISBN-13: 9781542019514