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The Bad Place

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Against their better judgment, Julie and Bobby Dakota, a husband and wife investigating team from Orange County, California, decide to help Frank Pollard unravel what has been happening to him when he sleeps. It seems that he is suffering from a peculiar form of amnesia, since he is unable to remember where he goes when he is asleep. Frank informs Julie and Bobby that he has awakened to find himself in possession of bags of money and a large number of very rare red diamonds. Frank also says that he has found black sand and blood. He is a very frightened man. Out of compassion and curiosity, the Dakota team joins forces with Frank Pollard to solve his mystery.

Dean R. Koontz’s prose is straightforward and precise. He is not a flashy writer. He is a storyteller in the best sense of the term. There are very few passages that are overwritten. Chapters alternate from one character’s story to another until the surprise ending. Along the way, the Dakotas must reckon with a mad killer who sucks the blood of his victims and who appears to have some connection with Frank.

The killer--it turns out--is Frank Pollard’s crazy brother, Candy. He lives in the Santa Barbara area with his equally deranged twin sisters. As Julie and Bobby get deeper into the case, they discover some horrible past murders committed by Candy as he searched for Frank. The Pollard family possesses psychic and teleportation powers; they can destroy anyone who gets in their way. Candy is seeking to revenge the death of their mother, who was killed by Frank himself. There are many horrific twists in THE BAD PLACE. The level of violence increases as the climax comes closer and closer. THE BAD PLACE is as terrifying as any of Koontz’s other journeys into the depths of the thriller genre.