Dean R. Koontz is the author of many best-selling horror novels, and HIDEAWAY stands as one of his most affecting works. The characters may not be much more than one-dimensional creations, but Koontz has a way of hooking his readership with edge-of-your-seat terror that—for the most part—makes up for the lack of strong character development. In HIDEAWAY, Hatch Harrison and his wife Lindsey are involved in an automobile accident as they make their way down from the San Bernardino Mountains. After striking a beer truck that was stuck in the road, the Harrison’s Honda plunges into a ravine. The car finally stops in a river, where Hatch apparently drowns before a rescue team can get to him. He is transported by helicopter to Orange County General Hospital, where a special resuscitation project team, headed by Dr. Jonas Nyebern, has had good luck in bringing patients back to life.
Harrison is successfully resuscitated, and he and Lindsey become determined to appreciate each new day that they have been given. They even decide that they will adopt a child. Their relationship had been struggling ever since they lost their five-year-old son a few years ago, but now they feel that the bond between them is stronger than it has ever been. Just when they think that this second chance at rekindling their relationship is the answer to their prayers, Hatch begins having frightening visions. He cannot explain why he feels connected to the murders that flash inside his head. He wonders if he is possibly going crazy, but—in reality—people who have done him harm, such as the driver of the beer truck, are being killed. There seems to be an evil force that is taking pleasure in killing, and Hatch concludes that he is the only person who can stop it. In true Koontz fashion, there is a climactic struggle in which Hatch must destroy the evil psycho-killer before he can harm the child the Harrisons have adopted. Koontz makes use of religious symbols. The killer calls himself Vassago, supposedly one of the crown princes from Hell, and Hatch senses that he is being controlled by the archangel Uriel. HIDEAWAY may be humorless and somewhat plodding, but Koontz’s loyal fans will not be disappointed with the novel.