(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The author of numerous suspense and horror novels, Dean Koontz has once again written a jolting work of fiction that is sure to rise to the top of the bestseller list. Some of his other bestsellers include PHANTOMS (1983), WATCHERS (1987), MR. MURDER (1993), and DARK RIVERS OF THE HEART (1994). With INTENSITY, Koontz introduces the reader to Chyna Shepherd. A young woman of twenty-six, Shepherd has survived a troubled childhood and the emotional scars of her childhood have remained with her into adulthood. Not one to make friends easily, Shepherd has only one true friend, Laura. While visiting Laura and her family at their home on a farm in the Napa Valley of California, a brutal killer invades the home and murders everyone except Shepherd.

The killer, Edgler Foreman Vess, is a psychopath who relishes the thrill of murdering unsuspecting victims. He also enjoys making up words from letters in his name, such as “god,” “fear,” “rage,” and “anger.” While functioning with some normalcy in his everyday life, Vess is a thoroughly repulsive character who thrives on inflicting his wrath on others. While having survived the bloodletting at her friend’s family home, Shepherd realizes that Vess must be stopped from killing again. By chance, she learns who Vess’s next innocent victim is to be. With previously untapped courage, Shepherd matches wits with the homicidal maniac. Koontz proves once again that he is an expert at creating terrifying situations. While the action of the novel takes place over a twenty-four hour period, the reader is taken on a nonstop roller-coaster ride of vintage suspense. Koontz may have a tendency to overwrite, but INTENSITY stands as one of his most powerful suspense novels.