Book Review: Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Dean Koontz book, and even though I’m usually feeling the romance genre, I decided to give this one a try.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
After a woman’s cancer mysteriously disappears, she starts dealing with strange things happening around her, all connected to the fact that she has to save someone called Ashley Bell. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Down the Rabbit Hole
The story flips between the present and the past. In the present, Bibi deals with a series of strange events: dealing with cancer that seems to magically go away overnight, a weird medium who uses Scrabble tiles to divine what Bibi’s purpose is, and a chain of seemingly random events involving people who Bibi either knew or was told about, including the person she’s supposed to save and someone who randomly calls to threaten her life. The flashbacks to the past show Bibi as a child and events surrounding a dog she owned and a captain who lived in her parents’ garage apartment who showed her a way she could repress memories she didn’t want to keep.


Memories Forgotten
The mystery is the main part of the story, but there’s also a supernatural vibe. I enjoyed trying to tie everything together and I especially enjoyed the idea of repressed memories, as that is one of my favorite psychological subjects. These repressed memories play a key part in unlocking what’s really going on in Bibi’s world and why things seem to be going insane around her. As the mystery unfolds, things get more bizarre, and guessing the mystery was half the fun.

Quirky Characters
Bibi and her parents are quirky characters. Her parents are surfers who’ve raised Bibi liberally, allowing her to make her own decisions. Bibi doesn’t seem to have turned out poorly for it, but she’s definitely different. There were times I thought she was a little too quirky and unrealistic, but there were also times where the story and the characters seemed aware of this. There was also a lot of surfer lingo, which I thought gave the story its own interesting personality.


The Romance Factor
Other than the few times Bibi talked about her love for her fiance, Pax, and Pax’s concern for Bibi, there wasn’t much romance. Then again, this wasn’t really a romance book, so that was to be expected. 1/5

The Steam Factor
Nothing to see here. Besides a few references, there are no sexy times. 0/5

Final Thoughts
While definitely a departure from my normal reading style, once I found my rhythm with this book, I enjoyed the narrative and watching the mystery unravel through past and present scenes. There were parts that were a little eerie and the whole thing was weird enough for me to find it enjoyable. If you’re a Koontz fan or like a good scary mystery, then this one is for you.

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