Excerpt from One Door Away From Heaven by Dean Koontz, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

One Door Away From Heaven

by Dean Koontz

One Door Away From Heaven by Dean Koontz X
One Door Away From Heaven by Dean Koontz
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Dec 2001, 624 pages

    Paperback:
    Oct 2002, 704 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter 1

THE WORLD IS FULL of broken people. Splints, casts, miracle drugs, and time can't mend fractured hearts, wounded minds, torn spirits.

Currently, sunshine was Micky Bellsong's medication of choice, and southern California in late August was an apothecary with a deep supply of this prescription.

Tuesday afternoon, wearing a bikini and oiled for broiling, Micky reclined in a lounge chair in her aunt Geneva's backyard. The nylon webbing was a nausea-inducing shade of green, and it sagged, too, and the aluminum joints creaked as though the lawn furniture were far older than Micky, who was only twenty-eight, but who sometimes felt ancient.

Her aunt, from whom fate had stolen everything except a reliable sense of humor, referred to the yard as "the garden." That would be the rosebush.

The property was wider than it was deep, to allow the full length of the house trailer to face the street. Instead of a lawn with trees, a narrow covered patio shaded the front entrance. Here in back, a strip of grass extended from one side of the lot to the other, but it provided a scant twelve feet of turf between the door and the rear fence. The grass flourished because Geneva watered it regularly with a hose.

The rosebush, however, responded perversely to tender care. In spite of ample sunshine, water, and plant food, in spite of the regular aeration of its roots and periodic treatment with measured doses of insecticide, the bush remained as scraggly and as blighted as any specimen watered with venom and fed pure sulfur in the satanic gardens of Hell.

Face to the sun, eyes closed, striving to empty her mind of all thought, yet troubled by insistent memories, Micky had been cooking for half an hour when a small sweet voice asked, "Are you suicidal?"

She turned her head toward the speaker and saw a girl of nine or ten standing at the low, sagging picket fence that separated this trailer space from the one to the west. Sun glare veiled the kid's features.

"Skin cancer kills," the girl explained.

"So does vitamin D deficiency."

"Not likely."

"Your bones get soft."

"Rickets. I know. But you can get vitamin D in tuna, eggs, and dairy products. That's better than too much sun."

Closing her eyes again, turning her face to the deadly blazing heavens, Micky said, "Well, I don't intend to live forever."

"Why not?"

"Maybe you haven't noticed, but nobody does."

"I probably will," the girl declared.

"How's that work?"

"A little extraterrestrial DNA."

"Yeah, right. You're part alien."

"Not yet. I have to make contact first."

Micky opened her eyes again and squinted at the ET wannabe. "You've been watching too many reruns of The X Files, kid."

"I've only got until my next birthday, and then all bets are off." The girl moved along the swooning fence to a point where it had entirely collapsed. She clattered across the flattened section of pickets and approached Micky. "Do you believe in life after death?"

"I'm not sure I believe in life before death," Micky said.

"I knew you were suicidal."

"I'm not suicidal. I'm just a wiseass."

Even after stepping off the splintered fence staves onto the grass, the girl moved awkwardly. "We're renting next door. We just moved in. My name's Leilani."

As Leilani drew closer, Micky saw that she wore a complicated steel brace on her left leg, from the ankle to above the knee.

"Isn't that a Hawaiian name?" Micky asked.

"My mother's a little nuts about all things Hawaiian."

Leilani wore khaki shorts. Her right leg was fine, but in the cradle of steel and padding, her left leg appeared to be malformed.

Excerpted from One Door Away from Heaven by Dean Koontz Copyright 2001 by Dean Koontz. Excerpted by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start discovering exceptional books!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Where Coyotes Howl
    Where Coyotes Howl
    by Sandra Dallas
    Where Coyotes Howl may appear to be a classically conventional historical novel — a wide-eyed ...
  • Book Jacket: After the Miracle
    After the Miracle
    by Max Wallace
    Many people have heard one particular story about Helen Keller—how the saintly teacher, Annie ...
  • Book Jacket: The Lost Wife
    The Lost Wife
    by Susanna Moore
    The Lost Wife is a hard-hitting novella based in part on a white settler named Sarah Wakefield's ...
  • Book Jacket
    Firekeeper's Daughter
    by Angeline Boulley
    Voted 2021 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Angeline Boulley's young adult ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The First Conspiracy
by Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch
A remarkable and previously untold piece of American history—the secret plot to kill George Washington

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Pieces of Blue
    by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    A hilarious and heartfelt novel for fans of Maria Semple and Emma Straub.

Win This Book
Win Girlfriend on Mars

30 Copies to Give Away!

A funny and poignant debut novel that skewers billionaire-funded space travel in a love story of interplanetary proportions.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

S I F A R Day

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.