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Summary and book reviews of One Door Away From Heaven by Dean Koontz

One Door Away From Heaven

by Dean Koontz

One Door Away From Heaven
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  • First Published:
    Dec 2001, 624 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2002, 704 pages

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Book Summary

An incandescent mix of suspense and humor, fear and wonder, a story of redemption and timeless wisdom that will have readers cheering.

Hailed as "America's most popular suspense novelist" (Rolling Stone) Dean Koontz has entered a rich new phase of his writing career that is yielding his most imaginative, meaningful, and popular work yet.

At the height of his powers as a literary craftsman, he has won the acclaim of critics as well as the allegiance of millions of fans the world over, transforming the greatest fears and hopes of our time into masterworks of dazzling originality and emotional resonance.

Now, with the stunning depth and virtuosity of his storytelling, he brings to readers one of his most gripping and richly imagined novels to date — an intoxicating story of adventure and suspense, mystery and revelation, told with humor, heart, and high art.

One Door Away From Heaven

In a dusty trailer park on the far edge of the California dream, Michelina Bellsong contemplates the choices she has made. At twenty-eight, she wants to change the direction of her troubled life but can't find her way — until a new family settles into the rental trailer next door and she meets the young girl who will lead her on a remarkable quest that will change Micky herself and everything she knows — or thinks she knows — forever.

Despite the brace she must wear on her deformed left leg, and her withered left hand, nine-year-old Leilani Klonk radiates a buoyant and indomitable spirit that inspires Micky. Beneath Leilani's effervescence, however, Micky comes to sense a quiet desperation that the girl dares not express.

Leilani's mother is little more than a child herself. And the girl's stepfather, Preston Maddoc, is educated but threatening. He has moved the family from place to place as he fanatically investigates UFO sightings, striving to make contact, claiming to have had a vision that by Leilani's tenth birthday aliens will either heal her or take her away to a better life on their world.

Slowly, ever more troubling details emerge in Leilani's conversations with Micky. Most chilling is Micky's discovery that Leilani had an older brother, also disabled, who vanished after Maddoc took him into the woods one night and is now "gone to the stars."

Leilani's tenth birthday is approaching. Micky is convinced the girl will be dead by that day. While the child-protection bureaucracy gives Micky the runaround, the Maddoc family slips away into the night. Micky sets out across America to track and find them, alone and afraid but for the first time living for something bigger than herself.

She finds herself pitted against an adversary, Preston Maddoc, as fearsome as he is cunning. The passion and disregard for danger with which Micky pursues her quest bring to her side a burned-out detective who joins her on a journey of incredible peril and startling discoveries, a journey through terrible darkness to unexpected light.

One Door Away From Heaven is an incandescent mix of suspense and humor, fear and wonder, a story of redemption and timeless wisdom that will have readers cheering. Filled with tragedy and joy, with terror and hope, it solidifies Dean Koontz's reputation as one of the foremost storytellers of our time. This is Dean Koontz at his very best — and it doesn't get any better than that.

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...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

Koontz tilts against a heartless idealism that sees humanity as just meat and allows euthanasia of infants with health problems, suffering old people, and those much better off with a little help getting dead and leaving life to the bioethicists.

Publishers Weekly

Koontz's latest is powered by an impassioned stand against utilitarian bioethics, and it's chock-a-block with trademark characters vulnerable kids, nurturing parental substitutes, a dog of above-average intelligence and a villain of insuperable nastiness sure to provoke a pleasurable conditioned response from his readers.

The Times (London)

Dean Koontz is not just a master of our darkest dreams, but also a literary juggler.

Reader Reviews
Laurel H

a thought-provoking read
This is one of Mr Koontz's 2 best ever books. It is suspenseful and spiritually uplifting. The characters are unforgettable. I would especially recommend it to anyone who has had a hard life, and anyone who loves dogs.

Preeka

I am an indian woman that believes that this book inspires people....
I love how Koontz used the girl Leilani to make my heart warm as the
sun in my country..... Please consider reading this book if your depressed

evercince

being hypnotized and mesmerized,is always a pleasure when koontz is doing the writing talking about a real trip this is the one you wont want to miss.so climb aboard and be ready for the adventure......Ernie

Michael

A great book. I picked it up for a long flight home and did not know what to expect. I had never read any of Mr. Koontz's books. I went into it not knowing what to expect and was pleasantly and frequently suprised with the twists and turns. It's ...   Read More

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