Listening to “Your Heart Belongs To Me” on audio probably made this Koontz book more enjoyable for me. Had I read the actual book on my own, I probably would have given it a lower rating. Audio is definitely much more entertaining when you have a good reader like this one.
It’s the story of Ryan Perry, a handsome dot com millionaire who has everything but he needs a heart transplant. After paying for the best of the best, he gets a donor in just a month. During the procedure and afterwards, strange paranormal things begin to happen to Ryan along with a mysterious woman stalking him who may or may not have all the answers.
Like many Koontz books I’ve read, this one suffers from too many secondary characters, too much subtext, and too many plot lines that don’t really affect the outcome of the story. We have Sam, Ryan’s girlfriend who is a wannabe novelist (Ryan even mentions reading too much into the subtext of her first novel!). There’s her distant mother who is dating a Jack Kevorkian type man – Koontz really builds this guy up and puts a lot of focus on him all for nothing. We have two different doctors (one who that more focus should have been put on) and lots of nurses – one nurse who may or may not be a spirit visiting Ryan and who may be connected to the Kevorkian boyfriend. Oh yeah, we also have undercover security agents and secret foreign government police!
As far as subtext goes, Koontz uses Edgar Allan Poe alliterations a lot to feed into the paranormal stuff Ryan is experiencing. He doesn’t mention its Poe so for a while there I thought Koontz’s plagiarism was just a bit too obvious. But he later brings Poe into it as an explanation but it’s pretty weak overall.
The woman who starts stalking and threatening Ryan turns out to be the best aspect of the plot, but is developed so late in the storyline and the details there just seem rushed by the time its all revealed to the reader. And as Koontz has done before, he writes and writes until he finds himself in a corner and feels like he needs to finish up the book, ultimately dropping everything for an ending that just doesn’t fit, leaving the reader let down overall.
I loved Ryan’s overall struggle, especially near the end. Koontz’s underlying theme of those less fortunate than others being used and abused by those who have money is nicely done. There’s both a spiritual and political statement in there. Pardon the pun, but Koontz gives Ryan heart when he discovers the truth. Peel away all the unnecessary subtext, useless characters, and never ending plot lines that Koontz uses to thicken a book and there really is a good story there.