What would you do if you were mistaken for a hit man and handed an envelope with the details of the person to be eliminated? Do you ignore it? Or do you get involved? That’s the huge dilemma facing Tim Carrier, essentially a good guy, hence the title of this thriller by Dean Koontz.
These lines had me hooked early:
‘I need to kill her, you know.’
‘You could just walk away.’
‘I’ve got an image to protect.’
‘Then kill me instead.’
‘All right. That works for me.’
The swift pace and ultra-serious subject matter are cleverly interlaced with a dry humour that keeps a realistic and compelling perspective to what is otherwise a typical chase story. By typical, I mean it follows a theme often seen in the thriller: where nowhere is safe; when nobody can be trusted; and when ingenuity and honourable intentions are not enough to stay ahead of a ruthless killer with his own agenda. In a very clever way the reader is carried along with the two central characters, both now on the run and in constant danger, who are not only likable but invest the reader in their ultimate welfare.
The bad guy in the book appears as an above average man of perhaps discerning tastes and admirable intelligence – at least at first glance – yet is unashamedly evil and hell bent on achieving his task. He is in total opposition to the good guy – in fact, in a fascinating concept they almost resemble each other with unrelenting determination and an uncanny ability for resourcefulness, but for very different reasons.
What I found particularly interesting is how the two central characters and the evil assassin maintain their on-road costs; how they deal with moving about and hiding on a shoestring budget, or no budget at all, in order to keep flying under the radar of detection. An assassin with the right contacts and a mission he is unnaturally determined to accomplish add to the mystery of what drives him, and why one seemingly ordinary woman has been targeted for elimination.
Dean Koontz is really the master of a good chase story. The Good Guy could be a read-it-in-one-go book – but at the very least is close to impossible to put down.