Booklist Reviews 2014 July #1
Self-described "piano man" Jonah Kirk, 57, recalls his most momentous years, 1965–67, in Koontz's somehow sunny new novel. That time began with his father's second desertion and the discovery of a plays-like-new Steinway at the community center, just in time for Jonah, gifted with an eidetic memory for melody, to learn music in earnest. It ended with nearly being killed—twice—by a cell of psychopaths masquerading as revolutionaries that includes his delinquent father as by far the least dangerous member. All along, a lovely woman who calls him Ducks and accepts his name for her, Pearl, comes to him, just a few times in all, to encourage him and alert him to forthcoming boons, like the Steinway, and perils. Meanwhile, he makes the best friends of his life, including the man who spearheads the fight against the cell, the boy who will become his lifelong musical colleague, and the first girl he ever adores. Bad as well as good things happen, and the thriller plot becomes secondary to warm character development as the book's prime attraction. High-Demand Backstory: The publicity push behind Koontz's new novel will be matched in public-relations success by the name recognition he so widely enjoys. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
PW Reviews 2014 July #3
Bad things happen, but good things happen, too. That seems to be the message of bestseller Koontz's maudlin account of the life of Jonah Kirk, saddled by his parents with no less than seven middle names, each the last name of a famous jazz musician. The novel, which recounts the consequences of Jonah's encounters with a woman "who claimed she was the city," offers airy optimistic passages that won't persuade anyone acquainted with the harder side of life to always look on the bright side of it: "In fact, time teaches us that the musical score of life oscillates between that of Psycho and that of The Sound of Music, with by far the greatest number of our days lived to the strains of an innocuous and modestly budgeted picture." Jonah's relationships with his gifted, loving mother and with his absent, hustler father are clichés, and the concept that a city, which after all is made "great or not" by its people, takes the form of an attractive woman is too underdeveloped to have any charm. (July)[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC