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What triggers fear?
Koontz novel asks

by Cindy Wendt, Science & Environment editor


How certain are you that your fears are real?

Readers of Dean Koontz’ False Memory may ask themselves this question as they page through this bestselling thriller and follow the life of a woman faced with autophobia, a fear of oneself.

Martie Rhodes, a successful video-game designer, walks her dog on a typical Tuesday morning in January when she is suddenly overcome by fear. She looks in every direction for her pursuer, only to find herself trying to hide from her own shadow.

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Later that same morning, Martie raids her own kitchen, hiding knives and destroying potential weapons for fear of what she could do with them. Then she remembers the gun in her upstairs bedroom.

While Martie is experiencing the most severe panic attack she has ever known, her husband Dusty stands on the ground of a three-story construction site, convincing his brother Skeet not to jump from the roof.

Martie’s friend Susan faces another day of waking up alone. Her home has become her prison since she was struck with agoraphobia, a fear of open spaces.

Psychiatrist Dr. Mark Ahriman seems to hold the key to the solving these mysterious psychological challenges, but there is more to his therapy than his patients know. Then Dusty accidently says two words that open the door to his wife’s mind, and the two find themselves on the run to protect their minds from a man obsessed with power and fame.

As in many of his books, Koontz has two main characters, one male and one female. Dusty is a simple working man lucky to have his beautiful wife, Martie. Martie, the annoyingly perfect female character, is reluctant to show any sign of weakness.

In this exciting but lengthy novel, Koontz exaggerates the effects of mind control to show his readers how vulnerable people can be when they put their trust in a stranger. He demonstrates the power that one individual can receive once he has mastered the minds of others.



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