I’ve reviewed a couple of Koontz’s books on here over the last couple of years, and I had some issues with them. They had great story lines, but the writing wasn’t what I was used to from one of my favorite authors. I chalk it up to changes somewhere in his pipeline of editors etc. Well, let me say, he’s baaaaack…
It’s going to be very hard for me to talk about this one because I don’t want to ruin it for you. This book has an incredible twist that caught me off guard, and that doesn’t happen often.
The heroine of our story is a woman in her early twenties named Bibi Blair. Bibi was brought up by surfer/successful business people parents in California. Bibi is very intelligent and has been all her life. As an adult, she is a successful, but still up and coming author. She’s engaged to a Navy Seal named Paxton, who is on a super secret mission in the Middle East, and he’s out of reach for much of the novel. One day, pretty much out of the blue, Bibi begins to have odd physical symptoms. She calls her mother who gets her to the hospital where it is discovered that the intrepid Bibi has brain cancer. Serious, incurable, brain cancer. What follows is Koontz at his best.
The Valient (capital V on purpose) Bibi’s story is filled with suspense, mystery, the ever present in Koontz’s work, golden retriever or two, some murder, a few interesting characters, a quest to save Ashley Bell, and most important, some supernatural events. I really can’t go into too much more detail because I absolutely do not want to spoil it for you.
If you are in need of a well written, interesting supernatural thriller to keep you company while it’s cold outside, you might want to give /Ashley Bell/ a chance. Much like one of his other beloved characters, Odd Thomas, I think we’ll be hearing from Bibi Blair again. I was driving in my car this morning thinking about this book, and I realized that it reminded me in certain ways of a very famous work of fiction that has been made into a technicolor extravaganza, and since the wildly successful film, has woven bits of itself into much of our culture. Sadly, I can’t tell you WHICH technicolor extravaganza I refer to because it might spoil the surprise. It breaks my heart and hurts my brain to not tell, but I have to be brave.
I am, and always have been a fan of wellness and alternative therapies. I like to try to stay well, because maintenance is better than repair. I have a hard time relaxing my body, so I’m always looking for ways to de-stress, because everyone knows stress will kill you, and that thought creates stress, so… you see my problem.
I’ve always wanted to try a sensory deprivation tank, because I can’t imagine anything better that floating in warm water in pitch dark silence. The other day I stumbled across a brand new local place to float. The first in Cincinnati, so I went online and made an appointment. You can find their website here:
When I arrived at the loft, I was escorted into the Yin Float Room. It’s a fairly small room with dim lighting (you can brighten it if you want) an awesome shower in the corner, and what can only be likened to a space craft sitting in the middle of the room. You are given a quick, because it’s easy, low down, and left to your own devices. You take a shower first, no conditioner please, it wrecks the water, put in your earplugs and climb into your pod.
There is about a foot of skin temperature water filled with enough Epsom salts to make you float (think Dead Sea) a blue light, an emergency button, a neck pillow and and an underwater speaker in the pod. You have full control of the lid, I recommend keeping it closed so you stay warm, and the light.
So anyway, I got in and the minute I sat down, my legs shot up. You have to make a concerted effort to keep them down because of the bouyancy of the salt. I laid back, enjoyed the light for a couple of minutes and turned it off. It was completely dark, and the music that is playing when you first get in goes off after a couple of minutes so it’s silent. I booked a 90 minute float because I kind of have runaway ADD, and I knew it would take at least thirty minutes for me to zone out, and I was right. I moved around some, enjoying the sensation of ” mermaid hair” and the feeling of not sinking. I left my arms out to my sides, clasped them across my stomach, put them over my head, you know, getting the feel of things. I put my feet against the bottom and stretched my arms over my head as far as they’d go, and my fingernails, which are longish, barely touched the top of the pod. I’m 5’8″ so I figure it’s at least six and a half feet long. At least. It must be four or five feet wide, and I could sit on the bottom and still have a couple of feet of head space. I’m pretty claustrophobic, and I had zero issues with being inside it.
After another twenty minutes or so of song lyrics, book lists, conversations, to-do things, and general mental buzz, I started to come down. As I began to relax, I decided to give my float an intention, like I do at yoga sometimes. I asked that my creativity be stimulated, and that I would appreciate any insights God had for me. As the relaxation deepened, my body sank into what I guess is good float form. The sitting apparatus sinks down, but still floats. The backs of my heels sank down, and my knees bent slightly as if I had a pillow underneath them. My neck sank below the water, but my face stayed above it. I saw a couple of strange things in my mind’s eye, I’ll share them, because it was weird and I don’t understand. First, I saw a face that I can only describe as Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, carved out of wood. It’s was super weird. He looked like a carving on a piece of furniture from the Black Forest in Germany. That faded away, and I saw a profile of a male lion. It looked like a cross between a line drawing and a wood carving. That morphed into the profile of a wolf (which I believe is one of my spirit animals) then nothing more.
I guess I was asleep. At some point, I half way woke up, and the only way I can describe how it felt is this… I felt like I was in the highest quality, softest, memory foam mattress ever, made for a fairy princess. Every part of my body was supported and I was sunk down in something. I moved a little bit and was surprised to find myself in water. I sighed and was gone away again.
The music comes back on five minutes before the end of your session. If you don’t hear it, the filter comes on and the jet from that will wake you up. I came back about two minutes before the filter came on. I turned on the light and started moving around so I could get up. Got out, took my shower, and was done. I felt like I’d been asleep all night. The guy at the front desk told me that one hour of floating equals four hours of sleeping. I believe it. I bought a three float package. I’m going back next week. I’m excited to see what will happen as I get good at letting go. If you have a chance, do it.