Not heart-stopping, unfortunately...
Ryan Perry, successful internet entrepreneur, filthy rich and with the looks and toned body most men envy is not the sort of lead character that would naturally draw out sympathy. Indeed, when he suddenly succumbs to a strange and frighteningly debilitating illness, we feel slightly mollified that life can be, after all, fair in handing out bad luck. When Ryan discovers that he is suffering from a previously unknown heart condition, he reacts in an entirely unanticipated way - spiralling into dark paranoia that even turns its ugly suspicions to his girlfriend, Samantha. If you have all the money in the world - are there any secrets that can be kept locked away from your preying eyes?
A heart transplant is all that will prolong Ryan's life, and Ryan realises that there is nothing he won't do to ensure that he survives. Even with the mysterious and cryptic warnings from Samantha and the quietly reproachful Cathy, Ryan fails to recognise where his obsession with living is taking him - or the consequences of his all consuming desire to survive. Over a million dollars later and Ryan is the owner of a new heart. It only took a month after switching to a different surgeon. Blissfully unaware, or embroiled in self-denial, Ryan is set to continue with his life, but then he receives a disturbing gift on his bed... the first of many. Paranoia switched into overdrive, Ryan suspects everyone but himself and when it as last seems to be too late, he realises that his new heart should never have been his.
Your Heart Belongs To Me is a dark and brooding story about an unsympathetic character who faces his own mortality and realises that his instincts for survival far outweigh any moral obligations. Frustratingly slow and almost self-obsessed, Koonz doesn't really get to the heart of the action until near the end. Whilst some might interpret this as suspenseful, I just found it irksome. I was expecting something drawn out, but not just some crazy man's paranoia's - I wanted action, but all I got was a bit of a scrap at the end. I just didn't feel satisfied with the plot - or rather, the focus on all that dross before the real story began.
Absolutely, Koonz can write and has a certain potency to his descriptive prose, but when you sell something as a psychological thriller - that's what I expect to get. Not some gorgeously composed narrative about a man's apparent descent into brief madness because he needs a heart transplant. I wanted more about the shady underworld of organ transplanting. I wanted more about the scary sister from Shanghai. I wanted more repercussions than a one act shoot-out. Yes, I enjoyed this book, but in the end, my heart just wasn't in it.
We interview C J Daugherty about Night School
- 10 January 2012