“ The Face ” is a world of ultra-ingenuity and unprecedented tenacity created by living legend of thriller Dean Koontz ! This is a rare novel of its genre whose sweeping power is a combination of mystery, tense anticipation, chilling revelations and a pinch of humor. Channing Mannheim is Hollywood's brightest star, admired by millions. But this does not prevent a few days before Christmas, the actor received a terrifying gift - a black box with disturbing contents and an impenetrable message! Ethan Truman, ex-Homicide detective and current head of the Face's security, takes on the case, meanwhile sinister cases multiply and the line between life and death becomes ever thinner.
Born in 1945 in Pennsylvania, USA, Dean Koontz is a universally acknowledged master of suspense and "pulsating adrenaline" in world literature. He is the author of a series of impeccable psychological thrillers, translated into 38 languages, circulated in over half a billion copies. Eleven of his novels have been number one on the most prestigious US bestseller list, the New York Times. Koontz has whole legions of devoted fans all over the planet, and critics do not fail to note that his plots are full of mystery and ingenuity and lay bare the most intimate human passions and fears.
The apple was cut in half and then the halves were sewn together with coarse black thread.
Ten bold stitches were evenly spaced. Every knot was tied with surgical precision.
The variety of the apple, red superior, might have mattered. Considering that messages were delivered in the form of objects and images, but never through words, any detail could clarify their meaning, as definitions and punctuation clarify the meaning of written speech.
However, it was more likely that this apple was chosen because it was not ripe. If its insides were softer, it would crumble even with careful needlework and knotting.
The apple was waiting for a closer look on the desk in Ethan Truman's office. The black box it had been packed in when it arrived was also there, with pieces of shredded black tissue paper sticking out of it. She had already revealed all of her contents that could serve to solve the mystery, one big nothing.
Here, in the west wing of the stately home, Ethan kept a ground-floor apartment that consisted of a study, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. Its tall floor-to-ceiling windows provided a clear view of a landscape in which there was nothing real.
The previous occupant of the home would call the study a living room and furnish it accordingly. The opulent life that was kept to a minimum at Ethan didn't deserve to take up an entire room.
Before opening the black box, he had photographed it with a digital camera. He had also taken pictures of the red superior from three angles.
He assumed that the apple had been cut in half to insert some object into its core. He would never want to cut open the seams and see what it was.
His years on the job as a homicide detective had hardened him in some ways. But at the same time, the constant encounter with ultimate violence had sharpened his vulnerability in other ways.
He was only thirty-seven years old, but his police career was over. However, his instincts had not lost their sharpness and his gloomy expectations had not diminished.
The wind kept blowing on the windows and knocking with the drifted raindrops.
As light as it was, the storm gave him the excuse he needed to leave the apple waiting and approach the nearest window.
The frames, casements, cornices and obstructions between the panes – all parts of every window in the grand building were made of bronze. Under the pressure of atmospheric influences, the outer surfaces had become covered with a pleasant patina of sprayed green. Due to diligent maintenance on the inside, the bronze there remained a dark brownish-red.
The window panes were beveled at each edge.
This was true even of the humblest utility rooms, such as the dishwashing and laundry areas on the ground floor.
Though it was built for a movie mogul in the closing years of the Great Depression, the house showed no signs of economy of construction from the entry foyer to the farthest corner of the most secluded hallway.
When the price of steel plummets, when moths eat clothes in stores, when cars rust in showrooms for lack of buyers, the film industry continues to thrive. In bad times as well as in good times, the only two absolutely necessary things remain food and illusions.
From the high windows of the office, the view was like being painted on a movie set - an exquisitely crafted three-dimensional scene that, through the deceptive eye of the camera, could convincingly serve as a landscape from an alien planet or the embodiment of perfection in this world, which reality would not allow.
Greener than the grass in the Garden of Eden, the meadows spread over tens of acres, without a single weed or stricken leaf. The majestic crowns of the giant California oaks and the drooping branches of the melancholy Himalayan cedars, both types of trees belonging to typical classical representatives, were covered with silver and diamonds from the December drizzle.
Through rivulets of water as thin as angel hairs, Ethan stared off into the distance at the last turn of the driveway. The grey-green quartzite pavement, polished to a shine by the rain, led to the ornamental bronze gate in the wall surrounding the mansion.
The unwanted visitor had come to the gate on foot at night. Perhaps suspecting that the ancient barrier had been upgraded with a modern security system, and that the weight of a person trying to climb it would set off the alarm in the observation room, he had thrown the package over the tall gate onto the walkway. cars.
The box that the apple was placed in was padded with bubble wrap and packed in a plastic zipper bag to protect it from damage due to bad weather. Stapled to the lid, the red ribbon suggested there was a gift inside, not trash.
Dave Ladman, one of two guards on duty at night, found the package at 3:56 am. Handling her very carefully, he had taken her to the guard's room in the groundskeeper's building at the rear of the property.
Dave and his shift partner, Tom Mack, scanned the package with a fluoroscope to check that there were no wires or other metal components of an explosive device or spring-loaded firing mechanism inside.
Since some modern bombs could be made without metal parts, after the fluoroscopy, Dave and Tom examined it with an odor detector that could detect thirty-two explosive compounds in the presence of even such a minimal amount of characteristic molecules like three per cubic centimeter of air.
After making sure the package wouldn't explode, the guards unwrapped it and upon seeing the black gift box, left a message on Ethan's voicemail and took it apart to deliver it to him.
At 8:35 this morning, one of the two guards on duty, Benny Nguyen, had brought the box to Ethan's apartment in the main house. Benny had also arrived with a videotape containing footage from the perimeter surveillance cameras of the mansion that had captured the moment of the delivery.
In addition, Benny also offered a traditional Vietnamese clay pot filled with Vietnamese mushroom chicken and rice, Ethan's favorite dish.
– Mom is looking at you like melted candle wax again - Benny said. – Lighted a candle on your behalf and seeing what it showed said you needed reinforcement.
– What should I strengthen myself for? The hardest thing I do these days is getting out of bed in the morning.
– You didn't say what. But it's not just for the Christmas market. She looked mesmerizing like a dragon in a Buddhist temple when she said it.
– With the look that makes pit bull terriers humbly lie on their backs and bare their bellies?
– That's right. He said you should eat well, not miss your prayer every morning and evening and avoid strong alcohol.
– See this is a problem. Drinking strong alcohol is my way of praying.
– I'm going to tell mom that you poured your whiskey down the drain and left you on your knees thanking god for making chickens so she could cook them.