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by John Katzenbach
Ballantine, February 2002
576 pages
ISBN: 0345426366

On his fifty-third birthday, Dr. Ricky Starks receives a letter, in which the writer, who calls himself Rumpelstiltskin, threatens to ruin his life in revenge for something Starks did years ago. The plan is simple - if Starks can guess his tormentor's identity within a fortnight, he will go free. If he does not, Rumpelstiltskin will attack his family and kill one of them - unless Starks kills himself. With the game started and the clock ticking, has Starks got a chance?

'The Analyst' has a very innovative plot. Taking the original fairytale and adapting it to a modern setting seems to have paid off for Katzenbach, as the fast pace and the plot twists come together to form an excellent thriller. The novel is centrally character-driven, as the author uses the character of Ricky Starks to show the reader the world through his introspective and analytical eyes, putting him through the emotional mill and eventually changing him entirely. Some will argue that Starks' transformation is ridiculous and unbelievable, but although it may be necessary to slightly stretch your credulity, the novel works and it makes for great reading.

Katzenbach includes numerous plot twists and interesting developments. The book is a novel of two quite separate halves, but overall, they form a powerful and addictive thriller that is guaranteed to keep even the most adept of readers thinking and attempting to guess the possible solution. Katzenbach has a big success on his hands here.

The alt.books.dean-koontz FAQ can be found at: http://www.hildbede.freeserve.co.uk/faq.htm

This review is based on the UK edition

Reviewed by Luke Croll, January 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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