Deann Koontz is one of my favorite writers, so I don't know how I missed this 2005 release while reading "Life Expectancy", "Odd Thomas", "The Face", "The Husband", and the first 2 installments of his "Frankenstein" saga.
As in most Koontz novels, he straddles the line between horror and crime thriller. The difference is that he relies entirely on man's capacity for evil as opposed to outsourcing it to the spirit world.
In this tale, Billy Wiles is a local bartender who inexplicably receives a note telling him that his response will determine whether a young mother of two or a single man who will not be missed will die. It is his choice. He makes the choice by going to the police or not. To the cops, and one gets it; to the police, and the other dies. The letters get creepier and the deaths grislier as Billy tries to figure out who is doing this, and why he has been chosen to participate.
Koontz's gothic mindscapes and quirky characters make for an engrossing read. Some of his books are a bit repetitive, and this is a bit like "The Husband". This was a 3 star effort, which will tide me over until the 3rd "Frankenstein" book comes out.