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VELOCITY
Dean Koontz

Amazon.com Synopsis
A diabolic killer plays a harrowing game of cat and mouse with a reclusive bartender in Koontz's latest gripping suspense thriller. Billy Wiles, a 30-something bartender and former writer, is content with his solitary Napa County existence listening to "beer-based psychoanalysis" from tavern regulars; visiting his hospitalized, comatose fiancée, Barbara; and carving wood sculptures. But the simple life gets mighty complicated when he finds a note with a deadly, time-sensitive ultimatum: he must choose between the death of a young schoolteacher or an elderly humanitarian in six hours. Reluctant local sheriff Lanny Olsen dismisses it as a joke until a comely teacher is found strangled and another threatening note appears—offering even less time for Billy to decide the fate of two more people. Who would have guessed that one of those people would be Olsen? After his friend's murder, Billy finds that the cunning killer has gained access to every aspect of his life as the ultimatums grow increasingly more personal. Suppressing horrific childhood memories, Billy scrambles to bury grisly incriminating evidence the murderer has deviously planted. More gruesome deaths and shaky suspicions trap Billy right in the demented killer's lair for just the beginning of Koontz's serpentine showdown.

SPOILER:
Sent in by DallasE

Velocity's main character is Billy Wiles. Billy is a thirtysomething bartender with a wife who is in a coma from eating tainted food. Billy used to be an aspiring author until his wife's accident. Now Billy just tends bar, goes to see his wife at her care-facility and builds cabinets and other equipment for his house.

One day Billy receives a note on his car telling him to choose between two peoples deaths. If he does not go to the police then a young schoolteacher will die if he does go to the police then an old woman who works in charity will die. Billy is given a six hour time period to make his choice. Billy does ask a friend of his, who happens to be a deputy if he thinks the note is for real. they figure that the note is a hoax and Billy does nothing. The next morning Billy finds out that a young schoolteacher has indeed been killed. Billy then receives a second note.

Same situation as the first; if Billy goes to the police a young mother of two is killed, no police and a an unmarried man not much missed by anyone is killed. Billy's deputy friend says that he wants to think about what to do as they are in a bind, having done nothing when the first note was given. Billy waits to hear from his deputy friend and then goes to the deputy's house when the time limit has been breached to find the deputy killed.

Third note: "Are you prepared for your first wound? Billy is drugged and wakes up with three fishhooks impaled in his forehead. Billy removes the fishhooks and finds a forth note telling him to stay home and await an "associate" of the killer to show up. If Billy does not stay home a child will be killed, if Billy contacts the police a child will be killed. Billy stays home.

The "associate" turns out to be a bum that the killer hired to deliver the next message. The bum tells Billy that he has five minutes to choose someone that Billy knows to die or if Billy does not choose someone then the killer will choose for him. Billy refuses and the bum is killed when he walks into Billy's house to take the phone call from the killer.

Billy does not realize the bum's death for a few minutes. After the bum is killed, the killer calls 911 and then hangs up. This brings the cops to Billy's house wanting to know if he or someone else is being held captive in his house. The cops look but find no one in distress, completely missing the dead guy in Billy's office area.

Billy then finds three documents on his computer that are labeled "Why", "How" and "When" Why states, "Because I, too, am a fisher of men" How says, "Cruelty, violence, death; Movement, velocity, impact; Flesh, blood, bone" When offers,"My last killing: midnight Thursday. Your suicide: soon thereafter"

Billy prints out the three documents to find out that the killer has used Billy's computer to manufacture ALL of the notes. Billy is being framed. The killer the deviates from the notes with a phone call telling Billy that the killer is going to kill a redhead. If Billy says," Waste the bitch," then the death will be fast if Billy remains silent the killer will torture then kill the woman. Billy agonizes then says,"waste the bitch".

Billy buys a video camera and installs it in his house to try and catch the killer's ingress/egress in the future. Then Billy gets the idea that one of his coworkers maybe the killer and googles the coworkers name,Steve, to find one reference to a disappearance from five years earlier. Billy goes to the coworkers house, breaks in and looks around. Billy finds some S/M porn tapes and some mannequins that have been seriously altered into some very disturbing appearances.

Billy then gets rid of the bum's corpse by throwing it down a lava shoot near his home. Billy returns home, gets sapped by the Killer and awakes to the killer asking if he is ready for his second wound. The killer then hammers Billy's hand to the floor with a nail gun. Ouch. Billy gets his had released and then finds the bum's body still in his house.

Who did he throw down the lava tube?, wonders Billy. Billy then goes to find Steve and question him as to his alibi for the night. Billy really does a number on Steve and discovers that Steve has been on a date and couldn't have been the nail gun toting dude. Billy is perplexed now.

Billy then goes to a diner where he has an epiphany on who the killer might be. After some Internet browsing Billy figures out that the killer is a "Performance Artist" that is in town for a big show. Billy finds a picture link on the Artists's home web page labeled Hello Billy. When Billy accesses the link he is asked for a password which turns out to be his last name. The resultant page that Billy sees only says, "You are worthy."

Billy has figured out the killers identity. Now for the short story
ending... Billy kills the Artist then finds out that coworker, Steve was working with the artist, so Billy kills Steve too.