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I read a book a few years back (probably 2-3, maybe 4,) and wanted to find it again. I cannot remember the cover, but I'm 90% sure I read it in paper back (not e-book, I know that for sure.) I think I got it from my high school library, but that might be wrong. I think was about 150-300 pages, maybe 400 at most.

Anyway, here's a bunch of the plot. If you've read this book, you should be able to tell what it is. (?) indicates possible inconsistency.

Plot as far as I can remember, mostly in order (I think):

  • Starts with MC (I feel like his name was Richard or something that started with a P, but have no idea if that's right) buying a Corvette from a dealership. MC recites a few facts in his head about a Corvette (I know leg room was mentioned here.)
  • I think at this point he calls his mom to tell her about his purchase. She pretends not to know what it is, and they talk a bit.
  • Ends up going to a diner and getting a burger. Considers flirting with the waitress but decides not to.- May or may not get home, I forget what happened here. Might be a bit of stuff I'm forgetting.
  • Car starts acting up, something weird in the engine.
  • Crashes. How I forget.
  • Gets out of car and car is on fire(?). Fire monster thing crawls out of the engine and sort of charges? off the flames.
  • Another man from another car comes down to check what happened and if he's okay. MC runs, and good samaritan man dies or gets taken over by fire monster (can't remember which).
  • Somehow ends up with waitress lady and her dog running from fire monster/man.
  • I think another crash and they switch cars. I remember a quote something like 'you hotwired a car in three seconds while getting in?' appears somewhere, although that might be after the boat.
  • Hijack boat and head onto body of water, can't remember what kind.
  • Fire monster gets aboard. MC steers while waitress lights some fuel barrels to occupy fire monster while they get to shore.
  • Meet waitresses' butler? Might steal another car at this point.
  • Meet waitresses' mom, who talks to her late husband through the tonight show.
  • Something, I think. Then they head to MC's mom's friend, who is somehow responsible for the fire monster.
  • By putting a bit of her blood on each of them, they all hide from the fire monster.
  • MC and waitress and dog leave. Waitress revealed to be alien enhanced human. Dog is also enhanced (or is alien?) which explains a few things that MC thought was weird.
  • MC and waitress get married. Something about Animal Planet. End story.

Anybody got ideas? I'm a bit stuck.

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  • Very nicely described. There's a lot of useful details.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Oct 20 '21 at 18:27
  • A waitress with a butler. I had no idea diners paid so well.
    – JRE
    Oct 20 '21 at 19:24
17

I'm not 100% sure it's a match, but there are a lot of similarities with the 1996 Dean Koontz novel Ticktock. (Note the novel actually says "Dean Koontz" instead of "Dean R. Koontz.")

Cover of original edition of "Ticktock"

Quoting the plot summary on Wikipedia:

Tommy Phan is a first-generation Vietnamese American in southern California, a successful detective novelist whose greatest ambition is to live the American Dream. The story opens with Tommy getting a new Corvette. He argues with his mother, refusing her offer for dinner. In a fit of rebellion, he eats two cheeseburgers, something his mother dislikes. He meets a blond waitress there (whom he will meet later in the story again). His radio quits working during one of these two trips, and in the static are eerie voices.

Once home, he finds a Rag doll on his front steps, along with a note, written in Vietnamese, which he knew when he was a child but has forgotten in his quest to be a true American. After taking the doll into his study, it soon bursts open to reveal an evil creature who seems intent on killing Tommy. A message is left on his computer screen saying he has until dawn, but what will happen at dawn, Tommy does not know. After fate brings a meeting with Del, a woman who appears to speak somewhat cryptically, they embark on a race to flee the creature. She believes him too quickly, and often has mixed stories for all of her abilities. (At one point she stole a car, saying one minute she hotwired it, and the next that the key was in the ignition.)

The doll appears to be growing larger as their journey continues. They visit Tommy's brother, Gi, to try and translate the note. They then go to Del's apartment, where we learn she's quite rich, but is a waitress anyway. She also shows another side to her when Tommy wants to see her paintings, and she threatens to shoot him if he does. Her dog seems incredibly smart, something that unnerves Tommy.

In their journey to escape the ever-growing doll, Tommy's Corvette is trashed, two cars are stolen, and one large boat is trashed. They arrive at Del's mother's home, which seems utterly odd. They claim to be able to listen to live stuff from the past with their radio. Del's mother shows an uncanny sense of time when she knows exactly when the rain will stop.

Gi calls and tells Tommy to go to their mother, and not to bring the blonde along. Tommy brings Del along anyway, where he then learns the doll was conjured to scare him back home by a friend of his mother. They begin a ritual that, after a few harrowing minutes, completely dispels the monster.

Tommy sees Del's paintings and they're of him. She had remotely viewed him over the past 2 years because she knows he is her destiny.

He and Del get married in Vegas. Then they go back to their normal town.

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  • 2
    ^_^ Jinx! We're quoting the same source, and you technically beat me to it.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Oct 20 '21 at 18:26
  • 2
    @FuzzyBoots I guess this time it was my turn to be a few seconds faster. :) We've got to get out of sync, though. :)
    – DavidW
    Oct 20 '21 at 18:27
  • The OP's description totally made me think of Koontz! (Though I have not read this one.)
    – Lexible
    Oct 20 '21 at 22:44
  • This does sound about right. thank you! :) Oct 21 '21 at 11:18

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