Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Darkest Evening of the Year

I just finished listening to Dean Koontz latest novel: The Darkest Evening of the Year. This is only the second Koontz book I have read/listened to, and I have gotten the impression from various peoples reviews that this is not typical Koontz. (It is to me . . . )

It is the story about Amy Redwing who runs a dog rescue business for Golden Retrevers. I am a dog lover so I could connect with Amy very quickly and her deep compassion for dogs. The first half of the book is all about Amy and her dogs along with a budding relationship that she is developing with Brian McCarthy (a up and coming architec). As I listened I kept wondering where this was all going to go.

At the same time there was another story going on about some very evil people. They both regarded humans as mearly machines or toys to play with. Killing was not simply an obsession --- it was more than that.

When Amy tells the story of her first dog --- and the dog's resulting death --- you know that Dean Koontz has lost a dog that he dearly loved! That part of the story was worth the entire read. But it is far from over.

In the second half of the book, the twisted pasts of Amy and Brian all come into play as Koontz spins a great story.

The ending was predicatable on one level, but totally unexpected on another. And the spirituality that Amy and Brian encountered is worth exploring in another story.

One reviewer put it this way:

The story's conclusion was set up to be tense, feeding from the inevitable threads that were pulling together--and then it seemed to fall flat. We get a hurried last chapter or two, plus an epilogue of sorts that explains everything. The order of events wasn't my problem, so much as the rushed feel of them. In the end, the magic fell apart for me and changed my thinking from "Wow, one of Koontz's best ever" to "Wow, that was a little disappointing." If you're a Koontz fan, this has everything you expect from him and more, just don't hold your breath for a gripping ending, unless you too share a beyond-average affection for our canine friends.

If you like mysteries, and a little supernatural mixed in --- this is a great book

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