Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

The Darkest Evening of the Year My Rating: 3.5 stars
Read: January 2009
Sub-Genre: Supernatural Thriller
Pages: 354

Being a big Dean Koontz fan I usually really enjoy each new novel that comes out, however 'The Darkest Evening Of The Year' fell short for me. This book was Koontz's first after the death of their family dog, Trixie Koontz. It is clear from Koontz's website that Trixie was an integral, dearly loved family member and the positives in 'The Darkest Evening of the Year' embody the spirit of Trixie.

Koontz states on his website "For almost a decade, I entertained an idea for a novel in which the lead character would be a woman who founded and led a dog-rescue organization." So first to the positives; the good guys, Brian McCarthy, Amy Redwing and her golden retrievers, Fred, Ethel and the recently rescued Nickie and Hope, a Downs Syndrome child with the soul of an angel. The novel is centred around the canine heroine Nickie, she is not just any old dog, she's an angel. Amy's character was endearing and her work with Golden Heart, saving dogs from puppy mills and abusive homes was particularly moving. I loved the message of hope after loss, peace in the wake of chaos and the premise of failure not being forever, the opportunity for redemption is always there. I loved the supernatural element & the spirituality really appealed to me.

My favourite line from the book - "Intuition is seeing with the soul."

So what's not to like? This novel had all the ingredients for a great story, so what happened? There were certain facets that had a negative impact on my enjoyment and emotional connection. I loathed the antagonists, Moongirl, Harrow & Billy Pilgrim. I know we all 'love to hate' the bad guy but I found the character of Moongirl particularly appalling; her torment & abuse of her Downs Syndrome daughter was more than disturbing. I read & enjoy a lot of novels from the horror & suspense/thriller genres & I have a high tolerance for murder, violence and torture subject matter but I believe it was completely unnecessary for Koontz to incorporate this level of depravity just to highlight the 'good versus evil' contrast with Amy, Brian and Nickie.

Unfortunately this time the large negative outweighed the many positives I enjoyed in this novel but having read many great Dean Koontz novels, I remain a fan, albeit a disappointed one.

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  1. Agreed! It didn't live up to my expectations. Too bad too!

  2. I'll have to go with you on this one. I, too am a Koontz fan, but found this one a little dissapointing.Doesn't mean I won't get the next one though!


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