Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Horror Book Review - Dean Koontz "The Darkest Evening of the Year" - Love it Or Hate It!

I picked up this book at the library mainly because it's the story of a woman who helps to rescue Golden Retrievers. I personally became involved with Labrador rescue recently when my husband and I adopted a three-year-old Lab, so of course I had to read the book.
The story held my interest, but was hard to read in part because, unfortunately, too many dogs are abused in puppy mills and Koontz goes into detail about them and how they operate, yuck. At one point, when he talked about putting a dog to sleep, I wept. I've had to do it too often and it was a reminder that dogs do not live nearly long enough. There was also a long thread about the abuse of a disabled Down syndrome child which was stomach turning - very tough to read. Well, Koontz IS a horror writer.
I enjoyed Darkest Evening for the most part. The story was told from various view points, by apparently unrelated people. It was interesting to see how Koontz wove all the disparate threads together towards the finish of the book. However, the ending didn't work for me - or for many people who reviewed the book on amazon.com. It almost seemed like Koontz got to a certain point, looked at his watch and said, "Boogers, I've got to wrap this up!", and he did.
There's a big element of woo-woo in this book, so be prepared. Nickie, the Golden Retriever, who shows up in the beginning of the book may or may not hold the spirit of a previous dog or person. I think the dogs were more complete, interesting characters than the people who seem to me like caricatures. Once again, the woman were all gorgeous and the men handsome, the minor characters witty and rich. Give me a break.
In spite of the dark element of this novel, there are some very funny, laugh-out-loud lines in the book. The humor is a nice counter-balance to all the horror. I loved reading about the Golden's even though I'm a Labrador Retriever lover. I've lived with dogs long enough to know that they each have their own unique personalities and funny little quirks.
A lot of Koontz books are very long - partly I think because he just LOVES to describe! He's good at it but often it's just too much - it makes my teeth hurt. This book had lots of lush description, and frequently I got lost in it all and had to go back to see what was happening to the people! Unlike some of his longer tomes this one is a more normal length at 354 pages. All in all I guess I'd have to say I didn't love it and I didn't hate it but I finished the book and that's something I don't always do!
Carlene Rae Dater has been a writer of both fiction and non-fiction for over 25 years and has been published in a variety of genres. Writing, reading and talking about mysteries is her passion. Please visit and leave comments on her mystery blog at: http://www.themysterystartshere.com Please also visit her published books at: http://www.silveradopublishing.com

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