The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz

9780345546807   Mr. Koontz, glad to have you back…..    ****

This is the second novel in the Jane Hawk series. In the first, The Silent Corner, Koontz re-established himself as the writer I have grown to love. After reading Ashley Bell, I wondered if he had lost it. This novel shows he’s back.

In the continuation of Jane Hawk’s pursuit of whomever is responsible for her husband’s suicide, Koontz’s ability as a wordsmith shines. The plot, as in most of his novels, is simple, and it is his command of prose that keeps the pages turning.

While there are parts that are predictable, there were enough twists to keep me interested and guessing, especially in the end, which I will not reveal.

When I read the first book in the series, I thought one more would wrap up the story. I was wrong, Koontz managed to stretch it to a third, which I look forward to reading.

This one gets four stars.

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The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz

Untitled-1 A different Koontz, a refreshing change….  ****

Since I am a fan who owns and has read all of Dean Koontz’s novels, I always look forward to his next one. The last few have been disappointing, especially Ashley Bell. The Silent Corner was a surprise on several levels.

Koontz has been known to experiment with different writing styles and genres, and here he steps into the world of Micheal Connelly, Lee Child, and Michael Crichton. The story of an FBI agent who loses someone close and goes on a personal vendetta for justice is a common, if not overdone, storyline.  In the hands of a master wordsmith like Koontz, the familiar becomes a lot more fun to read.

Jane Hawk is the female protagonist who takes a “leave of absence” from the FBI to discover who caused her husband’s suicide. The obstacles she faces, as someone is determined to stop her, become minor inconveniences which she cleverly overcomes.

The story is well written and the technology, while futuristic, is feasible enough to be frightening. The novel does suffer from the same flaws of most hero/heroine stories. There are times when the bad guys hesitate, ensuring the protagonist’s survival, and the ease of getting outside help strains believability.

This is book one of a series. It will be interesting to see if it stops at book two, which should wrap up the storyline or if Koontz will take this character for a longer ride.

This one gets four stars.

Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz

AshleyBell

 

As only as Koontz can do…   ****

 

Dean Koontz is a master craftsman with words. In this novel he shows his talent as a wordsmith better than in his last few books. In typical “Koontz” style, the plot is fairly simple and it is his flourish with prose that makes this a good read.

His imagination is at its peak as he weaves ghosts, Navy SEALS, cancer patients, the occult, and paranormal into a page turner.  The story gripped me from the beginning and it was only about two-thirds in that the truth of what was happening was revealed. Even though it was easy to see where he was going with the plot at that point, he writes in a way that kept me reading to see how he would actually finish the story.

The truth of what is happening to the main character, Bibi, reminded me of an old episode of the Twilight Zone. The ending to her story was satisfying, although predictable. The actual ending to this story does leave room for the reader’s imagination to take over.

Koontz is not afraid to stretch himself as a writer, and us as readers. He does both with this novel.

This one gets four stars.

 

 

Saint Odd by Dean Koontz

saintodd

As the Doors said, “This is the end”……      ***

It is not often one knows the end of a book before reading it.  If anyone who has read any of the previous books in the Odd series had any doubt, the title of this one, Saint Odd, clinches it.  No spoiler here, unless you have never read any of the previous books. If you haven’t, don’t read this one, or this review, because you will have no clue as to what is happening.

That said, this is a typical Koontz novel.  The story itself is thin, as most of his are, but it is the style of writing that keeps me coming back.  Dean Koontz is a word master.  By that I mean he can take something very simple and dress it up in lavish language, some of which we have to look up, which makes his novels enjoyable reads.  This one is no exception.  Koontz even gets his characters involved with the fascination of words as when Mrs. Fischer uses the word thwart, then proceeds to talk about how unusual a word that is.

This is the last of the books about Odd Thomas, we think.  It is sad to see him go, as he was a very colorful character and resulted in some of Koontz’s best writing.  I say “we think” because he does hint at the possibility of a sequel dealing with Odd in the afterlife.

The basic plot is about Odd going back home to Pico Mundo, where he is to have a final confrontation with the satanists who had, in a previous book, killed his girlfriend, Stormy.  The actual ending is anti-climatic, compared to the events that lead up to this confrontation. Koontz reminds us several times about the previous books, memoirs in this case, and even gets in a few lines about the difficulty of being a novelist.

This novel does wrap up the story of Odd Thomas and is a pleasant enough read. It gets three stars.

The City by Dean Koontz

THE-CITY-Cover

 

Not A Typical Koontz Novel, in this case that is a good thing…..****

As a long time fan of most of what Dean Koontz has written, I enjoy it when he stretches himself as a writer into new territory. Sometimes it works well, as in this case, sometimes not, as in “77 Shadow Street”. Being as established as he is he can experiment which he obviously is not afraid to do.

This is not a typical “Koontz” novel, but it is one of his better ones of late. The story, as in most of his books, is fairly simple and without too many surprises. But his writing borders on literary as he unfolds the tale of Jonah Kirk’s childhood. Is it a gripping page turner? No. It is a well written creative piece of writing that engages the reader much like the classics of old. Not on the par with say “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo but at least heading in that direction.

There were only three things that bothered me in this novel, the first being the cover. When I went to order the book I had to look twice thinking that I was re-ordering “Innocence”. The covers are way too similar, almost as if the publisher used the second choice from “Innocence” on this one.

Second, Koontz makes a statement in the book regarding Japan during World War II that caused me to pause for a moment. He says “…not just two souls among many thousands atomized as a terrible consequence of Japan’s war crimes and its refusal to surrender.” While we did bomb Japan because of the leadership’s refusal to surrender, and it is true the Japanese army committed war crimes, to paint the people of Japan with that broad of a brush bothered me.

The third was the statement “as long as a man can pee, Jonah, he can take on anything the world throws at him”. This also gave me pause as I thought of all the people who can’t “pee” and how they overcome diversity every day.

The bottom line is don’t read this expecting a typical Koontz story, read it for the pleasure of a story well crafted.

 

 

 

Frankenstein: Lost Souls

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Koontz Is Back    *****

 

I have read and own everything Dean Koontz has written. His last few books were a little disappointing and it is nice to see him back in “Koontz” form.

This book was hard to put down. He hasn’t kept me riveted since “Velocity“, until now. The end does come abruptly and I had to remind myself this IS a series.

Welcome back Dean!!

77 Shadow Street

77 shadowst

“Micro” Run Amok    **

Let me say that I have read all of DK’s books, actually I also own all of them, and am a died in the wool fan. Even when a book of his is not up to par with his best, I enjoy reading his descriptive prose. This book pushed the limits of both likeability and readability.

Having recently finished “Micro” by Micheal Crichton, I was disappointed to see a similar theme in this novel. Having recently finished “11/22/63” by Stephen King I was expecting at least as good of a tale of time travel. And having read “What The Night Knows” by Koontz, was a little surprised to see the repeat of a time warp story.

Dean Koontz has the ability to keep a reader on the edge of their seat and turning pages as fast as one can read, as in “Mr. Murder” or “Intensity”. This book not only had no surprises, but as some have reviewed, it was a chore to read through. At least in this novel it seems as though DK got caught up more in description than in plot. As soon as I realized the cause of the “mystery”, my wife heard a loud groan from me.

Not every book by an author can be their best but let’s just hope the next one is at least better than this one!