Monday, April 19, 2010


I've never much liked suspense or mystery novels. They make me feel a bit dumb, to be honest. I have no eye for detail, which means that I miss all the clues that would lead me to the inevitable conclusion. They also tend to make me paranoid. I read Shutter Island, and for several days, was nearly convinced that everything I was seeing was an elaborate setup concocted by my caregivers. Paul thought I had gone a bit off my rocker, but c'est la vie.

Dean Koontz is well on his way to changing all that. While I still have no desire (at ALL) to read any other suspense or mystery novelists work, I am devouring every Koontz novel I come across.

It started with Odd Thomas, which I listened to in my car. David Aaron Baker is far to old to ever play Oddy in a movie, but his voice is perfection in the role. The story sucked me in from the beginning, I had my mind completely blown at the climax, and I cried like a baby at the end. I powered through Forever Odd and Brother Odd, as well as picking up False Memories, Prodigal Son and City of Night.

What I love about his books is that, for the most part, you find out what is going on right away, because (with the exception of the Odd Thomas books), the story is told from the side of the protagonist and the antagonist. Even while the protagonist is muddling away tyring to piece everything together, the reader is, for the most, in the loop. Which, by the way, makes the occasional surprises even that more shocking when they are revealed. those surprises, though, are wonderfully satisfying, because they tend to come out of nowhere. You don't spend half the book worrying over them before they come to pass. They just jump into the story out of the ether to make sure your mind has been sufficiently blown.

Another element that I have fallen in love with is that of multiple narrators. Usually I find it a bit frustrating, with all the jumping about from point-of-view to point-of-view, but Koontz does it just enough that it moves the story along without feeling sluggish or complicated, even in the Frankenstein series, which, at my last count, has gone through something like eleven narrators, though at the moment, he is only using six.

I have found myself suggesting Dean Koontz to anyone and everyone who has the misfortune of asking me for a book recommendation. He has been added to my list of go-to authors, a rather short list, if truth be told. Francine Rivers is on it, as well as CS Lewis and Christopher Moore, when I am feeling generous. The Odd Thomas books have been added to my list of "read-agains", joining the ranks of Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit, Life of Pi, Redeeming Love, and, at the very top, almost out of reach of any others, the Harry Potter series.

PS: He's also good if you are studying for the SAT's. Macabre? Paladin? Not everyday words, if you ask me.

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