Sunday, June 15, 2014

Dean Koontz.....not so scary anymore?

I received a free copy of Dean Koontz's new book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This was the first book that I received through NetGalley and I have to say, I was a little nervous.  I used to love Koontz - but after reading his books Lightning and Intensity - I just got too scared to take him on after my divorce.  They are definitely not books to read in bed alone, late at night.
But I felt like I had made a commitment by downloading the book, so I took a deep breath and plunged in.
I ended up loving this book.  It had a completely different feel than any previous Koontz books I have read.  It felt like it had tinges of Alice Hoffman's magical realism, but it also felt like it had the character development of Stephen King.
The characters were believable and I felt invested in all of them, even the villains.  This was a welcome change after recently reading Herman Koch's The Dinner.  The Dinner was one of those books that I had to force myself to finish - and even at the end, I didn't care that evil had won out, none of the characters struck any chords with me.
Jonah is being raised by his mother, after his father leaves them for a second time.  He comes from a musical family, his mother is a gifted singer, his grandfather is a piano player, and Jonah dreams of being a piano man.
Jonah's father appears throughout the the story - although I was never sure of how he ends up mixed up with the group of baddies - as a matter of fact, I'm never sure of how the entire group of bad guys end up together.  Koontz does spin a realistic web of how they could have met, but I never ended up understanding what brought them together or why they chose the crime that was the pinnacle of the story.
But that may have been Koontz's intent, I was struck by something that Jonah's mother said, " wasn't all news, she'd said, and what held the world together was the way all those people who never made the news were inclined to live their lives.".  I feel like the book followed this same path, the baddies were never the focus, there wasn't much attention paid to what motivated them, but there was such careful attention to the lives of the characters who held Jonah's world together.

Overall, I would give The City 4 out of 5 stars.  The Dinner 2 out of 5 stars.

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