Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Rating: 1.5 out of 5 Breaths

Grady Adams lives a simple, solitary life deep in the Colorado mountains. Here the thirty-five-year-old carpenter works out of a converted barn, crafting exquisite one-of-a-kind furniture. There’s little about this strong yet gentle man to suggest the experiences that have alienated him from the contemporary world. But that is about to change.

One day, while hiking, Grady spots a pair of stunningly beautiful furred animals unlike anything he’s ever seen. They flee the instant they detect his presence, but the mystery of that brief encounter remains. In the days ahead, Grady will approach the creatures again, gaining their trust but coming no closer to solving their mystery. For this he enlists the help of an old friend, veterinarian Camellia “Cammy” Rivers, who, in turn, is stunned—and enchanted—by Grady’s new “pets.” But while Grady and Cammy carefully observe these enigmatic animals for clues to their origin, they, too, are being watched.

Soon Grady’s home and hundreds of square miles of surrounding wilderness will be placed under quarantine by Homeland Security. And Grady, Cammy, and the two creatures they’ve come to feel they must protect at all costs find themselves virtual prisoners—and the unwilling focus of an army of biologists, naturalists, and research scientists. But it’s a stunning event no one could have foreseen that convinces Grady and Cammy to do the unthinkable: to escape with the two creatures on a riveting race for freedom.

I have read some really good books by Mr. Koontz. This was not one of them. I kept expecting it to get good. I was 100 pages into it and said "It's going to get good." 200 pages into it. "It's gotta get better, right?" About 75% of the way through the book I decided to start skimming. I'd had enough of the descriptions about the weird animals and the sick, twisted, paranoid mind of some guy who just killed his twin brother. All the stories were random and came together in loose ways that didn't really make sense.

Okay, let me back up.

Let's talk about the characters.

Grady. Love the name. I have one of the main characters in the book I'm writing named Grady. It may sound silly but that was part of what made me want to read the book. This Grady is so blah it's not even funny. There is nothing to him. He just wanders around in his mountain home with his dog named Merlin. I was not impressed. He is supposed to be the hero in this book and, yeah, not so much. He's a bland character that gets sloppily pulled together at the end where suddenly two or three of the characters are connected to a Marcus Pipp. This Marcus guy was never mentioned in the story until about 200 pages in. I'm sorry but if Marcus is so important, even though he's dead, he needs to be brought up way before that.

Cammy. Supposedly the heroine in the story. Another sloppy character. I'm thinking that a woman who, as a girl, grew up on a boat with a drug addict mother and a sick, twisted, abusive stepfather would not turn out all that normal. She was forced to kill her stepfather when she was 15 or 17. Right. This fact is mentioned in such a casual and bland tone that it hardly makes the impact I think Koontz wanted it to.

Tom Bigger. A weird and random addition to the story. The scene with the coyotes is never really fully explained. He seemed to be following some sort of intuition or magical sense that he had but it never really got explained either. And somehow he ended up at the house of a lawyer who had hired someone to kill his wife. I was so confused about that twist that never really got answered as to the how and why that I just about stopped reading right there.

Lamar. An interesting character. Probably my favorite even though at the end he has some cheesy moments.

Henry. The sick, sadistic, antagonist in the story. The whole time I kept expecting it to turn out that he was schizophrenic or something, but I wasn't that lucky. And, unless I misread, he blew himself up with a hand grenade? Wtf? I felt like his story was just ended just to end it. Although I did like the twist and how Cammy and Grady ended up at his house, but it just seemed anticlimactic when that happened.

Puzzle and Riddle. All I have to say can be summed up in: WTF? The names: Seriously? They talk: Are you freaking kidding me? I just don't get it.

I had to laugh because underneath the title on the cover it says "A Novel of Suspense." When I got done, and partially while I was suffering through it, I thought of No Doubt's song "Suspension without Suspense." There was no suspense in this novel whatsoever. Each chapter ended in a laughable cliffhanger moment that really didn't have the umph to make me want to read more.

I have spent far more time with this review than I had anticipated. The plot is sloppy. The conclusion is terrible. The writing leaves a lot to be desired. Sorry, Dean Koontz, but this is definitely not your best work. I will read more of your work, but not until I get this sour taste out of my mouth from this book. I gave it 1 and 1/2 out of 5 Breaths.

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