Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Ballantine via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Summary: Jane Hawk has been on extended leave from the FBI ever since her husband allegedly committed suicide. Having never suffered from depression or any kind of mental illness, happily married with a beautiful son, beyond successful in his military career, and showing none of the telltale signs that would indicate imminent suicide, Jane questions the validity of his cause of death. In her pursuit for the truth, she finds more unlikely suicides and digs so deep that she puts her life, and the life of her son, in grave danger. Now her only option is to see the mission through and put an end to whatever terrible plans are being unleashed on an unknowing population. But what will it cost her in the end?
Review: Dean Koontz is one of my favorite authors and has been since I was in my early teens. I have more of his work on my shelves than any other author (which isn’t hard since he is a prolific writer). And one of the things that I love most about him is that every book is very different from the last, going places an average person like myself couldn’t conjure up on the best of days. I tell you all of this because it pains me to say what I’m about to say.
I didn’t like this book.
And I’ve never not liked something by Dean Koontz. Some stuff I’ve been crazy in love with, some stuff I thought was great, but I’ve never disliked something he’s written. And yet:
I didn’t like this book.
And there are a number of reasons for that. To begin with, while I haven’t read everything he’s written, everything I’ve read has had some sort of eerie, supernatural bent to it, some aspect that was otherworldly, outside the realm of normal human experience. Not so in this book. While I do read mysteries and thrillers, I come to Koontz for an unusual reading experience, so this critical element being absent was a bit disappointing.
The book could have been 200 pages shorter and would have been much improved. It felt like half the book consisted of descriptions of surroundings, properties, furniture, generally mundane crap that in no way enhanced or informed the story itself. And within those descriptions, there was a strong element of trying too hard, of attempts at purple prose, that instead came off more pretentious than pretty.
The final straw was how much politics and fearmongering bled into the overall story. I like political books. Or books that incorporate politics. But I feel like there are a contingent of people who want us to believe that this is a time unlike any other, that we should all be afraid, that the world has become a terrible place, worse than it has ever been, none of us are safe, and we should all prepare ourselves to fight to survive or acquiesce and give away our rights to those who know better. That is not a sentiment I share, it not a perspective I endorse, and I think the last thing we need right now is more people telling us that things are more desperate than they are (I’m talking about the world here, not just the US). And frankly, I’ve never gotten such a strong sense of this perspective from Koontz’s work before or I wouldn’t be reading his new stuff anymore. I certainly won’t be reading the next in this series, and I’ll do a bit of research before picking up anymore of his future work.
It pains me to write this review, as it would any fan. It is not reflective of his previous work. And really, that’s part of the problem: this didn’t feel like Koontz to me. I get that author’s grow and change and their work does as well, but this book left me disappointed and frankly, really irritated. Really. Irritated.
I’ll cross my fingers that something wonderful is coming in the future. Like maybe the final book in the Moonlight Bay trilogy that I’ve been waiting about seven million years for?