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Review: Dean Koontz; What The Night Knows

Dean Koontz. A writer who has styled himself on Stephen King. With fantastic books, such as "Brother Odd", "The Key To Midnight" and the "Dean Koontz Frankenstein Series", has now thrown himself out into the shark pit which is Horror/Thriller book writing. I expected this book to be an amazing, captivating, well developed and gripping. Boy was I disappointed. This book is, to me at least, 437 of pure disappointment. I hated every page, but I forced myself to read this book, because I have always enjoyed reading Dean Koontz. What a let down this was.

Before I actually write what the book was about, let me just say that there are going to be a LOT of spoilers about this book below. If you don't want to know what they are, skip down to the final paragraph.

The book "What The Night Knows" is based on a homicide detective called John Calvino. 20 years before this book is set, his family were subject to a brutal murder, where his parents and 2 sisters died. He was the sole survivor of the murderer Anton Turner Blackwood, who murdered 2 families before him. John shot Calvino in the face with his own pistol, after Blackwood taunted him that his sister had "pretty little training bra breasts", and "you'll be a father too someday, and I'll kill you and you're whole family". 20 years later, Calvino is unofficially investigating the murders of a family who were murdered by their son Billy Lucas. Lucas killed his mother with a knife, cavewd his father's head in with a claw hammer, strangled his grandmother with a scarf, then raped and stabbed his sister to death. Calvino recognizes that the murders are completely familiar to the murders which happened 20 years ago, to the families before John's were murdered. Shortly after, another family are targeted, but are killed by a different assailant, but manages to get himself shot. Through a series of events, in which the daughter of the man who was shot survived, along with her mother who tried to shoot herself (I'll explain in a minute), she ends up dying from falling out of a hospital window with another attacker. The attackers do not do this of their own will. They are being "ridden" by a demon, who is both the reincarnation of Blackwood and a demon of murder called Ruin. Calvino realizes that the murders are linked, and that he will be targeted soon. After telling his wife, Nicolette (or Nicky), he proceeds to realize that his son (Zach) and his 2 daughters (Naomi and Minnie) are most likely going to be targetted.

After events far too elaborate to go into right now, it turns out that John got the dates of the expected attack wrong, when he realizes that 20 years to the day that his family were murdered. He finds people entering the house which he thought he had secure, but the Blackwood-Ruin spirit thing controls the house which they move in. After his children are attacked, he realizes that his youngest daughter Minnie can see spirits and ghosts, but we realize this when she says to herself that she can see their dead dog. After fighting off a few attackers, John discovers that Minnie made a make shift portal out of Lego (I know, its hard to explain), where he dives into it, after being possessed himself, but having the strength to decide that he won't kill his family like the spirit wants him to. He finishes both of the spirits off, and it's over. A small chapter at the end of the book speaks of how he and his wife traveled back to his home town to see the house where he was murdered, and to walk the streets where he used to walk, and that they have a new dog.

Basically an EXTREMELY convoluted story, where barely anything makes sense. This leads me onto the parts of the book which I didn't like. Unlike all of the previous Dean Koontz books, none of the characters seem developed, the story doesn't run like it shouldn't, and the excerpts from Blackwood's diary between several chapters added more to the book that I didn't want to read. His children, even though they are old enough to be independent (well, Zach and Naomi anyway), they seem to both live in a fantasy land, where Zach, who is 13, want's to become a marine (as he considers himself super strong and independent) even though being a fairly good artist, and Naomi, who is 11, dreams of being a fairy princess. Even though Minnie is 8, she seems the most mature throughout the book, advising Naomi having nothing to do with the spirit when it opens a make shift portal through the mirror behind her cupboard door. Also, the conversations throughout the book seem to formal for a family. They seem to either be extremely high class or completely fucked up. Seriously, read the book, see what I mean.

This book was a shame, because I really wanted to read this book and thoroughly enjoy it. But I didn't. Maybe this is a message from Dean Koontz telling us that he's finished and he's had enough. Let Stephen King carry on Mr Koontz, it's time to put down your pen and finish off. Please.

Overall, it was disappointing, and I'm not going to score it, because you don't need me to put a score out of 25 for something as piss poor as this book.
Review: Dean Koontz; What The Night Knows Review: Dean Koontz; What The Night Knows Reviewed by Matt Large on Wednesday, August 03, 2011 Rating: 5

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