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2010 Book Review

March 4, 2010

0. Frankenstein: City of Night, Dean Koontz
1. Frankenstein: Dead and Alive, Dean Koontz

City of Night is Book Zero because I technically started it in 2009, and was about halfway through when 2010 rolled around. I picked up this one and the first book last year when I discovered that the third book was in the Best Seller Collection in the library. I realized that I had never read the second one, and despite my clear recall of the “eating live baby mice” scene from the first book, couldn’t remember much else about it. So I plowed through the first two, and picked up the third, simply for the sake of completion.

My major problem with Dean Koontz books is that they always seem to be either Stephen King knockoffs, or be really spectacular right up until the last ten pages, where the whole mess gets wrapped up with a disappointing ending. This series has a lot of promise, but damned if I don’t get the feeling that Koontz is just hoping the snappy one liners, interesting titular character, and occasional gore will cover up how damned SHALLOW all the other characterization is. In fact, the only reason that the female lead isn’t a complete cardboard cutout is *because* she is female. Therefore mushing all the traits of your average Rouge Cop with the Protective Mother/Sister trope gives her at least that one extra dimension. Despite all claims on the author’s part, there is absolutely NO chemistry between the female lead and the male lead. Their supposed sexual tension and banter reads more like a couple of good friends who are totally comfortable trying to break each other with sex jokes. There wasn’t even an “innocent flirting” aspect. There was just no spark at all.

There were way too many instances of “oh, and by the way, it just so happens I have this HANDY MACHINE/HELPER. You might even call it a GOD MACHINE/HELPER.” The creepy bug thing in the third book is an excellent example of this. The HANDY HELPER which saved the Big Bad for a few more chapters was based on something which the author made absolutely no mention of in any of the previous books. Something that the Big Bad, if he was truly the genius he thought he was, would have made better advance plans for than a HANDY HELPER which would be defeated by mere rain.

When I was done with the third book, I told Moose that if it hadn’t been a library book, I probably would have chucked it out the window of the car. I knew it was going to end terribly, that the climax would be disappointingly pat and tidy, and that everything would be wrapped up in the last ten pages of the book, just like all of Koontz’s previous novels. And yet, for some reason, I keep reading. I think I’m going to swear off Koontz books from here on out, unless it has “Odd” in the title. At least the Odd Thomas series uses the last twenty pages to wrap up the books.

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