Friday, January 18, 2008

Book Review: The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

Last year Dean Koontz's beloved golden retriever Trixie died. In response he wrote 'The Darkest Evening of the Year' as a love story to his departed dog, and to all the dogs of the world.

The novel is about Amy, who runs a rescue network for golden retrievers, and her boyfriend Brian. They are both good people, but they both have dangerous dark secrets and, as it happens when you have dangerous dark secrets, they have a habit of coming out of the past to get you.

'The Darkest Evening of the Year' is written with the effortless style that Dean Koontz has perfected in his most recent books and, like many of his books, takes place over a very short period of time. There are thrills, deaths, evil people, good people, dogs and a down syndrome child. However, this book is about dogs above anything else. It is a sentimental look at how great dogs are, what wonderful companions they are, how they can heal us and bring us closer to God, and how much it hurts when they die. It is also about how much they are abused and tortured in our modern world. It feels like Koontz wrote this to honour Trixie (there is a touching dedication to his wife that she will meet up with Trixie in heaven and a picture of the dog at the end of the book) and to help cope with the grief of losing her. This love story to Trixie, and all canine kind, overwhelms anything else and leaves the human story a little flat. The first half of the book is almost exclusively taken up with dogs, leaving the main part of the action to happen in the second half and as a result it feels very rushed. I love dogs, and I love Dean Koontz, so I enjoyed this book, but it is certainly not on par with the excellent 'Brother Odd' and took me 6 days to read, compared to the usual 2 that it takes me to devour the latest Koontz helping.

If you love dogs, read it. If you can't stand them or don't want to read about them, then give this novel a miss. My rating 8/10

1 comment:

Valinora Troy said...

Hope I'm on the list for reading it?