"...the story and the characters themselves drew me in and the whole formulaic thing didn't even bother me anymore."
I'd like to start this off by saying I haven't read a Dean Koontz book in quite a long time. I would say--except for one momentary slip with Odd Thomas--it's been at least ten years. This doesn't mean I don't like Koontz. Far from it. The only issue I have ever had with his writing (and this took time to develop) is that over the last decade and a half it has become incredibly formulaic. Which drives me insane.
Within the first few pages you are introduced to the protagonist, Amy Redwing. You immediately discover that she is an orphan, left at a church when she was two, by an unknown individual. She has dedicated her life to rescuing dogs, specifically golden retrievers. But she is basically shrouded in mystery, which seems to hold her back from fully committing to her boyfriend.
The two of them rescue a very special golden named Nickie, whose behavior baffles everyone she encounters. The sense of mystery continues throughout, as Amy is spied on, followed and eventually lured into danger along with her boyfriend and Nickie. Something I've always loved about Koontz, he's absolutely amazing when it comes to drawing the reader into the adventurous (and many time perilous) sensation of the story. And this one has plenty of it.
When I began with this particular Koontz book, I believe I stopped about a quarter of the way in and didn't touch it again for three years. (Okay, sorry, I sorta lied. Besides Odd Thomas I did also begin one other Koontz book.) I wound up coming back to it when my husband happened to purchase it for me on a whim. I figured I was being too negative anyway.
Well in some ways I was, but I wasn't wrong for that. It did still have that slightly formulaic feel. A young, pretty woman with a mysterious past, a Golden Retriever, a lovesick young man and an evil monstrous villain. Standard Koontz. However, the story and the characters themselves drew me in and the whole formulaic thing didn't even bother me anymore.
I fell in love with the dog (of course) and found myself constantly wanting to know what the reason was for all of the things Koontz kept throwing at me with this story. I didn't guess any of the twists, turns, or overall plot, which was a relief. And I gradually began choosing this book over the others I was also in the middle of. That alone told me it was a good story and certainly one worth finishing.
I DO recommend this book. There are parts that still annoy me, but I'm thinking that's what Koontz wanted. It all worked and came together in the end.
There are some slightly hokey moments, but those also have their own appeal. If you've read a lot of Koontz, it won't bother you. There were many moments where I wanted to reach into the pages and strangle some of the characters. Again though, I'm pretty sure that's what he would have wanted.
I'm definitely going to be reading more of him now. This makes me happy, as he was a favorite of mine throughout the nineties.
Happy reading, everyone.