Thursday, March 10, 2011

What the Night Knows, by Dean Koontz

How I went through life without having read any of Dean Koontz's books truly astounds me. This book is a veritable gold mine to me; he has so many other books out and I cannot wait to get to them in the near future. And for next time, I'll be ready to expect supernatural elements in his books, something I did not expect for What the Night Knows (at least, not at first).

This book opens up with Detective John Calvino interviewing Billy Lucas, a 14 year old student who until recently, was a model son and friend, and an upstanding citizen. That is, until he butchered his mother, father, sister, and grandmother in cold blood in their house. The similarities between this massacre and those 20 years earlier of 2 other families, and then his own, spark an interest for Calvino, who sees too much in common to leave it to coincidence. Luckily for him, his detective hunches pay off. It appears to be the work of the man who slaughtered the Calvino family 20 years earlier, Alton Turner Blackwood, the same murderer who was shot to death by young John Calvino. Could it be? Is Blackwood back from the dead, keeping his promise to continue destroying Calvino's life even from beyond the grave?

From the moment I picked this book up, I assumed it was a generic murder mystery, similar to Patterson's work but with more emphasis on the personal aspect of the crimes, and less on the police investigations that the Cross series relies on so heavily. Apparently, Koontz prefers writing ghost stories, and the supernatural elements he threw into the mix in this book were enough to keep me up at night the first night I sat up with it. Maybe it was that I was not expecting it, but Dean Koontz has a way with literature that keeps this from being a cheesy horror ghost story; he makes the events in the book seem so real, they could happen to my own family! Thankfully I'm not too big a believer in supernatural beings, and Heaven and Hell, and all that jazz, but I was still sufficiently spooked, to say the least! I congratulate and highly recommend this book, and certainly hope his other books live up to the hype (especially the Odd Thomas series, which I was recently introduced to and hope to get started on sometime soon or over the summer).

There you have it. A nice, short entry on an outstanding suspense novel. I just started two new books (Clive Barker's Sacrament and Conspirata by Robert Harris), so there won't be much new postings by me for a while. I'll try to get a few more posts up of some of my favorite books of Summer/Fall 2010 though, since I read quite a few excellent ones... Keep reading!!


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