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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

"The Good Guy" by Dean Koontz

Official Dean Koontz Website
Buy “The Good GuyHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE

As far as favorites go, author Dean Koontz ranks right up there at the top of my list. Part of the reason is that I was really into horror and suspense before I became consumed with fantasy and science fiction. So, I’ve read a lot more of Koontz than I have any other writer, starting way back in the early 90s when I became instantly hooked by such novels as “Phantoms", “Watchers”, “Whispers”, “Night Chills” and personal favorites “Lightning” and “Dark Rivers of the Heart”. Since then, I’ve attempted, and mostly succeeded in reading all of Mr. Koontz’s works, and every year I eagerly look forward to his new releases including his latest, “The Good Guy”.

At first glance the premise for “The Good Guy” sounds pretty familiar…a normal person who is suddenly thrust into a dangerous and hopeless situation à la Koontz’sIntensity”, “Velocity” or “The Husband”. Of course, like those books, the circumstances and characters in “The Good Guy” are much more complicated than they first appear to be, and part of the fun of reading the novel is experiencing the inevitable shocks and revelations that Mr. Koontz has provided for his readers. Another part is the fast pacing and nonstop thrills that makes “The Good Guy” another page-turner that is easy to finish in a day or two. So, in these regards Koontz doesn’t disappoint, though I felt the overall story for “The Good Guy” was a bit bland compared to some of the author’s better works.

Character-wise, Dean Koontz once again delivers a compelling combination of likeable heroes/heroines, interesting villains and strong supporting players including protagonist Timothy Carrier, a mason, writer Linda Paquette, Tim’s friend and police officer Pete Santo and hired killer Krait. Usually Mr. Koontz does a great job of writing his leading man/lady, and while Tim and Linda are both well developed and sport nice chemistry with each other…note the witty banter, a Koontz trademark…bad guy Krait is easily the most fascinating character in the book. In my opinion, Tim is just a bit too infallible, Linda seemed more like a secondary player, and Pete’s role was practically insubstantial at best, so that basically left Krait, an unemotional environmentalist who can’t remember anything of his past before the age of eighteen. Need I say more…

Overall “The Good Guy” is another solid entry in the Dean Koontz library, which has been sort of hit and miss recently since the newer books tend to rehash a lot of familiar themes and ideas. Personally, I think the book falls somewhere in the middle…not as enjoyable as "Odd Thomas", "Fear Nothing", “Life Expectancy” or "The Taking", but definitely better than the Christopher Snow & Odd Thomas sequels as well as some of the author’s other works. To be honest though, as much as I love all of Koontz’s novels, and as much as he has improved as a writer over the years, I really miss his earlier horror/supernatural-themed material and to any first-time Koontz readers I would recommend checking out those books first before trying out his more recent releases. Myself, despite any disappointments I may harbor, I will continue to be a loyal Koontz fan and already I’m highly anticipating his next novel, “The Darkest Evening of the Year”, which has been announced for a late November 2007 release…


Reanimated said...

Hey dude,

Nice review. I was a huge Koontz fan back in the day. I keep meaning to catch up on some of his latest releases but I never get around to it. Soon! My earliest favs were Phantoms and Twilight Eyes.


Robert said...

I forgot about Twilight Eyes. Man, so many of Koontz's early stuff was great. At some point I'll have to revisit all of them. If only I had more time...

{Steve Rapaport} said...

I enjoyed "The Good Guy" and also "Dark Rivers of the Heart", until, a few hours after finishing the latter, I realized that their plot synopses would be virtually identical.

I mean, REALLY identical. Did he really like "Dark Rivers" so much he felt it needed a remake?

How's this?
Quiet guy with military/law enforcement past spooks capable, self-sufficient lady who knows too much. They find themselves together and slowly falling in love as they flee from a relentless, creepily mild-mannered psychopath.

The psychopath turns out to be backed by a shadowy US government agency/conspiracy responsible to nobody, which has virtually unlimited resources and kills anyone who knows too much about it. No matter how far or fast they run, the agency can track them down, and only their combined grit and technology and military experience keep them alive long enough to survive a showdown with the psychopath.

The psychopath tracks them down to the hero's family's original home, and uses his parents against him, but in the end it's just a matter of whose gun shoots and scores first.

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