Friday, February 22, 2008
I've never read Dean Koontz before, but I wanted to read The Darkest Evening of the Year when I heard the main character worked in dog rescue. Unfortunately, the book annoyed me from the very first overwritten sentence: "Behind the wheel of the Ford Expedition, Amy Redwing drove as if she were immortal and therefore safe at any speed." (Yes, I would have figured out she was speeding if you'd quit before the conjunction. Do Koontz's readers really require things to be spelled out so much?) I continued with the book -- despite its not-so-wonderful writing, misused semicolons, and bizarrely short paragraphs -- because of the dogs, and I really only enjoyed the parts with the dogs. Those sections were lovely and descriptive, with excellent detail of the dogs' behavior (indeed, the dogs were better characterized than many of the humans). The rest of the book I pretty much skimmed, and I still got the whole story, which left me entirely underwhelmed.
I do highly commend Koontz for all of the information in the book about dog rescue and puppy mills. He clearly loves dogs and is doing a great service to the rescue world by getting the message out this way. It's not at all preachy, but he makes sure his readers see how important it is to choose rescue and shelter dogs, or at least to go with reputable breeders rather than the backyard breeders or puppy-mill sellers. For that alone, I wish great success for this book.