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Gurglings of a Putrid Stream

Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.

See also:  http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart

My name:  Brian Martin

Phantoms by Dean Koontz

Phantoms - Dean Koontz

The quotation from Stephen King on the back cover of my paperback edition: “Gruesome. Unrelenting.” No indication of quality, just a couple of observations about the presentation. Like saying, “Action-packed,” to describe Sucker Punch.

Dialogue isn’t one of Koontz’ strong points. Neither is characterization. Here we have a 14-year-old girl who never behaves like a child, so she might as well be 28. Here we have a cop who, with his heavy-lidded eyes and his ingratiating manner, fools people into thinking he isn’t too bright, but who, of course, is a brilliant detective. (Koontz, however, doesn’t dedicate the book to or even thank Peter Falk.) And over here we have a pretty, young woman doctor who states that even if a guy beat and raped her, she’d still give him the best medical care she could if she found him bleeding out on the street. She’s not religious, either, which is strange, since she treats the Hippocratic Oath like one of the Ten Commandments. (Funnily enough, the character she’s referring to turns out to be a prolific serial killer.)

The book doesn’t end well. Oh, it smarmily ties up every loose end, but even before that, Koontz generates his climax from a ridiculously unbelievable bit of scientific investigation. In Jurassic Park, Crichton created dinosaurs from a simple mosquito. Here, Koontz does basically the reverse. And, yes, it’s just about that deflating.

These criticisms aren’t the sort that occur to you only after an enthralled reading of the book. Regrettably, they occur with regularity throughout.

By the way, the movie, also written by Koontz, is worse in every way.