Book Review: Night Chills By Dean Koontz

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Originally I grabbed this for my sister when we were browsing in our local Goodwill store. She’s a huge Koontz fan, so I threw it in the cart. Once we got home, however, I read the back cover.

“The nightmare is real. And death is the only cure…”

I decided this looked like an interesting read and picked it up myself. Here are my thoughts.

‘Night Chills’ starts off a bit on the confusing side since the main character isn’t introduced right away. The tale begins with strange men creeping in the small town of Black River, Main’s water supply, doing something that seems shady…and it is, though the reader has no clue just how shady we’re talking here just yet.

Our protagonist (still hate that word), Paul Annendale is your usual upstanding citizen. He’s bringing his two children to Black River to go on a yearly camping trip. This is his mistake. He rolls into town as a strange outbreak of a 24 hour flu is going around. Night chills that wake you and shake you for almost an hour. Doesn’t sound like a flu, does it?

The story progresses with the reader meeting a couple of really bad men, Ogden Salsbury and Leonard Dawson. These are bad guys to an ultimate degree, with an agenda that will serve their greed. Power, money and sex. How do they pan to do this? Subliminal mind control.

The other important characters are long time Black River residents, Sam Edison and his daughter, Jenny whom Paul is in love with. This love is touched upon once or twice in this book.

The story unfolds into murder, rape, mayhem, the unthinkable and utter chaos after meeting these initial characters. A little too fast. The breakneck speed in which the scene goes entirely insane (and very jaw dropping), leaves you wondering why the beginning of the book moved at a snails pace. It felt so rushed, that though I did get to know the characters, I felt like they were acquaintances rather than friends. They became very one dimensional. For instance, it seemed there had been no need to explore a love story between Paul and Jenny. It really had nothing to do with the story. There was also a character that was introduced and elaborated upon at length that was very important to the story, but only saw about five pages max before being quickly taken out of the picture…

Then…

BAM!! It ends so fast and so suddenly that I had to sit a minute and ask what the hell just happened. It was the ending from a fairy tale. A seriously messed up fairy tale where lives are partially or totally ruined forever and innocent people die, but all ends hunky dory and it happens in the literal turn of a page… It’s just… then the poop hits the fan (flip) and they all lived as happily ever after with major emotional damage.

I like quick books, but not at the expense of building a full story and making me, the reader fall in love with the characters. On the other hand I didn’t lose ‘Gone With The Wind’ amounts of time reading this.

The scariest part of this book, for me was the forward where Koontz explains that there was very little made up by him about subliminal mind control. If he was saying this in 1976, how the hell much further have humans come in the world of subliminal mind altering? Paranoid.

This is in no way a definitive bad review on Koontz as a writer. I have read so many great books by him, perhaps this was just a dud for me. I will continue to read his work, so I guess I’ll find out. This was written in 1976, so perhaps it was just a young author finding his feet. Maybe I’m full of it. Go ahead and give this book a go for yourself and let me know your thoughts

If there are any topics you would like me to cover in my reviews that I’m not hitting on, I would love the feedback. I’m not a professional, but a mere newbie. Also, please feel free to follow my blog if you like what you’ve read.

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