A great horror book!!!
This modern day fable of the supernatural is certainly a mixed bag. On the one hand, its as spooky, as creepy, as frightening and pulse pumpingly scary as a good ghost story can be expected to be. On the other hand, Mr Koontz elects to spend a lot of time with a certain group of characters (SPOILERS) in a way that starts out as cute but soon becomes repetitive and boring. That may sound like an overly harsh criticism, but read this book for yourself and you may see my point. Then again, you may not.
WTNK is a tale of revenge, destiny, fate, madness, evil in its purest form, hatred, and malice. Its also a tale of courage, bravery, defending your loved ones no matter what the cost, and its a tale of personal redemption. Detective John Calvino survived a brutal and murderous attack on his family twenty years ago, and despite the fact that the killer was stopped by Mr Calvino himself on the night, he has never failed to expect a return visit. Thats because he has come to believe in more than what he can see, what he can touch, and what he can feel. He has come to believe in the power of the dead, and their ability to rise again. And most of the struggle in this book that he faces lies in getting those he trusts to believe him.
And so the book ends on the classic and hauntingly (and generically) beautiful dark and stormy night. Thunder, lightening, a furious snow storm, winds as powerful as a gale one moment, and yet as tame as a kitten the next. Mr Koontz doesnt fail to deliver atmosphere in spades, here, and rarely a chapter goes by where the reader is not captured body, mind and soul by what they are reading.
The writing style is classic Koontz, and its up there with the best he has ever written. No overly long metaphysical and philosophical rants here, just a good old fashioned ghost story with atmospheric sub chapters to keep the blood flowing on a cold winter's night. But to be completely honest, its only right at the fantastic end that the hard core horror fan gets their money’s worth. Up to this point, screaming evil is only hinted at, but like i said, its when the book’s main character gets some down time with a former priest that we know that the you-know-what is about to hit the fan. If only we met this fallen angel sooner in the book, and that the hard core action came sooner, too, that would have lifted this book above the supernatural ordinary. But thay may not have been what Mr Koontz wanted to achieve here. Obviously it wasn't, since he wrote the book!
Is it the best Koontz book ever? No, but its certainly up there with the best Koontz horror novel ever. Without giving anything away, for Koontz completionists, there's a minor role from the family dog, and you guessed it, its a beautiful golden retriever. SPOILERS prevent me from giving any further information away. Four stars for WTNK. Its starts off light and fluffy, but just like a predicted change of weather, a thunderstorm appears on the horizon, and thats a queue for the book to change tone. And change it does. But not enough for me, even though it tries hard.