When I was in my late teens I went on a bit of a Dean Koontz marathon. It was the early 90′s so even the stuff written in the 70′s hadn’t dated too badly at the point (no ubiquitous mobile phones for example). I ran through most of his back catalogue in a long summer and enjoyed pretty much all of what he wrote. It is true to say that when you read his works back to back, the lead characters become a little but samey- basically they are idealised versions of Koontz himself, generous caring chaps, a lot of them with special forces backgrounds that they don’t like to mention because they’re working as a mechanic or something or other now days.
It’s been a few years now since I read anything of his, although I keep on meaning to go back and read the Watcher as it’s one of the books I remember enjoying the most when I was younger. But since the weathers been terrible this week, I’ve not really wanted to haul Wolf Hall into work every day as its over 600 pages and a bit too much like hard work in that respect, so I have another book on the go at work.
The House of Thunder lies a little about its age, it purports to have been written in 1994 but that’s the first time it was published under Dean Koontz’s name as the author rather than a pseudonym. It’s really older, dating back to the early 1980′s. But that doesn’t really matter, that’s part of the joy of books, stuff that was written a few years ago is still relevant, it doesn’t become outdated or outmoded by the latest remake or sequel like TV or film does.
I can see why The House of Thunder wasn’t originally released under the name Dean Koontz. Although the writing style is definitely his, the nature of the book isn’t particularly (although he has visited the central themes of it again in the 90′s with False Memory).
I’m not going to give the central plot point away as that will render the book a bit pointless but you shouldn’t be more than half way through before you get the gist of the twist. It’s fairly well telegraphed. Some of the prose is a little poor, and the way Susan falls for her doctor isn’t handled in the most convincing manner- it is very facile and more than a little twee.
It’s not a long book, weighing in at 350 pages, so it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. When I’ve finished A Christmas Carol for our bookclub, I think I’ll try one of his newer books. Or maybe I’ll dig out my ancient copy of Watchers…