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The Darkest Evening of the Year

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  20,111 ratings  ·  1,343 reviews
Amy Redwing's risk-taking on behalf of desperate dogs is legendary. Is it this reckless devotion to her work that prevents her making a commitment to the love of her life, Brian McCarthy? Or is it the dark secret she is carrying, a secret which is about to come back to haunt them both.
Paperback, 440 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by HarperTorch (first published 2007)
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So far, I love this book. The writing is so lyrical, so tight. It's exactly how I want my writing to sound.

Well, I finished the book, and I feel cheated by several things.

First, I read sometime ago that Dean Koontz doesn't consider himself to be a horror writer. I've read some of his other stuff, and it's sci-fi creepy, but not horror. This book contains some of the most gruesome things I've ever read. (Okay, I don't read lots of horror, so maybe I don't even know what gruesome is. The descript
This book made me wonder why Dean Koontz is a bestselling author. The language is elementary and his overuse of metaphors (I am talking about 1-2 in a paragraph) made me feel insulted that I was reading a book that a 10 year old could understand. It just shows the general intelligence of the American people isn't at an all-time high.

I bought this book because the subject of dogs and animal shelters played a big role in the plot. This subject interests me intensly, but even with that it was diff

This is an example of a writer writing simply to meet the deadline. A mish-mash of various things done previously bakes into a cake of laughable, eye rolling nonsense. The characters are paper thin, the story reaches the level of low mediocrity at best, all of this is decorated in pseudo profundity and revealed truths coming both from good and bad characters - dogs are better than people/existence has no meaning etc etc etc.
Dogs in this novel...let's just say that the main character ref
Dogs, lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you're going to lose a dog, and there's going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can't support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There's such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a ...more
Opening Line: " Behind the wheel of the Ford Expedition, Amy Redwing drove as if she were immortal and therefore safe at any speed."

I read THE DARKEST EVENING OF THE YEAR for a book club challenge although admittedly it had been sitting on my TBR shelf for a couple of years. I was happy to finally find a reason to stop passing it over (in favour of vampire romance and testosterone filled Navy Seals) and get into a good horror novel. Unfortunately I now wished I’d left it sitting on the shelf bec
The Book Maven
This is only the second Dean Koontz book that I have read, and I gave it three stars only because it was compelling, despite its flaws.

I believe it is often the case that the flaws with a book are as much a result of my own expectations being overinflated as it is flaws with the actual book itself. I think this book is one of those types of books. Based on the reviews, I thought the book had both a compelling title and premise--a brave woman rescues Golden retrievers for her life's work, and one
I love all of Dean Koontz's books. But I especially love the ones with dogs in them. "Watchers" remains my favorite of all his books, and Einstein is the reason we got a golden retriever.

"The Darkest Evening of the Year" involves a woman who rescues goldens and rehabilitates them, then finds new homes for them. She has a dark secret in her past that she doesn't want to let into the light of day, not even to her closest friend and lover. He has secrets of his own to protect.

When they discover the
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
2007 Thoughts:Enjoyed the book very much. This book was very personal for Koontz as his Golden Retriever, Trixie passed away and the novel features a Golden Retriever hero named Nickie. Koontz had his usual disability representative - this time a little girl called Hope who has Downs Syndrome. A great story in Koontz's trademark style of good vs. evil and profound thoughts on life. Better than The Good Guy - great ending, beginning and everything in between. 4 stars.

2012 Thoughts: The Darkest Ev
Nicholas Beck
This was an interesting book to say the least. There were many unexpected twists the story took which I was not anticipating. Koontz is a master with words and this book is only one more example of his literary genius and mastery with the craft if writing. I know that most people don't see this novel as Koontz's best work, but I don't feel the same way. There is a discernible difference with this book which makes it stand apart from a lot of the others which may be the reasons for some people no ...more
This is not a good book. It has all of the elements that D. Koontz is famous for: creepy villains, supernatural events, metaphorical sentences, and of course dogs. However, it never really found its groove with me. I think he spends too much time describing the lives surrounding several intertwining hitmen who ultimately bring very little to the story. Not to mention that each of them has several different names and aliases - which adds to the confusion. I think he intended to write a story that ...more
Yakov G.
The darkest evening is like going into a whole new life and at first you love everything about your new life then all of a sudden it’s not what you expect it to be. At first you are okay with but you start to see things go wrong and all of a sudden it become a fight for survival or life and death situation. It’s a really good book and I like everything about because I love history but for other people they won’t like the extra details the book gives you. I think people who love adventure and his ...more
This was a quick read. The author extols the virtues of golden retrievers and a dog's ability to help heal broken people. He also tries to raise awareness of the cruelty of puppy mills. Amy, the main character of the story, has a secret past and spends her days rescuing golden retrievers from unfit homes. Add a love interest, some eeriness, and a few really evil people out to get them and that pretty much sums up the story.
Blah, blah, blah...blah, blah, blah.

Just another Koontz novel, which is also the last Koontz book I will read. If you've read one of his books, you've read them all.

Blue Eyed Vixen
Jan 08, 2010 Blue Eyed Vixen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of dark and twisted tales - not hard horror, more of a thriller
Shelves: mystery-thriller
People Magazine's Critics Choice desrcibes this book as "Silence of The Lambs meets Marley & Me"

I am never disappointed when I pick up a Koontz book - NEVER. How often can you say this about an author?

*Trivia fact* This book was dedicated to Koontz's own Golden Retriever Trixie. Trixie has "guess blogged" on Koontz's website and there are several books based on Trixie how gives advice - how cute!

This story is light on the horror but no less an enjoyable roller coaster ride. I love how the di
I now know why I had never been interested in Dean Koontz novels prior to reading this one...and why I will never read another one again.

1. The man can't write. The last line of the novel (and I am giving nothing away by writing this) reads, "Miracles happen that nobody sees, and among us walk heroes who are never recognized, and people live in loneliness because they cannot believe they are loved, and, yes, Amy and Brian were married." Thank you, O Wise One, for enlightening me with your vast
Jenn Kunz
I can't think of any book I've ever been more annoyed and disappointed with. I bought it because I haven't read anything by Mr. Koontz, and since our last names are similar I figured I should get an informed opinion. The only reason I finished the book is because I kept thinking "surely it's going to get better... there must be some reason people buy these books!" But alas, I finished it last night and... it was crappy up to the very last page.
I knew the book would be a struggle for me when on t
Dean Koontz – The Darkest evening of the year

I was recommended Deans books by a friend and though I’d give it a go and I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Narrated, the book is based around Amy and her boyfriend Brian, though the book tell the tale of other characters that are all interlinked in some way with Amy, even if she doesn’t know them.

Amy has a passion to rescue dogs especially golden retrievers and at the beginning of the book, she rescues a particular dog named Nickie, which se
Jennifer Wardrip
I really loved this title, much more so than Mr. Koontz's last two releases, THE GOOD GUY and THE HUSBAND. Although this title follows in the same vein as regards to time (it only covers roughly 48-hours), it has characters who are easier to relate to and a chilling, supernatural-based storyline.

As the other reviewer mentions, it's a kind of memorial to Mr. Koontz's own Golden Retreiver, Trixie, who has passed away. In the book, a dog named Nickie is at the center of the story, along with the hu
I like Koontz's style, but I wouldn't call him a horror writer. Not any more. The only links to horror are his allusions and similes. Like when he writes about the lighthouse cutting through the fog like the scythe of death.

The title of the book doesn't lend anything to the story that I could see. The story seems well conceived and thought out until the last chapter, which felt thrown together for the sake of a deadline. Perhaps after this novel, he can get past putting a Golden Retriever in e
Vicki G
I was going to give it 4 stars until the end.
Of course I still wish more writers contacted people who work in Emergency Medicine, which they don't do because they think every doctor alive is well-versed in Emergency Medical procedures when in reality the most knowledgeable people on the topic are either Trauma Surgeons and Emergency Medical Physicians.
Contrary to popular belief, Emergency Medicine is a specialty, just like Cardiology and Neurology. It's the newest official specialty but it's sti
Rebecca McNutt
Interesting book, but I have to admit I didn't pay too much attention to the main character (who has an unnatural love for dogs). I was more interested in the story of "Piggy", the little girl who was abused and then rescued. It was disturbing but original and I'm glad it ended happily despite the various tragedies throughout the plot.
Another fluffy Koontz book, and I dont mean furry, although it is that too. I mean that I find his narrative mildly addicting, but the the conclusion is always a bit of a let down - most especially with this one. Listening to it on CD/Ipod it was good for a long drive and solitary business journey.

Shawnee Bowlin
Dean Koontz is my favorite murder mystery writer. He doesn't disappoint in this book. Even if no one else would like the book, dog lovers should find it worth their time. Being an animal lover myself, I was delighted that Koontz chose to include a dog as one of the "good guys" in this story.
Despite his many foibles and tics, I usually enjoy Dean Koontz's books, sometimes almost despite those tics. And I find his love of Golden Retrievers amusingly charming - the man loves his dogs - and certainly I think one of his best books is Watchers and it works there (and in some of his other works).

That said, wow, I really disliked Darkest Evening of the Year. It started with his rapturous, over-the-top love of goldens... it stopped feeling like a charming quirk and turned into this slobberi
I would give this a 2.5. did not like this book very much. It is broke down viewing different scenarios going on. I like the part with Amy and her rescuing golden retrievers. the different scenarios eventually tie in with each other. There are truly evil people in this book. It can get a bit gruesome. I liked some parts of the book better than others. there are also some sad parts of this book as well such as the way a little girl with downs syndrome is treated by her mother and her boyfriend. t ...more
Sue Waite-langley
Dean Koontz generally flies through the ending of his stories as though one of his demons is chasing him...and often this leads to disappointment. Ideas that change at the end with no rhyme or reasons or questions answered that needed no answer while leaving others begging for a conclusion is cause you to swear off ever reading him again. The Darkest Evening of the Year is no exception to this rule except that in this case, that flying ending truly makes no difference. The s ...more
Good book! I am very much a fan of Dean's works!
Wow - this is by far my favorite Dean Koontz book. I usually read these when I'm travelling - they're easy and keep me awake and entertained on the plane or train or whatever. However, I rarely remember his books. I know I've read about 7 or 8 of his books, but when I see a title of one, I am not sure if that is one. I'll get through a few chapters before recognizing the story, usually not remembering the end anyway.

In this case, I will never forget this book (maybe). He wrote about the love of
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
THE DARKEST EVENING OF THE YEAR is typical of Dean Koontz at his best. Well, to begin with, anyway. It is clear that Mr Koontz has a major love affair with humanity, and with everything good about it. It is also clear that he loves (or adores) dogs. Golden Retrievers in particular, And I don’t blame him. They are gorgeous animals. It is not the first time such a beast has featured in a Koontz novel, either. The star of the show in ONE DOOR AWAY FROM HEAVEN was a Golden Retriever. And what a book ...more
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Koontzland - Dean...: The Darkest Evening of the Year (Group Read - November 2012) 32 71 Mar 11, 2013 07:43PM  
Dogs are special creatures. 7 64 Feb 20, 2012 11:51AM  
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Acknowledged as "America's most popular suspense novelist" (Rolling Stone) and as one of today's most celebrated and successful writers, Dean Ray Koontz has earned the devotion of millions of readers around the world and the praise of critics everywhere for tales of character, mystery, and adventure that strike to the core of what it means to be human.

Dean R. Koontz has also published under the na
More about Dean Koontz...
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“Because God is never cruel, there is a reason for all things. We must know the pain of loss; because if we never knew it, we would have no compassion for others, and we would become monsters of self-regard, creatures of unalloyed self-interest. The terrible pain of loss teaches humility to our prideful kind, has the power to soften uncaring hearts, to make a better person of a good one.” 744 likes
“Dogs, lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you're going to lose a dog, and there's going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can't support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There's such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and the mistakes we make because of those illusions.” 204 likes
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