Relentless is filled with humor, suspense and intensity making it a fast paced thriller and a speedy read. For me, reading Relentless was By the Light...moreRelentless is filled with humor, suspense and intensity making it a fast paced thriller and a speedy read. For me, reading Relentless was By the Light of the Moon meets Life Expectancy - these are two of my most favorite by Dean Koontz and so naturally, I really like this book! I must say, my expectations were pretty low after reading Your Heart Belongs to Me (2008), but with this one Koontz has redeemed himself.
In a way, Relentless is similar to Velocity but I prefer Relentless. When I was reading Velocity, I was annoyed because it really wasn't clear whether it was all in the main character's head and I was also annoyed that he did not go to the police. In Relentless, it was explained why the family could not go to the police and with the three characters sharing their experience, it was clear the acts of Shearmann Waxx were not just imagined. I did find myself yelling at the characters in Relentless a few times, saying things like "tell your son, let him help you", "don't open that door, sheriff!" or "Just shoot him while you've got the chance!".
As the story opened it seemed to me that Dean had used himself and his wife Gerda in the main roles of Cubby and Penny. I loved all the characters that were created for this story the Booms were dynamite and Mr. Waxx, well he was simply an enema.
I don't read fast but it only took me 4 days to get through the 356 pages of Relentless. While (view spoiler)[I don't understand much about intellectual extremists or why Penny would ever put a gun to Cubby's head, (hide spoiler)] I would definitely rank Relentless as one of Koontz best.
Some of my favorite passages/quotes from Relentless include:
"I'm small, I'm young - and I'm so different. You've always respected that difference, and you've always trusted it. Trust me now. There's a reason I am the way I am, and there's a reason I was born to you. There's always a reason. We belong together." - Milo
"If the three of us don't know what we're looking for and we look for it together, we'll find it or we won't find it quicker than you would or wouldn't find it on your own." - Penny
"I'm going in, and I'm going to pretend you came with me, while you can sit here and pretend I stayed with you, so then we'll have gone in an not gone in together." - Milo
"In spite of where we were, how we had gotten here, and why we had come, I felt that at this moment of our lives, this was exactly where we belonged. We were not drifting but rising, rising toward something right and of significance." - Cubby
"That was interesting, riding in the trunk," Milo said, "but I wouldn't want to do it again."
"Fire, ice, asteroids and pole shifts are bogeymen with which we distract ourselves from the real threat of our time. In an age when everyone invents his own truth, there is no community, only factions. Without community, there can be no consensus to resist the greedy, the envious, the power-mad narcissists who seize control and turn the institutions of civilization into a series of doom machines."["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Excellent! I'd say it's even better than Fergus Crane, which was the first book in the Far Flung Adventure Series. Corby Flood builds upon elements fr...moreExcellent! I'd say it's even better than Fergus Crane, which was the first book in the Far Flung Adventure Series. Corby Flood builds upon elements from Fergus Crane, but is an entirely different story in an entire different setting. This series is truly remarkable! These books are well worth reading; they are easy to read, original, and entertaining – better than Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Corby Flood features five sinister clowns with “text-style” names such as: Mr. Garamond, Mr. Franklin-Gothic and Mr. Times-Roman. Like Harry Potter, Corby Flood features new made up sports, but unlike Harry Potter, it's not just one sport. Like Fergus Crane, creative inventions and engineering are featured.
A fun sample passage from Corby Flood:
“...'but don't cry little one. Konstantin Pavel will get you back to your parents and your sister and your brothers.”
“You will?” said Corby, wiping her eyes.
“Yes,” said the mayor, “but first I must know one thing.”
“Yes?” said Corby.
“Why?” said the mayor, “are you dressed as a bumblebee?”(less)
I think this is a fun trilogy – Hugo Pepper is book 3. It's amazing how different each of these Far Flung Adventures are written, yet they remain inte...moreI think this is a fun trilogy – Hugo Pepper is book 3. It's amazing how different each of these Far Flung Adventures are written, yet they remain interconnected. I'm not sure if I can say that Hugo Pepper is my favorite of the series, but it was very interesting and like the other two, extremely high quality in both story an illustrations.
Hugo Pepper is written in a unique style – short stories give parts of a lager story, but not in chronological order – I liked the stories within within a story format. I liked the idea that mermaids like to go for walks, just like people like to go for swims. Another creative idea was that snow men of the North have huge feet but very small bodies and are hardly every seen, thus creating the myth of large snow monsters.
This author team has also created The Edge Chronicles and the Barnaby Grimes series – I plan both of these series sometime soon! (less)
Extremely well-written with superb illustrations. I have read all of the Far Flung Adventures – this is book one of three. I plan to read The Edge Chr...moreExtremely well-written with superb illustrations. I have read all of the Far Flung Adventures – this is book one of three. I plan to read The Edge Chronicles soon – a series of seven books by the same authors.
One character in Fergus Crane who I really like is Uncle Theo, an inventor who instead of using a wheelchair, uses a walking chair.
A fascinating tale of fantasy and adventure. The other two Far Flung Adventures (Corby Flood and Hugo Pepper) build upon story elements (characters, setting, history) introduced in Fergus Crane; they are all completely different, finely crafted stories.(less)
**spoiler alert** I think this book is a good way to introduce readers to ghost towns of Western America. I know it got me wanting to visit places lik...more**spoiler alert** I think this book is a good way to introduce readers to ghost towns of Western America. I know it got me wanting to visit places like Virginia City, Nevada, Bodie, California and Tombstone, Arizona. I like that Nixon chose seven different towns from seven different states. The only one of the seven I've visited is Grafton, Utah because I grew up in Southern Utah.
Each story is based on some history and after the story Nixon gives more background on the ghost town featured, directions and contacts for more information. The author lets readers know which ghost towns are public and which are privately owned, which towns have been restored etc.In the back of the book Nixon gives her advice or “helpful hints” for visiting ghost towns.
As I began reading this book, I really had my doubts whether it was worth my time – the beginning stories seemed rather cheesy. Some of the shorter stories didn't work well because there was barely enough length to introduce the characters and setting before the story was ending. Other elements in the stories didn't fit such as a ghost dog needing help because some bullies were gonna throw stones at it. I thought the stories seemed to get better as the book went along. My top 3 favorite ghost stories of the seven presented in Ghost Town are: 1) “Trade – Off” - Fort Griffin, Texas 2) “Bad Man From Bodie” - Bodie, California and 3) “The Intruders” - Maiden, Montana.
My favorite passage is from my favorite story of the book, “Trade-Off”. This is the only story in the book that tells the story from the perspective of ghosts themselves:
“Keep your eyes open for the right opportunity for a trade-off,” Sergeant Holter had answered. “Luck means being prepared when the right opportunity comes along.” Josh had been puzzled. “What's a trade-off?” he asked. “It's an even trade between you and someone living. You trade your situation for his.” “You mean I'd become him, and he'd cross over to this side and become me?” “Only if he asks to make the change.” …. “Trade-offs don't take place often, but they do happen. You look for someone who's discontented, someone whose body you wouldn't mind inhabiting, and be ready for the trade. No problem. You just have to keep looking for that opportunity and make the most of it.”(less)
"Some lives, conducted with grace, are beautiful arcs bridging this world to eternity."
"No one's life should be rooted in fear. We are born for wonder...more"Some lives, conducted with grace, are beautiful arcs bridging this world to eternity."
"No one's life should be rooted in fear. We are born for wonder, for joy, for hope, for love, to marvel at the mystery of existence, to be ravished by the beauty of the world, to seek truth and meaning, to acquire wisdom, and by our treatment of others to brighten the corner where we are."
"No one can grant you happiness. Happiness is a choice we all have the power to make."
Ever since first reading this book 2005, I have considered it my very favorite Dean Koontz novel. After reading it for the third time, this masterpiece retains it's rank of my #1 favorite :-) I will admit it has some fierce competition with "By the Light of the Moon", "Relentless" and "Cold Fire", but it stands as a shining star of my favorites for it's superb mix of simplicity, humor, suspense and twists. It's lessons on life and family are wonderful - the clowns and aerialists are entertaining :-) and we mustn't forget Grandma Roweena (my favorite character in the story)
I love reading this book. I've read it four times now and the effect is without exception interesting, frequently astonishing and always positive. It'...moreI love reading this book. I've read it four times now and the effect is without exception interesting, frequently astonishing and always positive. It's a beautiful book with a great title - so great that I have the phrase "BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON" tattooed on my right arm. I enjoy the power of positivity which radiates from this volume of literature. The idea that we create our own reality by our thoughts and the difference for good that individuals can make in the world is elaborated on in this amazing story.(less)
This is the Dean Koontz I love! I listened to this as an audio book a few years ago and was thrilled to re-experience the story in print. Cold Fire wa...moreThis is the Dean Koontz I love! I listened to this as an audio book a few years ago and was thrilled to re-experience the story in print. Cold Fire was published in 1991, after The Bad Place and before Koontz starting coming out with 2-3 novels each year. Some issues examined in Cold Fire include: Environmentalism, Religion and Mental Illness. Like many Koontz novels, this work crosses over many genres including: Science Fiction, Mystery, Suspense and Adventure.
It appears that Koontz has created a fictional work within his work of fiction: The Black Windmill, reportedly written by Arthur J. Willott. We of course know that Koontz is and expert at creating fictional names and works, claiming they were written by someone else but really the author is Dean R. Koontz. Another example of this is The Book of Counted Sorrows from which the following quote appears twice in Cold Fire to introduce readers to both part one and two of the story:
"In the real world as in dreams, nothing is quite what it seems."
A windmill is a central focal point of this story and the imagery is wonderful :
"Night pressed at the narrow windows, which were almost like castle embrasures in the limestone walls. Rain tapped against the glass. Suddenly, with a creak of unoiled and half-rusted machinery, the four great wooden sails of the mill began to turn outside, faster and faster, cutting like giant scythes through the damp air. The upright shaft, which came out of the ceiling and vanished through a bore in the center of the floor, also began to turn , briefly creating the illusion that the round floor itself were rotating in the manner of a carousel. One level below, the ancient millstones started to roll against each other, producing a soft rumble like distant thunder".
Another great imagery example from four pages earlier in the story (this one much shorter): "Night floated down like a great tossed cape of almost weightless black silk".
Some of my other favorite quotes:
On Religion: "I'm reluctant to believe that some statue of the Holy Mother wept real tears in a church in Cincinnati or Peoria or Teaneck last week after the Wednesday-night bingo games, witnesses only by two teenagers and the parish cleaning lady. And I'm not ready to believe that a shadow resembling Jesus, cast on someone's garage wall by a yellow bug light, is a sign of impending apocalypse. God works in mysterious ways, but not with bug lights and garage walls."
On Evil: "There's too much darkness in some people, corruption that could never be cleaned out in five lifetimes of rehabilitation. Evil is real, it walks the earth. Sometimes the devil works by persuasion. Sometimes he just sets loose these sociopaths who don't have a gene for empathy or one for compassion."
On Books: " Around her, thousands of times and places, people and worlds, from Mars to Egypt to Yoknapatawpha County, were closed up in the bindings of books like the shine trapped under the tarnished veneer of a brass lamp. She could almost feel them waiting to dazzle with the first turn of a page, come alive with brilliant colors and pungent odors and delicious aromas, with laughter and sobbing and cries and whispers. Books were packaged dreams."
And this bit of conversation: " 'When we get where we're going, you won't carve me up with a chainsaw and bury me under the windmill, will you?' Apparently he understood her sense of vulnerability and took no offense, for he said with mock solemnity, 'Oh, no. It's full-up under the mill. I'll have to bury pieces of you all over the farm' ".
My only criticism of Cold Fire, is the occasional bits of overdone horror which seem to be tossed in, not necessarily flowing with the story, following are two examples:
"Sensing something above her head, Holly looked up. A large web had been spun above the door, across the curve where the wall became the ceiling. A fat spider, it's body as big around as her thumbnail and its spindly legs almost as long as her little finger, greasy as a dollop of wax and dark as a drop of blood, was feeding greedily on the pale quivering body of a snared moth."
"Without warning, a vision burst in Holly's mind with such force and brilliance that the library vanished for a moment and her inner world became the only reality; she saw herself naked and nailed to a wall in an obscene parody of a crucifix, blood streaming from her hands and feet (a voice whispering : die, die, die), and she opened her mouth to scream but, instead of sound, swarms of cockroaches poured out between her lips, and she realized she was already dead (die, die, die), her putrid innards crawling with pests and vermin -"
Many Koontz novels have a supernatural element and some, like Cold Fire also have a Science Fiction theme. I'm not a big fan of Science Fiction but have really enjoyed Koontz' trademark genre mix. If you enjoyed or are interested in reading Cold Fire, I would also recommend the following Dean Koontz novels: Lightning, The Bad Place, By The Light of The Moon, and Brother Odd.(less)
How long will Dean Koontz keep dragging Odd Thomas into his novels? When will Odd finally join Stormy on "the other side"? It doesn't look like Koontz...moreHow long will Dean Koontz keep dragging Odd Thomas into his novels? When will Odd finally join Stormy on "the other side"? It doesn't look like Koontz is stopping anytime soon. This story ends ready for the next novel to begin.
In Odd Hours, Odd Thomas picks up three more companions that he will be taking with him on his next adventure. These comrades include: Annamaria aka "The Lady of the Bell" (who is the most interesting character in this book), Blossom aka "The Happy Monster" and you guessed it - a golden retriever! These three living companions will join his two traveling ghosts of Frank Sinatra and Boo (the ghost dog).
Aside from the drawn out dock episode in the beginning which really made for a sloooow start to this fourth Odd Thomas story (and reminded me too much of the drawn out chair escape episode in Intensity), Odd hours was a pretty darn good book!
I still favor the third in the series, Brother Odd, but Koontz gave us lots of interesting characters in Odd Hours, which makes for a very interesting read.
I loved the refrigerator magnets mentioned in the book as well as "The Hall of What Would Jesus Do?".
Besides having several dogs in his novels, Koontz also is known for adding characters with disabilities. Since I was born with a Cleft Pallet, I couldn't help but laugh at the following dialogue:
"You've got a one-eyed paraplegic brother"
"Yes, sir. With a learning disability"
"Does he have a harelip too?"
That is probably not funny to anyone but me, but I've included it for the heck of it! (less)