Andrew's Reviews > What the Night Knows

What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz
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's review
Feb 07, 2011

really liked it
Read in February, 2011

For the past 6 years, my wife has bought me the newest Dean Koontz book for both my birthday in the middle of the year and Christmas. I've enjoyed reading his books and appreciated him releasing them on my holiday schedule. Unfortunately, over the past several years his books have gone downhill. He might have hit an all-time low with Relentless. It felt like Koontz was often mailing it in. Finally, I asked my wife to stop giving me the books. I would still read them, but didn't think they were worth automatically purchasing anymore.

It appears that I picked the wrong time to put a halt on the Koontz purchases. What the Night Knows was his best novel since at least 2007, and possibly earlier. I'm going to go out and buy it now, and give him another chance. Maybe the extra time he took between major novel releases made the difference.

This book was darker than some of his recent entries, which helped to balance a little bit of the humor that has become such a big part of his recent books (which humor I do enjoy, but which is sometimes over the top). Alton Turner Blackwood was a great villain. I liked this lead (John Calvino) more than some of the recent lead characters, as well, and I was very much invested in his story. I was a little less invested in the stories of the children. The end maybe could have used a little more work. It seems like Koontz was planning on writing more but ran out of space, so he had to cut to the final scene really quickly. I don't really mind if the book is a little longer. Some of my favorites of his have been a couple hundred pages longer than this one. And Dean, there's really no need to always have a dog involved.

This book (and the rest of his recent material) still doesn't compare to some of the great ones like Strangers, Watchers, and Intensity. It's been over a decade since he's written a book that I think has deserved 5 stars (False Memory). I hope that he takes a little longer between novel releases again in the future and produces an epic that will never be forgotten. This book won't be forgotten, but some of his recent works have been already. At least this one, though imperfect, convinced me to start buying his books again.
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Jennifer I agree. False Memory is the best book I have read by him, and I've read almost everything he's written. Night was definitely a good comeback though from his latest.

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