Christopher Jones's Reviews > The Husband

The Husband by Dean Koontz
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Oct 29, 2011

did not like it

My first novel by Koontz and it might've been my last had I not made it my life's mission to figure out why the guy was popular.

Characters: There are a generous handful of them. Mitch, the gardener protagonist. His brother. His parents. The Detective Taggart. The kidnappers. None of them are really developed, save for Mitch: his developmental arc centers around his realization that evil exists....except he already seemed to know it existed already. For all Koontz rantings about the fact that evil exists (he honestly seems to think his readers don't know this already), he doesn't say what the nature of evil is. In Relentless, it seemed it was "progressive ideology" going against "tradition". Being the right-wing old fart he is, it was obvious what side he took, not really grasping the implications of his stance (guess which side slavery would fall under?). But in The Husband, he doesn't really say at all. I think the most obvious sources would be selfishness (on the part of the perpetrator) and apathy (on the part of the witnesses), but what do I know?

Plot: Centers around Mitch's wife being kidnapped. He has to find $2 million in cash in order to get her back alive. It sounds exciting. It isn't. Mitch doesn't have to pull off any heists or anything Hollywoodish like that. He just gets it from his brother. He gets kidnapped and nearly killed at one point and the "hunting" chapter following that had the potential to be interesting but wasn't. Mitch overthinks a lot of his decisions, over-examining every single detail and it slows the action to a crawl. Except there isn't really that much action to speak of. There's a couple shootings. A couple tazings. That's it. The villains betray each other, which means Mitch only has to fight one at the end, and that severely reduced the tension. It just seemed like a way for Koontz to stack the deck for Mitch.

Climax: Boring. Mitch shoots a guy off a motorcycle. Compare this with Lightning's final battle. Nuff said.

Prose: People other than those who are fans of James "I'm too lazy to write my own books" Patterson, will find the prose and format jarring. Short sentences. Like this. Short paragraphs too. Chapters three maybe four pages long. This is one of Koontz's recent entries that doesn't have long-wided descriptions about the environment simply because Koontz doesn't want the paragraph to be more than three or four lines long. The form was so bad I wasn't even aware of the political message at the time.

Not recommended. Update: I've actually reread it a little bit, after reading stuff like Lightning, and Frankenstein and Odd Thomas, and the Door to December. And I've read previews for stuff like Dragon Tears and Phantoms and By the Light of the Moon and Life Expectancy.

It really is just such a plain-Jane novel from an author known to use sci-fi and government conspiracies and supernatural stuff. Literally anyone could've written such a basic kidnapping story.
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