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The Darkest Evening of the Year

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  25,904 ratings  ·  1,794 reviews
With each of his #1 "New York Times" bestsellers, Dean Koontz has displayed an unparalleled ability to entertain and enlighten readers with novels that capture the essence of our times even as they bring us to the edge of our seats. Now he delivers a heart-gripping tour de force he's been waiting years to write, at once a love story, a thrilling adventure, and a masterwork ...more
Hardcover, 354 pages
Published November 27th 2007 by Bantam (first published 2007)
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Christopher Jones A year late, but no, the dog doesn't die.…moreA year late, but no, the dog doesn't die.(less)

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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  25,904 ratings  ·  1,794 reviews

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Mar 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-shelf, horror
I wish I could say I liked this novel more. I mean, there were a lot of murderers and anarchists, there was the healing power of a golden retriever, and there was a mentally handicapped kiddo and some genuinely nice people who were our heroes.

Unfortunately, it just doesn't stand out that much from any of Koontz's other novels. No breakaway gimmick, no over-the-top message beyond treating dogs well. (Kids are a lesser priority, but let's face it, dogs are cuter.) ;)

It was almost as if I've read t

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
Apr 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Koontz, the pleonastic King.

I told myself I was not going to complain about Koontz writing because I continue to read his books and obviously if I would rather read a soup label then I would. So this book was ok. His archetype for a woman continues to be one who only displays sarcasm, maybe he believes that is an emotion (It does, however, work better for the villain, but whatever). this book has blatant depictions of child abuse in it so you might want to be aware of that. And if you like Gold
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was possibly not the best Dean Koontz book I have ever read but it was still very good. Although it was not especially horrific I enjoyed the supernatural bits and managed to skim over the parts between Vanessa and her daughter which were just plain disturbing!
The story was excellent and fast paced and I loved all of the dogs. This is an author whose books I always know I am going to enjoy and he has written so many I still have a lot of enjoyment to look forward to:)
Dec 12, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
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
Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read, horror
Group Read - June 2017 Notes

Simple start for Dean's love of Golden Retrivers. Carl Brockman (crazy) threatens his family (Janet - wife, Jimmy & Theresa) with a tire iron. Amy Redwing & Brian McCarthy enter to save them. Amy is the hero with her love for Golden Retrievers, convinces Carl to sell his Golden Retriever, Nickie for $2,000. Outside, she calls 911, Brian's arrested, she takes Janet & family to her neighbor's house. Amy's Fred & Ethel, become immediate friends with Nickie!! Brian Mc
Nov 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dean-koontz
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
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
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Nicholas Beck
May 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: koontz
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
Sep 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, 2016
I believe this is the first Dean Koontz book I've read, recommended to me by Koontz enthusiast extraordinaire Sarah. :)

I enjoyed it overall, appreciated the dog behavior stuff in the beginning, but then really got sucked into the story as the action started happening, people were dropping like flies, and I was trying to figure out how all the characters were all connected. The ending was acceptable, if not a little bit too satisfyingly sweet all around for my taste.
Jan 07, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 31, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 differ
Jenn Kunz
Dec 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Yakov G.
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Rachel Bea
review to come, will edit later
Jan 13, 2008 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Feb 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a bit lacking in suspense but it's rich with the wonder and hope that make me love Koontz so much. So I guess this novel touched my heart emotionally but didn't exactly make it speed with excitement :) ...more
Christopher Jones
Nov 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 04, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Chris Snider
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh Dean, I love you, but your endings irk me at times. Despite an ending that I think could have had more to it this was a great read. After coming off a slower read in "Whiskey Beach" by Nora Roberts I loved the fast action pace of this one. The characters are lovable and I have NEVER hated a villain in any book more than I did the woman in this. Calling her human is an insult to humanity. We also have a lovable Golden Retriever named Nikki. It's nearly toward the end of the book when every sid ...more
Jan 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animal, horror
This was a pretty standard Koontz, evil people, fantastic golden retriever story. I liked it, but didn't love it, and I thought some parts were kind of silly (especially the ending). But it never dragged, and I almost always love reading about dogs.
Note: my kindle version had several typos - I almost never complain about typos, but given the author, publisher, and the $9.99 price of the kindle version, it seems like a sentence such as (one example) "Apart of Amy should have seen..." should have
Hock Tjoa
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dean Koontz writes well. I wish I liked his passages on dogs better as there seemed to be a lot of them in this book.
Rita Chapman
May 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
I hate to think that there are actually people in the world like Billy, Vanessa and Harlow. Maybe there are, but I'd rather not know. A disturbing book, saved by the paranormal aspects. ...more
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was ok
Goodness, what have I just read?
My first Dean Koontz novel so didn't know what to expect. Arson, dog rescue and so on and so on.
Enjoyed the dog rescue aspect but was uncomfortable with the Downs Syndrome references and how the child was spoken to . Yes, I understand it is fiction but still didnt like.
An easy, quick read but don't ask me to explain what happened... I haven't a clue! 😂
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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, the author of many #1 New York Times bes

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