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The Eyes of Darkness Hardcover – April 1, 1989
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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TEOD is an utter treat. While a few areas stumbled here and there, the narrative, protagonists, antagonists, the minor characters, settings, dialogue, were all interesting without being overly wordy. This was the Koontz I remembered from 1987 onward. Not the current dreck he seems to spit out about twice a year. I found paragraphs in TEOD that ranged from 2 sentences to a whole page, with descriptions of everything from the cold, short winter days to the smells of a small-town diner to the evergreens on a snow-capped mountaintop. You actually felt like you stepped into the world his imagination had created for you.
And while TEOD's plot involved a cold war-era meme reminiscent of the '70s and passed on into the early '80s, he was able to update the book to make it seem more relevant for today's times. You could feel the mother's anguish, confusion, and eventual anger: She was the Ripley from Aliens before we had a Ripley from Aliens.
But don't let the cold-war sub-plot put you off. Koontz ties up that theme where it's within one's reach of believability. Just imagine the feeling you get when you watch a 007 movie from the early '80s and giggle over how silly those plots were (compared to the recent Bond films with Daniel Craig). TEOD might give you that feeling of déjà vu, sans the chuckling.
Even though I know how his other book, Strangers, ends as well as the underlying plot, reading TEOD made me want to go out and find a used version of that book, or maybe Lightning, or The Bad Place. That's the other déjà vu you get. Wow, what a great writer Koontz was. The last book I read by him before TEOD was What the Night Knows: A Novel. Though not reviewed yet by me, I'd give that one 2.5 stars. It's probably one of the few books in the last decade that I enjoyed, until it went off the rails and into the supernatural. The closest Koontz comes to the supernatural are his Odd Thomas books, a blatant knockoff of The Sixth Sense (Collector's Edition Series), in my humble opinion.
I also just finished another re-issue of an earlier book, The Voice of the Night, he wrote under another pen name in 1979 that was pure simplicity and sheer joy. Like TEOD, there was no preaching, no wearing one's faith on one's sleeve, no pandering to the reader, no silly dialogue just for the sake of having dialogue. Everything had a purpose, every sentence had a meaning, every character relatable, and when not, their actions understandable.
I give TEOD 4.5 stars but Amazon doesn't do half stars for some reason. I highly recommend this book. It's a classic Koontz thriller and you won't be disappointed.