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Night Chills Hardcover – February, 1976
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“Will send chills down your back!”—The New York Times
“As fast and exciting as any thriller you will ever read.”—King Features Syndicate
More Praise for Dean Koontz
“Dean Koontz is a prose stylist whose lyricism heightens malevolence and tension. [He creates] characters of unusual richness and depth.”—The Seattle Times
“Tumbling, hallucinogenic prose....‘Serious’ writers...might do well to examine his technique.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Lyrical writing and compelling characters...Koontz stands alone.”—Associated Press
“In every industry there exist ‘artists’ that are not only unforgettable, but know their craft better than the rest. Dean Koontz...is among these artisans.”—Suspense Magazine
“[Koontz] has always had near-Dickensian powers of description, and an ability to yank us from one page to the next that few novelists can match.”—Los Angeles Times
“Perhaps more than any other author, Koontz writes fiction perfectly suited to the mood of America...novels that acknowledge the reality and tenacity of evil but also the power of good...[and that] entertain vastly as they uplift.”—Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Dean Koontz was born in Everett, Pennsylvania, and grew up in nearby Bedford. He won an Atlantic Monthly fiction competition when he was twenty and has been writing ever since. Mr. Koontz's books are published in 38 languages. Worldwide sales total more than 175 million copies, a figure that currently increases at a rate of more than 350 million copies a year. Dean and his wife, Gerda, live in southern California.
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Top Customer Reviews
Grandiose visions for the masses typically turn out to be nothing more than the selfish ambitions and immature hopes of the individual. This too is vividly expressed by the author.
Though I rated this book 4 stars, there were a few issues with it.
1. This did not seem particularly Koontz-esque. The few sexual scenes were less poetic and much more narrative than his usual style. Now, this could very well have been intended to further accentuate the terror that would be realized by full control of one man over another or in these cases, one man over women. But I don't know if they really added to the story. To me, it distracted from it a bit.
2. One of the plot points, which would cause emotional devastation to any rational human being, was unbelievably smoothed-over for the purpose of continuing the journey of the story at that point. It appeared as if the author wanted to get the book over with by then.
3. The book's premise overall seemed too neat and tidy to be totally believable or even marginally so.
Yet, the read was smooth and the idea, as I stated earlier, terrifying.
First of all, this book is clearly an early work on Dean Koontz. While it retains a certain "cult" following of Koontz readers born in the 80's, looking to gobble up anything Koontz, I personally think it is not worthy of much esteem. While the premise of the novel is certainly interesting, it is not the focus of the book. What is completely lacking in this book is good writing & character development, and for that reason, I have to rate it poorly.
This is Koontz's major attempt in 1976 to make the world aware of subliminal messaging. Of course, the world was already aware, but this particular novel made a good example of what could hypothetically happen if subliminal messaging were 100% effective for instructions that violate a person's will, and there were drugs that you could alter your nervous system with a single dose for life. It certainly was an interesting basic premise, but I feel it was expanded and implemented in an absurdly unrealistic way.
There are many points you could make about how bad this book is, most notably the way Koontz goes out of his way many times to heap unrealistic praise on the seveties. "These are the 70's. The age of science and technology." While I always thought it was about bell bottoms and mood rings. You could focus on the pacing and narrative. Koontz chose to flashback the backstory a bit at a time over the course of the current timeline (a habit he perfected later on), which was distracting since it happened completely at random, and broke up interesting current action with overly long explanations of past experiments (for example 10 pages detailing how a guy kept waking up more frequently and then had a heart attack). Then the chief antagonist got his backstory thrown in an investigation that occured in a flashback, hence a double flashback. Not that any of it was hard to follow. I am not complaining there, but it was clearly too flashback oriented based on the writing to keep the interest. It is difficult to keep flashing back time and place when you are trying to remember the names of characters who are scantily introduced.
The reason for the title I chose for this review is simply this book includes multiple disgustingly detailed scenes of rape and abuse, wrapped around one fairly normal and detailed sex scene. This book just really did make my upset at my stomach. I think the idea of total mental control could be communicated without submitting the reader to such debasement. I really couldn't stand getting to meet a character just to see them raped. I lost track of the names of the main characters, since you really hardly even got to meet them. Most of the story centers around the chief antagonist and his twisted desires and actions. The main characters aren't even really important. Even one of them dies. This is the flaw in this book. I didn't connect with the main characters at all, since I never got to meet them...
Eventually the twisted plot allows the main characters an overly easy way out of the whole mess, which actually happens right after things go really sour. Turns out our heroes are not only concerned about getting out alive, but they feel they must thwart the whole conspiracy. That is great and all, but it seems a little vigalante to me, considering that surely they could trust someone in the government. But that's a minor point.
Even the title's a scam. It was just barely mentioned in the book, and a non-factor in the plot. It could have been left out. Nothing in the plot really happened after dark... And Night Chills gives no clue as to anything about the book. Not the sci-fi premise, or the sicko rapist antagonist.
Overall, a disappointed wash.
One particularly satisfying element for me was that one of the three super-villains is a wealthy religious fanatic who wants to enslave the world for Jesus.
I have only read a handful of books by Dean Koontz (Whispers, Phantoms, Lighting, Servants of the twilight, and Intensity), and enjoyed them all. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I can't wait to read them all. However, there are so many. Where do I start?