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Relentless: A Novel Hardcover – June 9, 2009

3.3 out of 5 stars 345 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A bad book review propels this farcical thriller from bestseller Koontz (Your Heart Belongs to Me). Bestselling author Cullen Cubby Greenwich is mortified when Shearman Waxx, the nation's premier literary critic, savages his work. Cubby manages to find the syphilitic swine at Roxie's Bistro in Newport Beach, Calif., where the author's six-year-old prodigy son nearly pees by accident on Waxx in the restaurant's men's room. In retaliation, Waxx threatens Cubby with doom and gets things started nicely by blowing up his house. With almost superhuman ease, the book critic keeps track of Cubby and his family as they flee for their lives. While some may take this as satire, the over-the-top villain's underdeveloped motivation and a jokey narrative tone that jars when juxtaposed with terrifying scenes of violence will leave others scratching their heads. By the time Koontz introduces a science fiction element, a lot of readers may have already checked out. (June)
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Review

"Koontz is a master of the edge-of-your-seat, paranoid thriller and perhaps the leading American practitioner of the form."—Newark Star-Ledger

"Koontz is working at his pinnacle, providing terrific entertainment that deals seriously with some of the deepest themes of human existence: the nature of evil, the grip of fate and the power of love."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"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

“An exquisite crafting of the thrilling, the unexplainable, and the personal, with the mirth and whimsy that Koontz throws in seemingly effortlessly just when it's most needed and least expected.”—Library Journal, starred review

“[A] smoothly spun nail-biter.... Koontz still grabs readers as few other thriller scribes can.”—Booklist
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (June 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553807145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553807141
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (345 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,130,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Dean Koontz has changed, and not for the better.

OK, I'm a Koontz fan from way back. I've read all of the Koontz novels, including most of the Brian Coffey, Leigh Nichols, and Owen West stuff. I've re-read my favorites (Watchers, Whispers, Lightning, Strangers, The Bad Place) over and over. Lately, though....

Let's start at the beginning. Koontz's characters used to be normal people, for the most part. Often they were wealthy, which allowed the story to progress outside of a 9-to-5 job. But they were still ordinary. In Watchers, the protagonists are a retired real estate agent and a terminally shy hermit. In Whispers, they are both cops. In Phantoms, she's a doctor and he's the county sheriff who responds to her distress call. In Strangers there is a couple who own a motel, the couple who run the attached restaurant, a two-bit author and college professor, a doctor, a cocktail waitress, and a priest. In The Bad Place, they run a detective agency. These are ordinary people.

Recently, Koontz's characters have been larger than life. Whether it was Odd Thomas and his necromancy or the only one of many to walk away from a military rescue mission in The Husband, his characters are superlative. In making them so, Koontz renders them boring and two-dimensional.

In the beginning, Relentless looks like a return to the earlier characters of depth, but sorry, they aren't. The story focuses on a family. The family consists of a fabulously successful author, his fabulously successful children's book author wife, a child of startling genius, and a dog with apparently odd powers. Here's a clue, Dean.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Koontz's newest book reminds me of his early stuff. After the last few books, I was feeling really tepid toward Koontz. His writing used to be predictable- always a thriller with a twist and great characterization. His more recent work has tasted a bit flat to me- almost as if he was trying to be contemplative and instead coming off sophomoric. Earlier books were very entertaining and always interesting, not necessarily fantastic literature but very adroit at entertaining the reader and hard to put down.

When I first started reading "Relentless", I thought, "Here we go again." We are introduced to the sweet but goofy Cubby who, coincidentally, is a writer. His wife, Penny, is the tough and capable daughter of survivalists and author of children's books featuring a rabbit with big ears. They, of course, have a child who is, at the tender age of six, a genius of the highest degree and currently working on a project he is unable to even begin to explain to his dad. They have a very lovable dog who also seems to be very special.

Cubby and family are plunged into a nightmare when the infamous Shearman Waxx, reclusive book critic, reviews Cubby's recently released book and skewers it. Despite Penny's warnings to "let it go", Cubby just can't. When he finds out that the reviewer frequents a restaurant where he and his family dine, he goes to lunch hoping to check the guy out. A brief encounter in the restaurant bathroom soon has Cubby wishing he'd followed his wife's advice.

Catastrophe ensues and Cubby and his litttle family are soon on the run from absolute evil of mythical proportions that seems to have practically supernatural resources.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is hopelessly stupid. If Relentless were Koontz's first book he ever wrote it never would have seen the light of day. There's a teleporting dog, a six year old child smarter than any human has ever been in the history of the world, and a laughable ending. The book is a mess. It can't be categorized as horror, thriller, or even young teen. The only suspense about the book is whether you'll be able to finish it before you throw it across the room into the fireplace. That's not a strong point for a book. Check it out at the local library if you must read it, but save your money. This book blows.
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Format: Hardcover
Like many of the other readers who have reviewed the book, I also had high hopes for the latest Dean Koontz book. I picked up the audio version at the library in preparation for a long vacation drive, only to have my high hopes wither CD by CD. My advice is to avoid this book and if you do feel compelled to patronize Mr. Koontz, I would suggest the written version from the library.

Top 5 Reasons to avoid this book:
5) For a thriller, there was no suspense
4) The characters are ridiculously unbelievable (especially the dialog)
3) The prose is so verbose you want to pull your hair out
2) Cubby's character is so annoyingly incompetent you'd prefer he's knocked off at the beginning
1) Koontz must have got tired of the book because he phones in the ending

After this, it will be a while before I get excited by another new Dean Koontz and thanks be to the public library.
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