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CR3 #43: Velocity by Dean Koontz

I wish I enjoyed Dean Koontz's books as much as I want to. They've got most of the elements that I usually enjoy in books: murder mysteries, characters making tough choices, sometimes some supernatural stuff is involved. His writing is tidy and the plots are tied together relatively coherently. I guess my issue is that his work is...workmanlike. Stephen King's books might be over-wordy and the endings are almost universally stupid, but his writing seems to have more passion--his characters seem to have more life. You could say that--in my opinion, anyway--Dean Koontz's books follow the letter of the law, but not the spirit.

In Velocity, we find (seemingly) average bartender Billy Wiles faced with a choice: Someone has left a note on his car, saying that if he contacts the police, an elderly woman heavily involved with charity will die, and if he does nothing, a young red-headed school teacher will die. Billy is a person who normally keeps to himself and tries to get through life as quietly as possible. He is forced to get involved when the killer continues to press him for choices, and begins to make threats toward those Billy cares about, including his girlfriend, who is in a coma (I know, I know, it's serious) and those who work at the bar with him.

This book was competent, and I developed an interest in Billy and his misadventures, but I was never on the edge of my seat about the whole thing. I enjoyed reading it, but it's not like I couldn't put it down. Plus, the ending was one of those dopey endings the reader can't see coming because there is no logical evidence anywhere else that would lead to that particular conclusion.

On the whole, this wasn't a bad book, exactly, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend anyone seek it out.

Comments

Jen K said…
I read two Koontz novels and just never went back. I really liked the one, and can't remember anything about the second one, but I've just never really felt drawn to read more of his. I love King, though, so your analysis definitely helps explain why, even if I never really reflected upon it.
Oh, I just went to the MWR and got more used, free Gerritsen novels.
I very much enjoyed Koontz's Phantoms, and I liked the first two Odd Thomas books. But the rest have all been blah at best. I keep picking up his books because I have some vague idea that I like them, and then I'm just disappointed all over again.

It's the same thing I do with candy corn every year.

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