Monday, September 20, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Darkfall (1984) by Dean Koontz

I am what I like to call…a novice reader. I am so far behind on reading that I doubt I’ll ever catch up. Up until a few years ago I hated reading. It was a chore, it was boring, it was stupid. But then I discovered there was a whole section of Star Trek novels at the bookstore. And then I began to read.

What does this have to do with Dean Koontz? Nothing. But what does matter is that I am a new fan of the Koontz. I recently read his novel, By the Light of the Moon and I really loved it. I thought it was well written, well organized, and one hell of a story. The ending left me wanting more but overall I loved it. So from now on, I am a fan.

So I went back to the bookstore looking for more Koontz. I’ve seen the movie Watchers, based off Koontz, and was kind of looking forward to reading that (cuz I’ve heard that the movie butchered the shit out of the book) but instead I found Darkfall. What drew me to the book was this simple synopsis:
"A blizzard brings a city to a standstill - and ushers in an evil that defies imagination."
Hell yes! I love snow, I love evil, and I love defying the imagination. Let’s do this.

I typed "defy the imagination" into Google and this is the result. Sorry everybody.

So the prologue had me shitting my pants. I’m not even into this thing 5 pages and I’m scared shitless. It’s like 3 in the afternoon and my pants are full of mud. That’s awesome Koontz, thank you. The prologue is full of terror and gore. It’s basically about some little creatures in the shadows with silvery eyes mutilating gangsters. And it is amazing.

From there the story goes into detective mode. As a lot of great horror stories do. Two cops are investigating the murders from the prologue. Turns out there have been a few of these murders recently…all connected to known criminals. That’s pretty cool I thought. Some creatures in the night offing bad guys. Sweet! A “good” kind of evil.

The evil creatures make there appearance known here and there throughout the book. They murder a few more bad guys and then the central focus shifts from the unknown to partially known. Voodoo. This book is about voodoo. Yes, you’ve read that right. Fucking voodoo. Thank you Koontz, this is fucking AWESOME.

There’s a period in the book where Dean Koontz gives us (the audience) a deep lesson on voodoo. He teaches us all about the herbs and spices necessary to contact whatever god you want. He teaches us all about certain types of gods, their names and their purposes. We learn all about the good voodoo and the bad voodoo. It is kind of interesting but at the same time it sidetracks from the kick ass killing. But whatever, it draws you a little further into the story. I just thought it could have been a little less.

Somewhere around the first third of the book we meet the main villain. One bad voodoo dude. If you haven’t read the book I don’t want to spoil the motives of this man’s actions. He is pretty evil and I did like him but towards the end he turns into a big pussy.

Oddly enough, this is how the bad guy is described in this book.

Oh also it’s snowing. It’s snowing through the entire story. And unlike this paragraph, Koontz describes it very well. I don’t know how many times I could describe it snowing outside but Koontz found several hundred ways to describe it. Snowing. And there’s a love story thrown in there too. Not that it matters or anyone really cares but it’s there nevertheless.

The thing I loved most about this book is how it played in my head. I could just imagine this being turned into a movie…and how absolutely bat shit insane it would be. The “horror” of all of it would really look like shit on the big screen. It would be laughably bad. Don’t get me wrong, the book is well written and the story doesn’t come off bad but there’s just so many scenes that would just look so stupid on screen. Words describe it so much better than film ever would.

The reason I say that it would be a great bad movie is basically because of the little monsters. I thought I had them figured out from the beginning. But once they were finally revealed to the audience they were completely different than what I thought they’d be. It wasn’t just one kind of monster, it was several different kinds. And I could just about imagine what they would look like on the screen. *snicker*

The central focus with this novel seems to be Good vs Evil. (please for the love of everything click that link, you won't be disappointed) There are lots of stories out there (all of them) that use this as their foundation but Darkfall uses it to an extent that I have never seen before. (fucking voodoo man!) I really liked how the “good” and the “evil” came to a head at the end. I won’t give away the ending (Good wins, you know it does, it always does) but it was pretty sweet. And gory.

The book is really good and I would suggest it to anyone looking for a cool story involving voodoo, little monsters from hell, and a nonsense love story. I thought the first book I read from Koontz was better than this one (that's strange huh? Usually the later novels in a author's career turn into crap but he's actually getting better!) but I thoroughly enjoyed Darkfall. It’s short, approx 375 pages, so it’s a pretty quick read for anyone who’s not me. I’m a horribly slow reader. Just, just so terribly slow.

You can buy it on Amazon…or just go to a used bookstore like I did, I’m sure there’s several copies sitting on the shelf. It's a pretty old book, over 20 years old now so there's several different versions to find.

No comments:

Post a Comment