Horror Book Review – Dean Koontz The Darkest Night of the Year – Love it or Hate it!

Horror Book Review – Dean Koontz The Darkest Night of the Year – Love it or Hate it!

I got this book from the library mainly because it is the story of a woman who helps rescue golden retrievers. I personally got involved in Labrador rescue recently when my husband and I adopted a three-year-old Lab, so of course I had to read the book.

The story caught my interest, but it was difficult to read in part because, unfortunately, too many dogs are abused in puppy mills, and Koontz goes into great detail about them and how they work, ugh. At one point, when he talked about putting a dog to sleep, I cried. I had to do it too often and it was a reminder that dogs don’t live long enough. There was also a long stomach-turning thread about the abuse of a disabled child with Down syndrome – very difficult to read. Well, Koontz IS a horror writer.

For the most part, I enjoyed Darkest Evening. The story is told from different points of view, by apparently unrelated people. It was interesting to see Kuntz weave all the different threads together towards the end of the book. However, the ending didn’t work for me – or for many people who reviewed the book on It seemed like Kuntz got to a certain point, looked at his watch and said, “Boogers, I gotta get this over with!” and he did.

There is a large element of woo-woo in this book, so be prepared. Nicky, the golden retriever who appears at the beginning of the book, may or may not possess the spirit of a previous dog or person. I think the dogs were more complete, interesting characters than the people, who seem like caricatures to me. Once again the women were lovely and the men handsome, the secondary characters witty and rich. Give me a break.

Despite the dark element of this novel, there are some very funny, laugh-out-loud lines in the book. The humor is a nice counterbalance to all the horror. I loved reading about Golden, even though I’m a Labrador retriever lover. I’ve lived with dogs long enough to know that they each have their own unique personalities and fun little quirks.

A lot of Koontz’s books are very long – in part I think because he just LOVES to describe! He’s good at it, but often it’s just too much – it makes my teeth hurt. This book had a lot of lush descriptions and I often got lost in it all and had to go back to see what was happening to the people! Unlike some of his longer volumes, this one is a more normal length of 354 pages. Overall I guess I should say I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it, but I did finish the book and that’s something I don’t always do!

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