Stephen King is hanging by a thread, but he may redeem himself with 11/22/63 which I do happen to be enjoying (200 pages in), but Dean Koontz has done his dash with me.
I have just read his biggest load of drivel yet - What The Night Knows. I wasn't expecting much when I picked it up, but it didn't even rise to that expectation. I don't understand publishers, is it really all about a quick buck? If a newbie writer had submitted this rubbish it would most definitely have been rejected.
So what was wrong with this piece of junk? Well, pretty much everything!
It's all been done before. The premise was just like the Denzel Washington movie Fallen - you know, the one where an evil entity jumps from person to person to achieve its end. I'll give a little on that one, it's probably hard to come up with new ideas, especially when you pump out as many 'novels' as Koontz, and they do say 'don't write what has never been written before, but write what only could have been written by you'. However, in this case it was a poor job indeed.
I think that Koontz needs to spend more time in the real world, with real people/families. When you read horror you need to suspend your disbelief, this is the nature of the genre, but you do need decent characters that the reader can relate to. If you can't relate to them, you don't care what happens to them, and you don't care where the story is headed. The characters in What The Night Knows are totally unbelievable, the protagonist's family are too perfect, his descriptions too corny and sickly sweet. The protagonist is a cop yet he lives is this huge house with staff to cook and clean for the family whilst the wife paints. The kids are home schooled, with no set bedtime hours, and intelligent beyond their years. It just doesn't ring true. This is an area where Stephen King stands head and shoulders over Koontz - you connect with his characters, you care about them, and he can write from a child's point of view brilliantly.
Where was it? Readers today are more sophisticated, we need that feeling of dread and building tension, throwing in a few murders and an evil spirit just doesn't cut the mustard I'm afraid. What happened to the writer who penned Phantoms, Watchers and my favourite Odd Thomas (discounting those dreadful sequels)?
In short What The Night Knows is an example of how not to write a horror novel and is just an outright insult to his fans.