First off, let me say that, yanno, *raises eyebrows* Koontz is pretty damn commercial, isn't he? Even so, that man can still sling the words sometimes. Bending it like Beckham, I mean. Sliding in those little turns of phrases and plot-locking POV shifts that make you nod and go, yeah, man. Okay. Nice.
And this is coming from someone who's not a big reader of He-Who-Shall-Always-Sneak-A-Golden-Retriever-Into-Every-Single-One-Of-His-Books.
The reason I'm not a huge Koontz reader of late is because sometimes his books feel a little too This-Is-How-An-American-Male-Horror-Author-Does-It-Circa-1989. (Just my opinion folks, no hurling rocks here, I still fucks wit a Koontz novel e'ery now and again, sheesh.)
But also because sometimes it feels like his hunger is gone. Ditto my favorite author, King. (Okay, UNDER THE DOME felt at least a little peckish). I mean, I liked CELL and LISEY'S STORY and DUMA KEY, etc. (and still love the eye-closing sweetness of that familiar King voice) but the latter part of the King canon feels a little too much like the hunger is gone for him, too. The hunger that made me feel the weight of Roland's big ol guns or smell the furious oil of a certain Plymouth Fury. The hunger that made me, in turn, devour his pages. Now, the taste lingers, but the hunger is gone.
And I wonder about that. Worry actually. About the thing that happens when you've written your way through the angst of your 20s and the bills of your 30s and the swiftly-shifting political parties of your 40s and into the golf memberships of your 50s--if you've been financially successful in your writing career, I mean. Or that thing that happens if you haven't been successful and all that unpublished angst has burned a bright gold hole into the back of your head through which the sighs of your new yoga breaths gently drain it all away--?
What happens when you get to that point in your career? What I mean is, when you finally see the thing that's waiting on the other side of your ambition. What is that? And if you see it, can you unsee it? Unsee it and catch a little pang that might grow back into the hunger that devours your readers and makes them, in turn, devour your books again?
What is that thing?
Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I just finished reading Koontz's WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS and I wasn't ravenous but I dug it. Nice pace. Nice tension. Nice eldritch little sub-tones. Nice widening gyre. Enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I let it make me start thinking about golden holes in the backs of people's heads.
Well played, Mr. Koontz. Well played.