I USUALLY LEAVE book reviews alone but felt compelled to post about Breathless, Dean Koontzs’ ‘thriller’. In a nut shell, Grady who lives in the countryside, discovers some magical animals in the woods and before long Homeland Security descends after some pictures are circulated online.
Koontz has sold millions of books and has a huge following – rarely a measure of actual writing talent. I was looking for one of his horror books but the library had only three titles and this one seemed to have the best blurb.
The first hundred pages are an absolute mess, as if the editor never bothered to even read it. Lots of stuttering sentences that killed the rhythm and completely useless run-on sentences spelling things out, the narration had the feel of a book aimed at twelve year olds, seemingly going for a how-to-foreshadow award.
Page 69 held this gem:
“His hands trembled, stomach acid scalded the back of his throat, and his bowels felt loose. But he neither vomited nor soiled his pants.
In such a pressurised situation, with everything at risk, not losing control of bodily functions seemed to be a triumph. Henry gained confidence from the fact that his underwear remained dry.”
Plenty new characters were introduced and it seemed like everything was going to come together in a grand finale. I’ll give Koontz his due that despite the lack of a coherent plot, turning the pages was easy and the quality of writing as well as dialogue improved in the second half.
Then there’s the section that essentially debunks evolution through the character of ‘Chaos’ Woolsey, a maestro of mathematics and chaos theory…
The story just didn’t go anywhere after the initial cast of characters were introduced. I didn’t care for them, too many utterly pointless sub-plots that made no sense and lead nowhere. And new characters were introduced later on that served no function to the main story.
There weren’t even loose threads, just a ball of twisted tangled twine. How the book made it to market in its current form is bemusing. And it’s an ‘international bestseller’…
There are flashes of Koontzs’ quality writing but never enough to keep the storyline fed, and the ending was incredibly unsatisfying. Nothing was explained, and on reflection it reads like a thinly masked religious faith story.
Verdict: Shake of the head