If you were to judge my favorite author list one thing stands out. I like the scenic route. The slow burn reads that build into bonfires. It is why Dean Koontz is on that list.
He has the ability to pull you in, keep you engaged until the last page. However, I’ve learned not all Koontz books are equal. Sometimes the slow burn becomes a raging fire and sometimes it fizzles.
Relentless falls somewhere in between. I wanted to like this book. I wanted to love it. That is the problem. I’m ambivalent. I was hoping for more because underneath all the camp, overly convenient plot, etc., there was the potential for something extraordinary. It was in the theme and in some of the great lines Koontz tucked in.
. . . I was finally convinced of something I had suspected for a long time: God has a sense of humor, and because the world is wondrous, He expects us to find reasons to smile even on the darkest days.
Yet even his usual eloquence in bringing Universal Truths to light could not save this book. The slow burn I love so much was indeed that, and just when the book caught fire, it fizzled moments later. The plot unravels, questions are left unanswered or conveniently wrapped up and part of the climax happens off stage. By the contrived ending I no longer cared about any of the characters. Yes the in-laws are funny, Milo is overly adorable and the dog who finds herself in small spaces was classic Koontz but what was the point?
I’ve never felt cheated reading a Dean Koontz novel. On this one, I did. Koontz novels have always been a gamble: sometimes good/great, sometimes not, but always beach worthy. A way to pass a few hours and there Relentless shines in a bumbling Hallmark kind of way. Still I hoped for more.
The last paragraph and other great lines Koontz delivers are why I wanted to love this book. Yet the story lacked the depth, heart and sacrifice needed to support its themes. This one gets a C. Small Spoiler Alert** Had the main character died, I’d actually rate the book higher.