September 19, 2013

Book: What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 11:44 am

coverA good book from the ‘one good one bad’ kind of book series that Dean Koontz has embarked on recently. This book is enjoyable, and is nicely written. A good, recent book, evocative of his great early works.

The story involves John Calvino, a police officer, well to do. His wife, Nicky is a famous painter, and he has three adorable kids – Zack or Zachary, Naomi and little Minnie.

When Billy Lucas, a boy murderer is arrested and  John goes to see him, he realizes that there are uncanny parallels to an earlier murderer called Alton Turner Blackwood, who murdered almost all of John’s own family when he was a child. In fact, Billy also seems to know everything that Alton knew, and seems to know him, like Alton did. What is even more creepy is that he seems to know details about John and previous murders that only Alton could have known (so he was no faker) and also, his recent murders were a grotesque parody of earlier murders, following in eerily similar pattern to the earlier works of Anton. He is freaked out, even more so when he sees Billy Lucas return to his normal self, bewildered and with no knowledge of why or how he had committed the series of murders. He is convinced that Anton’s spirit is on the rampage, taking control of people and making them do heinous things. Who will believe him? How do you even fight this thing?

When he realizes that this Alan thing will come back to target his new family a second time, he is determined to find a way to stop him before his near and dear are harmed. No matter what it takes.

When a malevolent presence manages to enter his house through one of the service providers, things begin to happen. His wife and kids see unexpected phenomena – first harmless and slowly becoming more and more terrifying.

The story involves his housekeeper couple Walter and Imogene – who were once rich but had lost everything and accepting their humble calling now – and their bitter and wayward son Preston.

Almost as a side story we learn the transformation of Anton – via his diary entries – from a bad boy to an evil monster.

After leaving Billy, the spirit ‘rides’ other people – it cannot occupy good persons so the person taken over has to have been evil (at least partially) – in a chain and slowly takes over. First, it finds its way to the hospital to finish off a victim who survived the massacre. It does it through Andy Tan, a bent cop.

It ultimately continues its chain of command – interesting to watch it hopping bodies – until it comes into John Calvino’s own house. It occupies the house, waiting for its chance to do the massacre via Preston or any other person.

The children experience weird phenomena and here Dean comes into his own, describing with masterly skill the incidents. Creepy and fascinating at the same time! The image in the mirror and the blackened mirror solution are all interesting.

The final twist is when John misunderstands the order of killing and does not realize that the planned massacre of his family is close and also does not realize that Anton is approaching the house with multiple occupied personalities (the children’s math tutor Professor Leonid Sinyavski , Roger Hodd of Daily Post, Melody the child killer and Preston Nash)

This being a novel, they do overcome at the end – and on the way, the concept of a portal and an invitation from John himself to open up his soul for Alton to occupy him are all endearing and revealing.

If you can swallow the concept of a malevolent ghost bent on mayhem and revenge after the killer’s death – which in fact is easier to swallow than the quantum mechanics crap in an earlier book – the book is fascinating and retains your interest. Even the ending is very good and satisfying.


I will give this one a 7/10


n  Krishna


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