December 4, 2009

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It's a great time of the year to read.  Kind of dark, kind of dreary, and way too cold to spend much time out of doors.  I've already had to use both my winter coats.  It's going to be a long winter. 

But the books!  Lots of them.  I've had some good recommendations from my Club members, thank you!  I can't wait to get started on those.

First off:  Dean Koontz's new thriller, Breathless.  BTW, Mr. Koontz also has a new book about his late golden retriever Trixie, but I haven't read it yet.  Breathless is back to the Dean Koontz days of old...sort of.  Fans of the Koontz genre of supernatural thrillers will like this one.  If you've never been a fan, this book probably won't win you over.  Dedicated readers will certainly have noticed that the last few Koontz thrillers have had little resemblance to his early ones.  (I'm betting that his change of tone coincided with the arrival of Trixie.)  Certainly there have been dogs in his books all along, but lately dogs feature much more prominently and--no coincidence, if you ask me--the story themes have turned to hope, joy, and the meaning of life.

In that respect, Breathless does resemble Mr. Koontz's newer books.  However, if you haven't read his older stuff, you might be surprised by some of the profoundly evil characters in this one.  It's not all feel-good, warm and fuzzy, that's for sure. 

Retired Army Ranger turned furniture-maker Grady Adams and his Irish wolfhound Merlin discover two creatures cavorting in the woods.  Grady is sure that the primate-like critters have never been seen before on Earth.  But before he's able to discover what they are or where they come from, they move in with him, delighting him and his dog with their innocence and wonder.  Unfortunately others are interested in discovering more about the creatures as well and the government swoops in with alarming speed.

Strange occurrences are happening elsewhere in the world, too, and as the mystery of the wonderful creatures unfold, Koontz dives deep into big questions:  Why are any of us here?  How are we all connected?

It's a page-turner, for sure, but it all wraps up at the end maybe just a little too quickly and a little too neatly.  I was left hoping for a few more chapters.

For those of you looking for something non-doggie to read (Why?  I ask you.  Why?) the boss ma'am can recommend One Second After by William Forstchen and Under the Dome by Stephen King.  If you're old enough to remember The Day After--a movie about nuclear war--you'll understand One Second After.  And it will scare the daylights out of you.  Under the Dome is sci-fi, but still a chilling look into how quickly society can fall to pieces in the face of adversity.