13 March, 2012

Aaarrgh! Scared!

Dean Koontz

Brrrr. I almost have to shake myself clean and clear after just thinking about this book, let alone reading it. Koontz has managed to distil the essence of fear, or that which frightens, and put it down in words. This is different from most scary books, including the few (two or three?) of Koontz’s that i have read, in that the spiritual world is very much a part of the novel, to the point that i am pushed to wonder what beliefs Koontz himself may have. I don’t really think that it matters (at least, not to this book), but he stimulates the question with sympathetic portraits of a man who prays seriously, and acknowledges he does, of a family who are concerned about the spirituality of their parish priest, not to mention the fact that the source of the evil in the story is very clearly demonic, straight from Hell by the description of a defrocked priest (who also obtains a sympathy from the author). All too frequently (and the use of that phrase is not a criticism, but a recognition of how writing is done in this world) the only source of evil is human, but here Koontz write of the demonic and evil powers as though he understands and believes in them. To be sure, for the functioning of the plot it is necessary to a demonic source of evil, because the humans who have performed the evil are dead, but it still continues, so there has to be an ongoing cause. Perhaps i am just interested by the whole conception of the plot by a secular writer. Whatever, however, i thoroughly enjoyed this book, and will read another based solely on it.

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