View Full Version : Dean Koontz, From the Corner of His Eye

15-01-2002, 15:45:20
From the Corner of His Eye, nice:coolgrin:

The problem with Koontz used to be the pages and pages of descriptions of boring leafy suburbs in the west coast of America with names like Laguna Beach and so on, (i don't care what cenmtuary the stupid houses architecture are based on- I know what trees look like, I don't give a toss what kind of wood the dumb fenes are made out of) but the guys just plain got a gift when it comes to building siuspence and mystery and getting you to want to know why the sinister mans eyes glow like a cats in the dark- or what exactly IS at the bottom of alll those strange goings on in the small innocent looking American town with the restricted-access old air-force base up the road.

He's gotten better recently i've noticed- now he doesnt fill pages with lots of tedious description- in fact theirs no tedious descriptions any more, whoo-hoo!

Now the problem with Dean Koontz is that his stories are reliably cool for 85-90 percent of the book, the end is always strangely dissapointing, by the time the revelations arrive- you've already kind of guessed enough of whats probably been gong on that the spelling out of it is not quite an impact, and although its really satisfying when the good guys all get to touch base and join forces and be there for each-other from now on and happily ever after- you might want to stop reading once you know everythings gonna be alright if your a diabetic, coz Mr Koontz Really starts to pile it on! that the good guys are always so perfectly good isnt so much a problem as the amount of boring fluffy-wuffy description of their goodness and love for each other (may as well have a big picture of fluffy pink kittens being fed by a sweet old lady at the back of the book, or little apple-cheeked kiddy-angels with manga-big watery eyes stroking a harp, or a young couple holding hands on a flower-clotted hill surrounded by pretty yellow and white butterfluffles).

In From the Corner of His Eye I was really dissapointed at the end, when a very well developed and truly fascinating evil character gets knocked off in an arbitrary, lazy and dismissive manner that really sucked and dissatisfied (and was a little hypocritical of Mr Koontzs moral message i might add) instead of all the answers or a proper ending for the man- we are left with no less then TWO BLOODY CHAPTERS about how the goody sweetness and light brigade get to live happily ever after, and you know what- i didnt really care by then.

From the Corner of His Eye is a good story, just don't read beyond the point where the evil one finnally corners his nemesis and you won't be dissapointed.

Koontz is agreat writer with a few aching weaknesess.
like mi and my spelinge realee.

there, i've said it.

15-01-2002, 16:05:58
Yep. I don't know if I've read that exact book but the criticisms of his stuff are pretty spot on. If I'm reading a story with a good psycho killer and the good guys win I expect them to be totally fucked up by their experiences.

15-01-2002, 16:46:45
'a good psycho killer'?

you're a warped son of a bitch

15-01-2002, 16:49:16

What I mean is a well developed and genuinely scary psycho killer. Hannibal Lector would be a good example (discounting the Hannibal book), and the guy they are trying to catch in Silence of the Lambs.

15-01-2002, 16:54:07
don't worry i understand - it occurred to me i've known you for about 21 years the other day - now that is scary.

While we're on the subject of psycho killers (and to competely wreck qweeg's initial thread), i still rate American psycho as one of the best books i have read. Patrick Bateman is an absolutely incredible character. And don't let the film prejudice you against the book.

15-01-2002, 16:58:13
Haven't seen the film. I have probably overheard too many conversations about the plot of the film vs. the book but still be good to read that sometime.

15-01-2002, 16:58:41
And 21 years is terrifying not just scary.

15-01-2002, 17:22:30
I agree with MikeH who was agreeing with Qweeg about Dean Koontz's faults, but being the wordy sonofabitch that I am, I'm going to say it again in my own way just so that I've got something to post about.

I find Koontz to be the John Grisham of sci-fi. There's not really anything wrong with his writing or ideas (he's got some really fun ideas), it just seems like he's aiming for the lowest common denominator in his audience. This tends to mean that everything is r-e-a-l-l-y s-p-e-l-l-e-d o-u-t i-n g-r-e-a-t d-e-t-a-i-l a-n-d d-e-v-e-l-o-p-e-d a-t a l-e-i-s-u-r-e-l-y p-a-c-e so that Joe and Jane average will have no trouble at all figuring out what's going on and following the story to a straightforward and happy ending. Sort of like a TV movie of the week. The couple of books I've read, I've found interesting but totally unsurprising.

In Koontz's favor, though, it is nice to see some sci-fi in the mainstream. Haven't been too many stories of this type on the bestseller lists since Stephen King's heyday. The stories might not be the best, but at least it shows that there's a market for interesting ideas.

15-01-2002, 20:27:00
I'm a good psycho killer.

15-01-2002, 20:45:55
i'd just like to point out that all the rush-type spelling mistakes in the first post were actually edited and corrected- whats going on with the board!? they've all been reset:confused: anyone else noticed that happening? (usually when you re-edit several times)

Its not that i don't like the happy endings, by the time the ending comes you've been rooting for the good guys anyway- its just why pile it on so nauseatingly thick! and his well developed mystery that should end nice n'crispy usually ends a bit damp.

23-01-2002, 19:02:42
Why wasn't this submitted as a front page article? It deserves to be up there in lights!

26-01-2002, 14:27:43
you agree Noisy? you read Corner of his Eye too?

Currently reading V.Vinges "A deepness in the sky"... so far- to early to say but i'm still reading it (just started really) I like the fact that its all distributed strains of humans originating from LeGuin-like seperate cultures that have redeveloped themselves from some ancient colonial program.

He's not up there with Iain Banks or Brian Reynolds in my estimation- not as clever as Ursala LeQuin or starkly 'realistic' as C.H Cherryh- and put him somewhere near Orson Scott Card or L E Modesitt Jnr (emphasis on junior), that is- a reasonably engaging prose- nothing to run to the forums about:)

27-01-2002, 02:19:29
I am reading From The Corner of His Eye. This is the first time I have read Dean Koontz.

So far I have not lost interest, but I think that is because he switches from situation to situation...much like I do when I am channel surfing the television and I am keeping track of three shows at once. However, midway through the book, I find myself skimming. I am too familiar with the introduction of characters and the nuances of their lives and how they will be revealed...somewhat ordinary character that is now suddenly very different from the reader's expectation...and now the author will explain why or stretch it on hinting at it. (And those doomsday twins...how far did anyone get before they skimmed over the 'facts' the brothers quote because they carry little weight in the story?--other than a bit of moralizing about how people shape their lives through their beliefs--which has pretty much been the idea I've been beaten over the head with from page one.)

I'm not sure this is really suspense. I expected suspense to leave me on the edge and want to see what happens next. Who knows what will happen next? Anthing can happen next and the characters have to somehow manage to carry the burden the author places on them with a new revelation of detail. It doesn't seem as if the book is plot driven or character driven so much as it is author driven.

There is an abrupt way Koontz introduces characters and reveals their nature. The character I see developing most is Junior and that makes me forgive the way he was introduced. There was no preparation for him spontaneously shoving his wife off the platform. I am still willing to accept it (was that Koontz's way of demonstrating the cavalier nature of the character? If so, Koontz is just as cavalier with all his characters and their fates--many are unwarranted. It's like the author is writing from the premise that 'shit happens' and some accept it and others try to make smiley faces out of it (personally, maybe the author has just gotten too many royalties and his mind is getting flabby)...but as the story advances my patience with this tendency for 'surprises' in plot and character is being tested.

Another thing I am pondering...is all this intentional? Is Koontz testing stereotypes and pre-formed prejudices. I had to back track. I didn't get that Seraphim and Celestina were black until he stated that they were. I already linked them to Junior and pictured Seraphim as blonde because of her name (stereotype) and Junior's penchant for blondes. Basically, any details about a character that are important and necessary are usually given upfront. If it's important to know the character is a specific race, then that needs to be one of the first details, otherwise, the readers are free to imagine what they will. I just don't like being jerked around as a reader...you know, go through painstaking boring detail and be lead by the nose and then 'tadah', have the rug pulled out from under me for no logical reason except that the author has a passive hostility toward the reader. (Is he this way in all his novels? Would any loyal readers of his say that this book is one of his best, or has he already peaked as an author and is winding down now with this one?)

I am just past the part where Koontz starts introducing the pharmacist--you know, a new character to develop to aid the plot halfway through the book. Here he comes home on a lovely day, thinking how much he loves his wife and then, yep, sure enough, oops she died. Do I care at this point? No, I expected it.

Just as I expected Junior to kill off the one character that was really developing in an interesting way--Vanadium. What luck and how convenient that he is murdered! I still don't believe it. I keep expecting him to show up again.

And the last thing that REALLY bothers me (especially since, I think it was Guy who said it--that this is all so spelled out) how is it that every unrelated character knows about Bartholomew? And why does it seem some are psychic or have some sort of info from mysterious or magical sources or not? The only real links and tie-ins between all these characters seem to be only what the author says there is, but none that are legitimately developed through plot development or character development. basically, the only reason I believe they will all catch up with each other is because the jacket of the book told me so.

I'm starting to feel real dumb here, like there is some joke here or inside scoop that I am not privy to. And I really don't care about Junior anymore...he's even lost pizazz as a bad guy. He seems so two dimensional...like Koontz almost got close enough to explore his psyche, then backed away and relied on stereotyping.

I have a sense of good vs evil, even in a cosmic or psychic sense, but half way through the novel I'm not sure it's fleshed out enough or ever will.

I keep reading and haven't lost interest because I am curious how many more new disconnected incredible turns and new 'evidence' Koontz will supply.

I agree with the praise of the book--it certainly is inventive and creative.

29-01-2002, 22:52:15
Well, I finished it a few days ago.

Why coldn't we get one more scene with Junior? We were robbed of any justice!!! No bullets, no death, no going off the deep end when he realizes he's in another realm. Phooey.

Nice to get so much history about everybody at the end, too, to tie it all together. Some of that history would have made the story more powerful up front.

Maybe it took half the novel to get it all set up because there were more than a few stories going at once. When he started focussing on one or two it became a much tighter story with more resonance.

Well, I will give him another try if anyone can recommend another story by Koontz. Any suggestions?

02-02-2002, 14:36:42
hneh >shrug< they're all pretty much alike. I still say it was disapointing the way Junior gets it- and lazy too, and considering the whole premis of there being infinate possibilities out there (jesus i figured that out with my friends before and during our college dope-years!)- should'nt Koontz at least have mentioned a reality somewhere where a traumatised little boy being dragged-up by his drug-crazed mother gets a brake at growing up to become a decent human being instead of an evil psycopath? (not to mention the psycopaths punishment is not described as well as his hideous crimes were)

I liked the way Koontz took the piss out of books called things like "How to make friends and influence people" etc with the works of Juniors guru- Ceaser Zedd.

04-02-2002, 20:13:13
There were some things about the unior character that were cool and would have been fun to read. After the fact, we read through Vanadium's pov that he heard that Junior had dumped a girlfriend and she let her dog loose in his apartment. That would have been fun to see, because he thinks of himself as so untouchable.

There were lots of instances where it seemed like the characters would have taken off (or come alive) if the author had let them, but maybe he didn't think they would stick to his premise.

In fact, what if he had written the same story but added two or three of alternate Juniors? Too difficult?

I did appreciate his immediate punishment for his crimes. Apparently his conscience still worked, evenif he was numb to it.