Pros: Enjoyable light read when you want some tension; better than some of his others
Cons: Fluff thriller/horror reading
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Joey is an unusually well-behaved child, and his mother, Christine, is a strong and successful woman with an unusual and difficult past. A meeting with a strange old woman in a mall parking lot leaves them both terrified as it seems the woman believes that Joey must be killed. Almost immediately things go wrong—Joey sees the woman staring in his window. His dog gets killed. The police seem more concerned with chastising Christine over her use of language in front of her child than with any danger Joey might be in. Christine ends up going to Charlie, a private detective, for protection.
Charlie is drawn to the two of them and very much wants to keep them safe, but he’s about to find out that keeping two people safe from an extremely dedicated and violent cult can be a deadly affair. Soon the three are running for their lives, only to find that the cult seems to anticipate their every move.
Koontz has one of those dual reputations so often seen among extremely successful, highly prolific genre authors. He’s successful precisely because many people love his work, but he also has a reputation for slipshod work. As usual, the truth is somewhere in between. He wouldn’t be so successful if he wasn’t good at what he does—and what he does is tension. He’s extremely good at creating page-turning danger for his characters.
However, there’s some truth to the idea that his writing can be a little rough. Sometimes the pacing of Cold Fire is rushed. The ending of By the Light of the Moon felt weak, and the prose got fairly purple in places. I was pleased to find that The Servants of Twilight had a strong ending, good pacing, interesting characters with some depth to them, and less purple prose.
Sure, Koontz’s books are never going to be great works of literature. They’re never going to bowl you over by bringing you to tears, enchanting you with stunning descriptions, or surprising you with wholly new plot twists. On the other hand, that isn’t what people read them for. They’re engrossing, tense escapist tales. The Servants of Twilight includes non-stop action, some interesting questions of ends, means, and good versus evil, as well as a touch of sex and a hearty dab of insanity.