Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Bad Place by Dean Koontz

The Bad Place

By Dean Koontz

Frank Pollard awakens one day to find that he doesn’t remember anything about his life, only his name and that he’s on the run…from something. And has been for a very long time. On another occasion, he awakens with scratches on his body and blood on his clothes. And yet another time, he finds a sack full of loot and two pockets full of diamonds. Just who the hell is he, and what is he doing in his sleep? To answer these questions, he hires Bobby and Julie, the husband-wife team of security specialists and owners of Dakota & Dakota. In their investigation, they find themselves pursued by the same evil that is after Frank. And that evil has a name: Candy. Say what? Only Julie’s Down Syndrome suffering sibling Thomas knows where Candy will strike next.

Amnesia, teleportation, ESP, animal mind control, incest, beetles that eat dirt and shit out diamonds, serial killers and…aliens? This mishmash of strange elements reads like Dean Koontz’s laundry list of abandoned ideas, hastily assembled under the guise of a singular story. It’s a serious case of trying to squeeze too much between two covers, besides which the dialogue is sometimes less than believable and the “startling realizations” some characters come to about themselves make one assume Koontz had just finished reading a self-help book or two. In fact, the story’s stumbling narrative never takes a pleasurable twist until near the very end when the Pollard family’s origins are explained—a truly grotesque and fucked-up background. Not, however, grotesque or fucked-up enough to warrant reading this book.

Sorry, Koontz. But this is hack work. Now get back to work.


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