DEAN KOOTNZ - WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS (2011)
John Calvino is a cop whose entire family was murdered 20 years ago. He had dispatched the killer, Alton Blackwood to hell, or so he thought, that night, but now after a series of similar murders, he becomes convinced that Blackwood's spirit is back and able to take possession of suitable hosts.
Blackwood is indeed doing that, his crimes escalating until it is time to take John and his family.
This is a really tense, well written novel, surprisingly gripping considering much of the action describes John's children interacting with the spirit of Blackwood loitering in the house.
I've been a fan of Mr. Koontz for many years and there's only been two books of his that I failed to get through (he will never win prizes with me for the dreadful Odd Thomas series). Sometimes the quality varies. Sometimes I adore his books, sometimes I think they're merely okay. This was much better than okay, a page-turner that I read really quickly.
If I was going to nit-pick, I would say the long-awaited climax seemed to be a bit of a rush and the really strange inclusion of the LEGO wheel was pointless and ridiculous. I'm still pondering if he was on drugs for that segment.
I recommend it to his fans or someone wanting to start off with his back catalogue.
A.J. FINN - THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW (2018)*
Anna's on medication for depression and anxiety. She has agoraphobia and a drink problem. One day she meets the woman in a family of three who have moved in across the way. After that, she sees the woman being murdered. When she calls the police, the husband and son deny all knowledge and present a new woman as the mistress of the house.
This book has a nod to the Hitchcock film Rear Window and plenty of film noirs, many of which that were mentioned I have seen. It started off great and I read it really quickly.
This is a very tricky review to write. Unless I'm already a fan of the writer, I don't tend to know anything about the author when I start a book unless I happen to have read something online. I was halfway through this book thinking it was pretty fabulous when I asked for opinions on the facebook book group I'm a member of and got a few comments about how strange the author was. Intrigued, I read a very long article on him where his life and career as an editor was picked apart and rather horrid skeletons came to life. Prime among them being he lied on multiple occasions about having a brain tumour and said his whole family was dead from cancer and suicide, when they weren't. He wrote under a pseudonym, it's postulated, so that the big companies didn't find out who he was and when his book went to a bidding war and certain companies found out his identity, they did indeed drop out of the race.
After this, I found my knowledge coloured my opinion of the book. I should have remained objective, but I couldn't. I was pretty appalled and no longer wanted to read and my enjoyment decreased. When the end came (and sadly I had read whodunnit in the article), I was relieved to finish.
I got the book from NetGalley and while I'm reviewing here, I declined to review on their site. I didn't think it was fair to share this review when it is the work in question I should be commenting on, not the author's morality. Nonetheless, as it afffected me, I have posted an honest review here to let readers make up their minds.
It is a good book, an original book. It is worth a read. But I can't get past the author.
*provided by NetGalley for the purposes of review.