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Darkfall was my first Dean Koontz read. I was given this book by my partner's mum, and to be honest, wasn't looking forward to reading it. I tend to stay away from author's who seem to write a new book every month. Always assuming that the quality won't be great!
Since Dean Koontz is a best seller, I figured it would be readable enough, so I'd just get through it as quickly as possible!
I'll elaborate more, later in my review, but over all I'll just say for now that I was pleasantly surprised!
PRICE / AVAILABILITY
You can pick this paperback version up on ebay for less than £3 posted. A quick Google Shopping search will also show you where to find this cheaply. The RRP is £7.99 but you shouldn't have to pay this much unless you go into one of the more expensive high street book shops.
For me personally, I either buy my books from charity shops, receive them as gifts, or download them from Amazon straight to my kindle. This does save a bit of money because I can get through about 5 novels a month.
*Further information: Darkfall is a re-write of Darkness Comes. They're the same story but with different covers / titles. I'm not sure why this was done (they're both by Dean Koontz, so no plagiarsm!), but it's worth baring in mind that if you've read one, there's no need to read the other!!*
I'll try and sum this up in my own words, but obviously if you'd like to know more you can check Amazon for the book synapsis and a little more about the author.
The story centres around police leutenant Jack Dawson, his partner (police partner that is) Rebecca, and his two children Penny and Davey.
Jack and Rebecca are assigned to a case involving the murders of some of New York City's notorious mafia types.
The murders are unlike anything they've ever seen before. The victims are covered in tiny bite marks and tiny knife wounds. They're either safe in their houses or hotel rooms, and the doors are locked from the inside with no signs of forced entry, or no signs of anything being able to come in or out without being noticed.
After some investigation, Jack and Rebecca are given the name, Baba Lavelle. He is a dark voodoo priest who's recently arrived in New York from Haiti.
As the plot develops, it becomes clear that Lavelle is a very dangerous person. A combination of being a powerful dark voodoo master as well as having a crazy, ruthless streak.
The main bulk of the story focuses on one night in the City. Jack's race against time to save his children from being viciously murdered by Lavelle and his voodoo powers.
Will Jack get to Lavelle before it's too late?
As this is my first Dean Koontz novel, I was pleasantly surprised by his style of writing. I wouldn't expect a horror writer to be so articulate, but the speech and narritave really flow well in Darkfall. It's easy to get into the characters and the plot as a whole.
The author has clearly done his research into all areas this novel touches on. Be it the New York Police Force, the Mafia, and the Voodoo 'religion'. It is clear that he knows what he's talking about and this makes the novel all the more convincing.
The beginning was a little more slow starting than I feel it needed to be. There was a lot of 'police talk' that could maybe have been condensed. The first chapter was brilliant - it centred around Penny, the leutenant's daughter. It was full of suspense and made you want to keep reading. However, it cut to the police investigation scenes next, and there was a little too much detail about the mafia characters and other departments within the police force.
I personally felt within these mafia / police investigation chapters, there was a little too much sexism going on! A victim's girlfriend is portrayed as being 'your typical dumb blonde' in not quite so many words. And the narrator spends a lot of time highlighting how unusual it is to find a woman like Rebecca, who's career driven and focused! It is as though Dean Koontz himself is genuinely surprised to have created a character like this; a woman with intellect!? Surely not! :P
So throughout these chapters, I was wondering how I'd keep going with this book!
However, a little further in, and the pace really does pick up. I don't want to go into too much detail, but the bulk of the story does focus mainly on one dark winter night in the City. The descriptions are great, the story is a little obvious, but does twist and turn, making you want to read on for the extra detail, even if you can guess the over all outcome!
The ending of this book was quite a surprise. And sadly, I don't mean that in a good way. It was a surprise because Dean Koontz wrapped up what could have been a really good closure to the story in pretty much just one paragraph. It made me feel like he'd got bored and wanted to finish as soon as he could!
So much so, that even now, I'm still baffled as to what happened with one character in particular! So much more could have been summarized here!
A great opening chapter, a so-so beginning, a good middle section, and a thoroughly disappointing ending!
If you happen to see this in a bootsale or charity shop, and you enjoy a thriller / horror novel, then I'd say pick this one up, you'll get through it in a week or so and enjoy the ins and outs of the plot, and the dialogue / characters.
Don't go out of your way to read this novel, but I would say that if you like horror and thriller type novels to maybe try a different Dean Koontz novel. It was very apparant that he has a great style of writing and can really tell a good story! Hopefully there are better stories out there where we're given a more conclusive ending!
I'll definitely read a few more Dean Koontz novels, but I won't be going out of my way to recommend this one.