"Dragon Tears" is not a novel for the timid. Neither is it for those searching for an easy read. You see, this horror novel by Dean Koontz, is slow paced and at times difficult to focus on. In it, you do find great and somewhat poetically descriptive writing. Yet sadly, the author concentrates too much on description and ultimately leaves us wondering why we should read on. Now, by no means is this novel void of anything good for it holds creative and intriguing characters. The thing is, it would have been nice to receive a story that went some were
rather than just ending up at a dead end.
Dragon Tears is a story of five people: all attempting to find some way of surviving the deadly harassment of a being with powers who is seeking to make them dead by dawn.
It all begins as delightful Tuesday in the life of cops Harry Lyon and Connie Gulliver that starts out beautiful but turns deadly in a confrontation with a lunatic at lunch. A maniac who will only communicate by reciting Elvis Presley song titles. (Which was written perfectly) After that, the day quickly slides into freak fest, as a huge thuggish homeless man with mysterious powers begins stalking Harry and Connie, warning them that they'll be dead by dawn. The thug has also appeared to Sammy Shamroe - a man who at one time was intelligent and had a promising future but wound up on the streets because of addictions and also harassing Janet Marco, who with her young son Danny and pet dog Woofer have fled to the streets because of tribulation time with an abusive spouse.
Not At All A Total Loss
The pleasant things, that we do find in "Dragon Tears" is the theme and the creative characters found in it. The novel's theme, at its core, is showing how high a capacity, humans have at displaying evil. While the story itself is fiction, it relates certain accounts that are taken from actual life and incorporated in the story. These are brought out by the two cop characters Connie and Harry. These accounts highlight the awful state that the world finds it self in. As it's described in the book, we are living in a sort of a "New Dark Ages".
At an early point in the novel, Connie recalls a horrid case she read about. She said: "A Guy in New York, kills his girlfriend's two year old daughter, pounded her with his fists and kicked her because she was dancing in front of the TV, interfering with his view." She continued in a statement depicting dark humor: "Probably watching 'Wheel of Fortune' didn't want to miss a shot of Vanna White's famous legs" Here, we find an example of conversations in the novel, that show dark humor but is showing how merciless life can often be.
Furthermore, the theme relates, how we use black humor as a defense mechanism. How if we lack that sort of defense, we would end up driving our selves mad. We could even become terminally depressed by the countless encounters with the evil that is found in humans.
However, what is great in the end is not its drowning in despondency. For it also gives us hope in the endless optimism of Harry her buddy cop. The conflict between these two characters is what makes part of the book shine. The dialog and interaction are the reasons to read this novel.
Less Is More
What ultimately makes this novel a conflicting read, is its constant and endless seeming description. I find it to be drowning in it. Now, I have read Dean Koontz before, and found him to be marvelous at description. (His latest novel "Life Expectancy" shows him at his best.) Yet, here in "Dragon Tears" his description is so detailed, that I forget why I wanted to continue reading. Koontz gets lost in his own thoughts. (That is probably why the ending was so bland he spent so much time on the meat of the book.) In the end, you are required to muster up a grand amount of endurance. This endurance is needed, to fight across the endless jungle of description. What really makes it bitter is that when you reach the end you don't get much.
In "Dragon Tears", when reading the final scenes, we are left un-impressed. You end up with something typical and predictable. Unless you are a hard-core Dean Koontz reader, I would suggest reading some of his previous work. His latest "Life Expectancy" is as good as it gets when your talking about Koontz, so that would be a nice choice. For this novel here, is not void of pleasantries, but in the end it might leave you in tears.
by David Machado
I have to admit that this is the only Dean Koontz book that I have read, expect no comparisons along the "In Koontz's inimitable style....." lines as I'm afraid I've none to make. This book is an old one and really stands out as a great in my mind, I was given it back in my teens as an antidote to the masses of Stephen King that I was reading back then, it really is brilliant and worth a read. Unfortunately, very few of the Koontz readers I've spoken to have heard of it, let alone read it. This must change! If you like horror and the supernatural, you'll love this book. Plot: ----- Without going too deeply into things here: Harry Lyon and Connie Gulliver are cops in the Special Project Department of Laguna Niguel, California. Following a shoot-out on their lunch break they run into a kid who seems enchanted by the sight of the bodies and the blood. Harry goes mad and sends the kid on his way - but there's something very special about Brian, something that no amount of training and firearms practice can prepare them for. All of a sudden the world is a terrifying place to be in, a huge hobo has arrived in Harry's life and threatened to kill him and everybody he loves by dawn - this is the battle he has to fight. The hobo is no normal man, he's somewhat supernatural and seems to be able to stop time and metamophosise at will. With 16 hours to save his life and that of the people he loves Harry is somewhat stuck! We get a lot of info about the hobo, the people that he torments and the effects he has on the world, Brian - the kid from the crime scene - is his master, and the hobo is a golem, almost unstoppable. Throughout the book there's a theme of order fighting chaos, Connie is all for chaos while Harry is on the side of order, this makes for a great comparison between the two main characters and gets very engaging for the reader - will the monster b
e bested, or will it feed? Chaos or order - which will rule this night? Characters: ----------- Harry - Tough but sensitive cop, lives for order and the maintenance of this. Joined the police to preserve order and slowly comes apart at the seams through the book's events. Connie - Even tougher then Harry but totally distrustful of order, her own life has been so disorganised and unpredictable that she believes that there's nothing ordered about the world at all. Again changes throughout the events that transpire - see a more caring side develop and find out that she's got lots more to her than we believed at first. Brian - The God becoming, a spoilt brat of a kid, independently wealthy with a lot of time to kill, he's vindictive, mean, jealous and just plain bad. Brian's mother - The haggard old thing, hospitalised through a bad labour, which beget Brian, blind, old before her time and a very sorry character. Janet - Homeless woman, her and her son have been living in their car since the violent events of her marriage, over 2 years ago. Tormented by the hobo and living in constant terror of authority. Eventually comes to her senses and finds the only 2 cops that would understand. Sammy - Another street person. Ex-advertising executive who came down to a sorry end through a love of cocaine. Also lives in terror of the hobo. Woofer - The dog! A great character, we get a lot of his thoughts and the reasons he's doing things in the book (apparently Koontz does this a lot...?). He's a Labrador cross, living with Janet and the boy and very attached to them. Lots of great characters in the book, all are well developed and very interesting. Overall: -------- As I said, this is the only Dean Koontz book I've read, it is a brilliant story with a lot of twists and turns and (if I haven't spoilt it by now) you'll be shocke
d with the way it all turns out. The characters are great, the feeling of panic and worry and love and hatred are very well defined and the book takes you along at breakneck speed. The plot is clever, even amusing at times (mainly Woofer's parts) and often touching. I loved this book; I'd recommend it to fans of horror or any other horror writer, as this is one of those rare events - a book which you cannot put down.
Harry Lyon is a cop who embraces tradition and order. When he encounters a fithy, rag-clad denizen of the streets, who tells him he has 16 hours to live, Harry becomes trapped in an undertow of terror and violence. For reasons he does not understand, someone is after him and the people he loves.