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Review of 'Relentless', a novel by Dean Koontz.
The book I am reviewing is a paperback version of the novel, published by Harper Collins.
ISBN 9780007342624, cover price £6.99, genre:- Thriller.
Cubby Greenwich is a successful author, he has six novels to his credit and is justifiably pleased with his lot. He is married to Penny, also an author and the couple have one child, six year old Milo, who is a bit of a child prodigy. Milo is extremely bright, has an interest, bordering on fixation, with all things scientific. The family live modestly, but happily, with their child and their dog Lassie.
Shortly after the publication of Cubby's sixth novel, 'The One O'clock Jump', a revered literary critic, Shearman Waxx writes a review of the novel in a newspaper column. The review is full of syntax errors, scathing comments and personal remarks. Cubby takes umbrage at the review and although he has been warned by his agent, his editor and his wife to ignore it, he is seething and extremely annoyed by the critics review.
Cubby is not so arrogant that he thinks everyone should love his work, but he feels that the review is unjustified and unfair as it is blatantly obvious that not only has Waxx not understood the novel, neither has he actually read it, he has simply picked out random passages for criticism.
A conversation with a local restaurateur leads Cubby to manoeuvre a 'chance' meeting with Shearman Waxx in a restaurant. Cubby is astounded by the strange appearance of bow tie wearing Waxx. An innocent mishap in the men's room leaves Cubby reeling with shock when Waxx utters just one word to him, 'Doom'.
The plot then descends into a psychological nightmare as it becomes apparent that Waxx is not just a ferocious literary reviewer, but a relentless sociopath who is intent on destroying Cubby and all he holds dear, merely for having the audacity to question his review.
The Greenwich family discover that they are not the first to be targeted, Shearman Waxx is the stalker from hell.
The plot leads the reader through a complex maze of twists and turns before reaching it's conclusion.
~~My Thoughts and Conclusion~~
I was given this book by a friend who I swap books with regularly.
This novel had me gripped from start to finish. I woke early one morning and picked up 'Relentless' and started to read. This was the first novel I had encountered by Dean Koontz, so I was unprepared for the roller coaster of a read that the novel provided.
I read the book in three sittings, starting as mentioned, early in the morning, continuing in the afternoon and I had finished it by 8pm the same day!
The actual subject matter was interesting, the main characters were very well drawn and the plot had enough twists, turns and about faces to retain my interest. The lesser characters were diverse and believable, but there are not so many 'extra' characters that the reader becomes confused.
I felt quite drawn to the Greenwich family, although felt the 'prodigy child' was a tad overdone in parts. I think if Milo had been my child, he would have been encouraged at six years old to play with other children, not devote his time to tinkering with time travel theories, physics and atoms!
The dialogue is crisp, and the story skips along. Given the subject matter, this novel is written in a sharp and witty fashion, something I felt the author had blended very well within the thriller genre.
The psycho review writer was a frightening scenario and I must admit that I did find this thriller rather scary in parts! The reader is left in no doubt that Cubby Greenwich has encountered a force to be reckoned with and that in questioning Shearman Waxx's opinion of his novel, Cubby has opened a huge, wriggling can of worms. The critics ability to seek and destroy, leads Cubby to ponder whether Waxx is tinkering with the paranormal or even witchcraft. Waxx is relentless!
This novel left me thoughtful, even slightly concerned regarding the security of my own home! I did enjoy the novel, even though it scared me and I would recommend it to others, who like a psychological thriller. I feel that I should warn that there are some scenes of torture, although these are not described in graphic detail, the reader is left in no doubt as to what has occurred.
To conclude, this book leaves me with the thought, dare we criticise reviews on this site? After all, you never really know the true nature of the writer do you?
My thanks for reading.
© brittle1906 November 2011
N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name.
I would consider myself a fan of Koontz, though I will admit that his storylines often cross the line between fact and fiction, often including something other-worldly. This book was no exception, and yet his writing style was beautiful and a 'joy to read' so I would definitely recommend it.
On the cover reads 'The International Bestseller', which is always an advertisement I can't resist. Also on the front is a little insight into the book : 'It looked like just a bad review. But perhaps it was a death threat...' After taking a quick look at the blurb, this sounded like a book about a book, and a little silly perhaps. I was wrong.
Relentless puts into the spotlight Cubby Greenwhich, author, partner to Penny and Father to 6-year old boy genius Milo. After his latest novel gets critiqued and slammed by Shermann Wax, the notorious critic with words like acid, Cubby is consoled by his nearest & dearest, and also his publisher, who congratulate him on a brilliant book. Wax is like an omniscient yet elusive presence, and whilst all advice is to ignore him, Cubby wants to catch a glimpse of his faceless attacker.
It's not long before strange things start occurring; a presence in the house, perhaps a threat, perhaps a break-in? I won't give anything else of the story away, lest to say that the remainder of the book sees Cubby et al desperately trying to keep one step ahead, running & hiding from the predator and trying to play him at his own cat-and-mouse game.
Okay, so it's easy to put two and two together and say that it's the critic intent on getting revenge on cubby. But for what? His bad book? There's more to it than that and slowly but surely it's all unravelled and revealed. As this happens, more characters and interweaved within the story, including Penny's rather unconventional family; Cubby and co hide away in their basement stronghold (literally, a stronghold), which admittedly is far-fetched in itself, and yet it reads very believably.
That's the one thing I'd say about reading this book; you need to be open minded and allow yourself to be taken on the journey, because it's not all 100% realistic. I usually prefer books that are reality-based, concrete events that I can imagine and/or relate to. However, this book brings something a little other-worldly, far-fetched, and yet if you don't resist and let yourself go with it, then it's very engrossing. I could believe it was really happening, and that's a sign of a brilliant story-teller.
As I had expected after reading some of his previous work, Koontz brings great warmth to the characters. They come to life and you can't help but empathise and love each of them. The intricate detail woven in brings them to life and I found myself wanting to keep reading just because of the characters themselves, regardless of the plot.
There are some review snippets on the back to support my positive opinion of the book : 'A terrific pursuit story... clever, up-to-the-minute, and riveting' - Guardian, and 'The master of our darkest dreams' - The Times.
I would definitely recommend this for being beautifully written, engrossing, and bringing to life a slightly crazy plot and wonderful characters.
374 pages over 63 chapters
Although in recent years Dean Koontz has been writing slightly different novels to what we're all used to I still find myself buying or borrowing everything he writes. I picked up a copy of Relentless for £3.99 from Tesco during an online shop and when it arrived immediately dived in. Unfortunately Koontz is also writing shorter novels than he used to so it took me just one day to read it!
Cubby Greenwich is a bestselling author, married to beautiful artist Penny with one son, child prodigy Milo and the family dog Lassie, he feels like he has it all. In fact he feels like luck has been on his side for most of his life but that's all about to change. A renowned critic, Shearman Waxx, gives him a scathing review which Cubby tries to be ok about and tries to take the advice of everyone around him and "let it go" but fate has other ideas. One encounter with Waxx sets off a terrifying sequence of events with Waxx seemingly wanting to kill him and his family.
We all know how it is when someone takes an instant dislike to us, think about the school bully who didn't know you but hated you all the same and the workplace bully who again doesn't know you but goes out of their way to make your life miserable. Relentless takes this to a whole new level with Waxx not really knowing Cubby but determined to ruin his life. I think this is actually a fascinating storyline because we can all relate to it to some degree and no-one knows why some people find a target and won't let up until they've achieved what they set out to do, usually make life hell for someone else, and of course in a fiction novel there are no limits to how creative that hell can get!
Dean Koontz has been exploring the human mind for a while now and lots of his books have the theme of what an evil mind can do and how the prey respond. This book is so gripping because Cubby has no idea why he's been targeted, something anyone who has ever had to deal with a bully will understand. Because we don't initially know why Waxx has got it in for Cubby it makes it a really thrilling read and all the loose ends that spiral through this story make it utterly compelling. I couldn't put it down and found myself totally hooked.
The characters are typical Dean Koontz with a family unit that are too good to be true, I don't know if he writes his "good" characters from experience or if he does it intentionally to make the contrast between the evil and good more noticeable but the "good" family unit and surrounding friends and family are always far too innocent and loyal to be believed. However that's a minor gripe because it does make the story flow and keeps some humour in there.
The ending however felt a bit rushed to me. I loved this book, found myself wondering what Waxx would do next and how he was even managing to do the things he was doing, but when we got to the conclusion where we found out I thought it fell a bit flat and found myself disappointed that we actually had to find out the why behind the terror. I think it would have been better if it was left unexplained.
One more minor complaint is the length of the book, at 374 pages it isn't anywhere near as long as Koontz's older work and this means I get only a day or two at most reading from his books. I know it isn't his fault I read like an express train but I do tend to prefer longer books because I get alot more value for money!
I did enjoy it though, there's not only the human mind explored in Relentless but also a little bit of Koontz's tendency towards slightly supernatural happenings which I'll say no more about or I'll ruin the plot! This is actually a return to old style Koontz but with the more recent fascination with people included so it really is a good fast read that will have you hooked from start to finish.
I really recommend Koontz fans read this, especially the long term fans like myself who have felt a bit like he's been going off course lately. It's a return to his former style but just in a considerably shorter book. All we need now is the length to return and it'll be just like old times!
4 stars from me and highly recommended.
"Relentless" is the title of Dean Koontz latest paperback novel that was released in January of this year. A thriller with supernatural elements the story is a familiar return to form for Koontz and this novel managed to keep my attention all the way through its 384 pages. This is my review of the book and whilst I may mention specific things that happen there are no spoilers that would ruin the enjoyment for anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of reading it yet.
Cubby Greenwich is a successful author whose latest novel has been published to mostly positive reviews. He is happily married and lives with his wife their son and the family dog - Lassie. Milo (Cubby's son) is somewhat of a prodigy whose intelligence far exceeds his age and while Cubby is happy to indulge his son in his scientific research and studies he does worry that Milo is not like other boys of his own age.
His new book is a hit with readers and critics alike all except for one respected but reclusive literay writer Shearman Waxx; his review of Cubby's book is damning and goes against the general consensus. While Waxx's review does bother Cubby he doesn't let it rankle him too much and brushes it to one side, after all, he reasons to himself that it is just one persons opinion. However the review keeps being mentioned to Cubby by various people and when he decides to try and find out more about Waxx he has no idea of the hell he is about to unleash.
Shearman Waxx is a sociopath. A cunning killer who now has his eye on Cubby and his family and is on a mission is to destroy the amiable author and those around him. Waxx is the cat to Cubby's mouse and together with his family they must try to keep one step ahead of the cold and seemingly supernatural killer as his rage is, as the title of the book suggests, Relentless...
Dean Koontz books have been a bit hit and miss over the years for me. Some have been brilliant whereas others didn't quite hit the mark; thankfully 'Relentless' sees a dazzling return to form and for me was a marvellously written thriller. I know its clichéd to describe the book as a "page turner" but this one really did hook me from the start and I was taken for one hell of a ride.
If you are unfamiliar with Koontz's books they often follow a similar format with a 'good guy' being put in peril and being forced to go on the run whilst being pursued by the 'bad guy'. While the synopsis of this book may make you think that this is just going to be another one of 'those' books you get attached quickly to the characters and therefore feel for them as they are put in danger. As also is the case with Koontz we have a canine character that is lovingly portrayed by the dog-loving author and the introduction of a child genius in this makes for some light-hearted relief in between the suspense parts.
Unlike other authors of the thriller/horror genre Koontz rarely includes profanity or sex scenes and simply relies on the story to keep your attention throughout the book. In this you are quickly introduced to the characters, given a brief background of each of them, the reason why they are going to be put in danger and then follow them as they try and stay alive. It sounds simple and formulaic when broken down here but in reality it works and when it is done right as is the case with 'Relentless' you do get swept up in the story.
This is a book that can be enjoyed as a thrilling read over the course of a few days (as was the case with me) and would make an ideal book to get engrossed in if travelling on a long train/coach journey or even by relaxing by the pool on holiday. In no time at all you are in the middle of the book and to use another cliché you really won't want to put it down. 'Relentless' *is* relentless and will leave you feeling completely satisfied if not exhausted by the time you get to the end of the book.
I really enjoyed this as you can probably tell and being a fan of Dean Koontz books anyway found this to be one of his strongest offerings for quite a while. It is, as I have already said, a dazzling return to form and a book that I would have no hesitation in recommending to any fan of the thriller/pursuit genre and of Koontz himself.
The book is available online at Amazon for a very good £3.86 or can be bought offline in the usual places. I got my copy from Tesco for the same price as Amazon are charging and consider this to be money well spent.
5/5 dooyoo stars from me, thanks for reading my review.
Please note that this review may also appear on ciao under the same username.
Dean Koontz has been the master of suspense and horror for some time now, and I have been reading his novels for around 15 years. I was always gripped by the fear and anticipation that he built into his stories, however I noticed some of his more recent efforts were not gripping me as well as they used to. I wasn't sure if it was a change in my personal taste of a tiredness in the authors writing, but I decided to take a break from his stories and branch out a little.
A friend bought me "Relentless" as a birthday gift and it gave me the perfect opportunity to let Mr Koontz and his weird and wonderful stories back into my life. Published in 2009 by Harper Collins, it is now available in paperback at most bookshops.
Without going into too much detail of the plot, Relentless follows the life of successful writer Cubby Greenwhich and his family, wife Penny who is also a writer, and his son Milo, the 6 year old child prodigy, all of whom are accompanied by their faithful dog lassie.
The novel is a first person narrative account of a few days in their lives during which Cubby and his family are relentlessly pursued by a crazed book reviewer who has taken a personal dislike to Cubby's recent novel and wishes to express his disdain in a terrifyingly homicidal manner.
What unfolds is an excellent pursuit thriller full of twists and turns, leaving you wondering if there is anywhere safe they can run to or anyway in which they can survive. Koontz builds the tension very well and makes you believe that they have very little hope.
It delves into the nature of the family, and its ability to protect and survive in any situation and I grew particularly fond of Cubby. Despite his clear lack of heroics or bravery in the past, Cubby strives to be the protector of his family and regrets the decisions he made that helped bring this reign of terror upon his family. He is fiercely supported by his Penny, who has a rod of iron running through her and provides most of the moments of attitude and strength.
I found the moments of interaction between Cubby and Milo to bring a spot of humour into the story as the intelligence levels of his 6 year old son are clearly beyond Cubby's comprehension.
Short, brisk chapters contribute to the fast paced nature of this novel and as it is in first person narrative, it is easy to get caught up in Cubby's anxiety and fear. He drops little hints as to what is coming ahead which makes you want to turn the pages even more. As his tale unfolds, he also exorcises some demons by reflecting upon his past and explaining some of the events that shaped him into the man he is today.
Koontz characters are not flawless, and there are moments when you wonder what on earth they are doing and can see the danger coming, but this all adds to the enjoyment.
This first foray back into the writings of Dean Koontz has reminded me why I read his stories in the first place. They are exciting, entertaining and ultimately draw you in to the lives of the characters. Relentless flows very well and draws to a very exciting, albeit slightly unbelievable conclusion. However this is what I love about his novels. He can blindside you with a twist at the very end that leaves you wondering what the hell happened, no matter how ridiculous or unbelievable it may be. Without giving it away, I do think that there are elements of the plot twist that could have been examined better earlier in the novel as despite being referred to throughout the story, the twist does seem as though it was thrown in at the last minute.
Nevertheless, Relentless is a piece of entertaining escapism and I really do believe that Koontz is the master of suspense. He gets to the point of the story and grips you from the beginning and I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to join Cubby on a terrifying ride.
I picked up this book from WHSmith for £6.99. Normally, I don't pay full price for books but this shop was the only one inside the hospital I was staying in. The other titles didn't appeal to me and I didn't recognize any of the other authors, slightly shallow on my part but I didn't want to be stuck reading a book I've never heard of.
Relentless is 374 pages long, divided into 63 chapters, three parts and was published by HarperCollins Publishers in 2009.
As an avid Stephen King fan, I strayed away from Dean Koontz, imagining him as an impostor if the land of horror novels. Now I wish I hadn't stayed away from his books for so long.
I read the first chapter and was left desperate for more. Dean Koontz has a unique writing technique, an excellent vocabulary and structures his sentences perfectly.
Although some parts of the book are unrealistic and at times, near stupidity - this isn't an insult on my behalf, more of an observation - the book did get to the action quickly and never left me bored and wanting to skip a chapter. However, this is a work of fiction and unrealistic novels often make the best.
The contents of the book - a bad review from a feared critic who turns out to be a completely lunatic - seemed strange at first, but a few chapters in, got absolutely terrifying, and at times, I could feel myself recoiling or sitting with my mouth open, afraid to turn the page but not quite able to stop myself...
The crazy character that Koontz has created was perfect. Clever and sophisticated, yet creepy and not over the top, he keeps within the limits of what other people would consider crazy, creepy and downright scary.
The main characters of the book - Shearman Waxx, Cubby Greenwich, Penny Greenwich/Boom, Milo Greenwich - each have their own very unique personalities and traits (something I personally don't find in many novels) and you feel yourself becoming attached to the characters and the story.
The book takes some strange turns, and at times I felt myself getting angry at the characters themselves! The chapters vary in length and sometimes end with heart thumping cliff hangers, and even though you promised this was the last chapter, you just can't help yourself as your eyes flash over to the next page and start the next chapter. Towards the end, I found the book took a confusing turn which I personally didn't enjoy.
I had to re-read the last few chapters as they moved incredibly quick and at times, I had trouble understanding, especially with the unexpected twist.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Relentless although I would have personally preferred an alternative ending. There was a lot of fast paced chapters and unbelievable cliff hangers which made the book a page-turner and hard to put down.