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Relentless? Not so much.

I just finished reading Relentless by Dean Koontz. I’m a big fan of Koontz (he’s my favorite author), but this one didn’t grab me. I like the premise (author and his family are terrorized by a truly psychotic book critic), but the characters were so unrealistic to me that I just didn’t care about them. Some of Dean’s later works also have had this problem, with characters that are just too perfect, have no flaws, behave in a manner that just defies logic, and thus the believability of the story suffers as a result. I hesitate to write a negative review of Koontz because I don’t want anyone to dismiss his other works. He truly is a great writer, and most of his books are worth reading, and many are truly great. Just skip this one.


About Steve Dullum

Steve Dullum (who is me) lives in Madison, WI, where he frequently picks up the guitar and coaxes stirring melodies from the strings (often it's just noise), rides around on a black motorcycle (frequently gets lost), works in the IT field (official title is "The IT Guy"), collects bark samples from native deciduous trees (it's not as thrilling as it sounds...and may not even be true), and also writes fiction. For the most part he's living the dream (he claims it's more like a dream within a dream). His short story, The Garbage Collector, was awarded an honorary mention in the L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future contest (which isn't quite as impressive as first place, but that's not important right now). Steve (who is still me) enjoys reading many different genres of fiction, as well as non-fiction (and some brochures), but it's suspense that keeps pulling him back to the written word, and it's the genre he most enjoys writing. After dabbling long enough, he one day decided to open a blank Word document and discover if he had what it takes to not only start, but complete a novel. After endless, countless hours of hard work (it was at least six, according to the wall clock), and after even more revisions (eleven hundred and six), and after several title changes (the original title was "Get Up Bubba and Shake 'Dat Thing"), The Spiral was (is) the final result. He hopes that if you take a chance on it (because really, there are so few books to choose from) you'll enjoy it and decide the time you spent reading it was time well spent. If you don't enjoy it, he is unfortunately unable to offer a refund at this time. If he had to pick his most significant influence as a writer, it would be Dean Koontz. He's called a master of suspense for good reason. The most important thing Steve (still me) learned from Koontz is the importance of creating characters that live and breathe, that exist not simply to drive the story, but exist because they are the story. Suspense, horror, humor, sadness...those qualities and emotions work on a gut level only if you care about the characters. If you don't, you're not likely going to care about the story, either. He hopes he's accomplished this in writing The Spiral, and has given you, the reader, a reason to jump in your seat, forget to breathe for a moment, and perhaps even shed a few tears along the way. If that happens, he'll be satisfied with his effort. Ideas for his next novel are germinating at this very moment (well, actually, he's sleeping right now). -Third-Person Narrator (who is me)

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