Friday, October 30, 2009

King and Koontz, New Books from the Masters

Here are Harriet's reviews of the Masters of Horror. Enjoy!

Dean Koontz
Bantam, Nov 24 2009, $28.00
ISBN: 9780553807158

After being a military sniper, Grady Adams lives in an isolated part of the Rockies where he works as a craftsman. One day in the forest he sees a strange light and knows musingly that nothing will be the same. Grady observes two white creatures playing and knows they sense his nearness somehow. Frightened by what he has seen, he and his Irish Wolfhound Merlin race home.

At the same time on a nearby horse farm, veterinarian Dr. Camilla Rivers is shook by what she sees. All the horses seem to be in some sort of trance as if they sense something big is coming.

Grady calls Cammy to come over to his house to look at something strange. The two creatures he saw in the woods have made themselves at home in his cabin as Grady is entranced by them as they seem beautiful, pristine and pure. Cammy arrives and knows they are a different species. They name the pair Puzzle and Riddle. However Homeland Security learns of the existence of the duo and come to confiscate them in order to test them. Cammy and Grady refuse to allow the surrender of the odd pair, but remain unsure how to prevent it.

Animal lovers will especially relish Dean Koontz’s latest thriller that insists evil must be dealt with and can come in various forms; just because something new and different is found does not make them malevolent. Instead something familiar can be the wicked and those with ethics will step up to prevent the heinous from inheriting the earth. The creatures slowly reveal who they are to their adopted human pets, which makes Grady and Cammy even more resolute to keep them safe. With plenty of mysteries at the core of the exciting story line, Dean Koontz is at his best with this thought provoking thriller as the monstrosities are not always obvious. Harriet Klausner

Under the Dome
Stephen King
Scribner, Nov 10 2009, $35.00
ISBN: 9781439148501

In Chester's Mill, Maine Big Jim Rennie runs the small town through underhanded extortionist politics and illegal drug dealing. His son is a bully throwing his father’s influential weight at others. Few overtly oppose this pair of leading citizens, but army veteran Dale “Barbie” Barbara and newspaper editor Julia Shumway lead the opposition.

Already somewhat isolated due to its location, an invisible dome suddenly falls over the entire remote New England village; dropped by the Overlords who live amongst us and have chosen this place apparently for one of their experiments. Things begin to happen rather quickly starting with a plane crash and a tractor explosion. Nothing can enter or leave. Over a short period of time the infrastructure begins to collapse and survival means enemies teaming up. Some claim this is God’s punishment and wait for the Rapture; others believe that Big Jim made a bad deal with his drug overlords, but some, like short order cook Barbie, insist it is something else. As conditions deteriorate rapidly, the townsfolk fail to unite; instead remaining splintered into two major groups led by Big Jim who invokes marital law and Barbie who searches for who and why, and several smaller factions who mostly choose inaction using diverse rationale to defend their position.

This is a strong King thriller that returns the great horror author to his Stand roots of good vs. evil. Although somewhat stereotyped characters, fans will not care as morality takes center stage with the cast’s differences of opinions negatively impacting survival. Good vs. evil on a larger stage looks UNDER THE DOME as the smaller platform of Chester’s Mill plays out a reality version of survival. Harriet Klausner

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