With each of his number-one New York Times best-sellers, Dean Koontz has displayed an unparalleled ability to entertain and enlighten listeners with novels that capture the essence of our times, even as they bring us to the edge of our seats. Now he delivers a heart-gripping tour de force he’s been waiting years to write – at once a love story, a thrilling adventure, and a masterwork of suspense that redefines the boundaries of primal fear and of enduring devotion.
Amy Redwing has dedicated her life to the Southern California organization she founded to rescue abandoned and endangered golden retrievers. Among dog lovers, she’s a legend for the risks she’ll take to save an animal from abuse. Among her friends, Amy’s heedless devotion is often cause for concern. To widower Brian McCarthy, whose commitment she can’t allow herself to return, Amy’s behavior is far more puzzling and hides a shattering secret.
No one is surprised when Amy risks her life to save Nickie, nor when she takes the female golden into her home. The bond between Amy and Nickie is immediate and uncanny. Even her two other goldens, Fred and Ethel, recognize Nickie as special, a natural alpha. But the instant joy Nickie brings is shadowed by a series of eerie incidents: An ominous stranger. A mysterious home invasion. And the unmistakable sense that someone is watching Amy’s every move, and that, whoever it is, he’s not alone.
Someone has come back to turn Amy into the desperate, hunted creature she’s always been there to save. But now there’s no one to save Amy and those she loves.
From its breathtaking opening scene to its shocking climax, The Darkest Evening of the Year is Dean Koontz at his finest.
When I first told my son I was reading a book by Dean Koontz, he said, “but Koontz is a horror writer, mom.” I explained to him that I was reading his new Jane Hawk series (including The Night Window, the fifth and final in the series) and that it was more action thriller, techno thriller. Indeed, I read the whole series, and another suspense standalone, The Good Guy. To be honest, I hadn’t read a horror book by him as I don’t read horror books.
The one filament common to most of his books is that little edge of the supernatural and this one is no exception. That said, this one is a surprise for me but of course I was drawn to the dog on the cover with promise that it might include a canine in the storyline. It does.
Amy is apparently wealthy. She spends her time in the rescue of golden retrievers and she’s developed quite the rep—and certainly the mastery in rescue of the animals in some of the most dire situations. This time Amy rescues Nickie. Her boyfriend is horrified by the circumstances, but she successfully manages the retrieval of the dog. She has no idea she is part of a dark plan, but she does share some of her feelings regarding Nickie to her boyfriend, Brian. (Is it possible Nickie has been here before?)
What starts as eerie incidents escalate into a darker and darker chain of events that introduces Hope. POV’s switch to the head of Hope as she coyly manages her mother, something the ten year old Down’s syndrome daughter has learned to deal with.
The antagonist charges head long into some of the cruelest, most despicable scenes of a mother imagined. The worst kind of depraved person a human can be posed against the most innocent, decent. Good versus evil personified.
While Amy separately deals with demons, they plan their perverse scheme, and it’s revealed there is more to Hope than conceived of. Indeed, if at first your heart broke for her, it just as quickly rose in pride for her astute management of the situation.
Nickie, the golden, did indeed prove herself a stout-hearted canine, more than just a beautiful companion.
Scratching my head. This is one devil of a narrative. Stomach-churning scenes at odds with triumph. My problem is the conclusion. Both the main characters as well as support barrel into the climax in one swooping, crashing plot crunch. And then it ends just as quickly. You can turn another page if you want, but the story ended. Just like that.
I’m a Koontz fan. Not a horror story fan. Most of my positive experience with this writer is the subtle, descriptive way he delivers the prose, so beautiful you can almost (almost!) forget the horrific circumstances. It’s hypnotic. And I’m compelled to look for the next Dean Koontz book.
Genre: Suspense, Suspense Thrillers
Publisher: Random House Audio
Listening Length: 9 hrs 9 mins
Narrator: Kirsten Kairos
Publication Date: November 27, 2007
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Darkest Evening of the Year [Amazon]
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars
The Author: Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirits of their goldens, Trixie and Anna.
The Narrator: Kristen Kairos is a New York/LA-based voice-over technician, singer, songwriter, and percussionist who has toured worldwide and recorded with a variety of artists including Julio Iglesias, INXS, and David Lee Roth. While her speaking voice can be heard on numerous radio and television commercials, as well as character voices for animation and narration for audio books, she is currently singing, writing, arranging, and playing percussion with individual musicians and bands in the New York area.
©2021 V Williams