Breathless by Dean Koontz, a book review

Koontz, Left Me "Breathless" and Renewed

Breathless by Dean Koontz - Copyright 2009 - bantamdell.com

I realize this is a cheesy introduction into a recent novel by Dean Koontz. I cannot help it. Honestly, I felt a type of Spiritual conversion at the ending of this story.

Our local library chose this as a "Hot Picks" selection. When perusing books that will come home and share my space and mind, I read the inside jacket summary. If I am not satisfied that I am getting something I want to spend my time on, I go on to read the introduction, dedication, and back jacket. The conclusion of my book investigation can be in opening stanza, or quote.

Breathless' introduction is a quote by G.K. Chesterton: "Science must not impose any philosophy, any more than the telephone must tell us what to say."

I was almost ready to get in the "Breathless" vehicle, but did not want to read real scary stuff. I continued ahead, and read the first page of the First Chapter. It read, "..., a strange expectancy overcame Grady Adams, a sense that he and Merlin were not alone." Farther down the page I find that Merlin is a three-year old, 160lb, Irish, wolfhound. The scene is set in a wilderness area of Rocky Mountain Colorado.

I jumped in and fully embarked upon this Koontz road trip.

This story reminds me a little bit of "The Stand" by Stephen King, in that there are those who travel great distances to play their part of "it" going down. The difference is distinct as well. The horror of this story comes from the knowledge of systems in place in the U.S. today, namely Homeland Security. Under the guise of Patriotism , any chaos can become a standard form of operation. This is a fiction, but the ability of excessive response and the capturing of billions of funds for such operations is one of those "Truth is stranger than Fiction" things.

The first book I read by Mr. Koontz was in the late 80's, I will admit it scared the bejesus out of me. I am an avid reader, and through the years, I have read Dean Koontz only when I am feeling very brave and ballsy. Stephen King affects me this way too, because it is the stuff of childhood nightmares. Not so fantastical that it is impossible to transpire.

As mentioned before, I have to be in a "biker" frame of mind to read Koontz. After Dean publishes his novels, these bound pages sit on the shelves and are packed in cartons. Something magical and eerie transpires. The characters do come to life and gather a mind of their own. It isn't long before the affected character may resemble the somber rail yard worker, or our town's clubhouse gardener .

Breathless is very different, and it reinforced my pride in those who have risked their lives to keep us free. In this tale, it does turn out well for the good guys, and those who love nature, goodness, justice and what is "the right thing to do". This fiction novel left me not with a feeling of fear and horror, instead...I have a renewed hope and expectancy for the future.

© 2010 Lori J Latimer

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Comments 17 comments

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

Well written. I'm not a Koontz fan for reasons similar to yours. However, your report about the contents has me intrigued.

Congratulations, you've hit the 100 mark! :)


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Thank you Denise! I really am astounded by Breathless...Thank you for the Congrats! Hitting 100 is not easy, nor is maintaining it! I have bobbled around there, it takes a lot of work. Thanks for the read and comment!


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

I love Dean Koontz, you want to know why? I will tell you anyway:

1. He is a marvelous writer, his commmand of the English language is astounding.

2. He almost always has a great dog character in his books.

3. Aside from the far flung scary plots he seems to love, his books always have a good ending.

I love reading his stuff and I demand a happy ending! I might read this again.


tracykarl99 profile image

tracykarl99 6 years ago from San Francisco

Koontz sounds kind of scary, but I like your writing style and your reviews! Thanks:)


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Thank you SteveoMc! He is very good with the human language. It is like he weaves a tapestry or something a bit more sinister (lol) - leave your opinion anytime! I am sorry to say, I didn't realize he has Dogs in most of his books, I will now have to revisit some of the older books. Give us some Reviews...I am curious about this Frankenstein Series... Thanks again.

tracykarl99 - Thank you for coming by and giving your thoughtful comment. This is a very good/happy ending/book (don't want to ruin the end, but it is still a twist :0) )


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

I'm a huge Dean Koontz fan, but for the last year I've been off reading classics I loved/hated in high school: Moby Dick, The Grapes of Wrath, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Your review just may jolt me back to current fiction-well done, Lilly!


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Thank you Lorlie6! It was a very fast read, it can be like dessert inbetween filling meals! :0)


PaperNotes profile image

PaperNotes 6 years ago

I also love Dean Koontz novels. The first of his novel that I have read was Phantom. The rest I have forgotten the titles but they were all amazing. In fact I could stay up all night just to finish reading a book of his. Unfortunately now I hardly have the time to buy nor read a book.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Thank you very much PaperNotes! Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment. Perhaps some time you will have a space to take in the writing again...there is always audio for long auto trips. It is nice having someone read us a story.


Nick B profile image

Nick B 6 years ago from Normandy, France

I've read about six of Dean's books and would thoroughly recommend them to others. Breathless isn't one of them, but I would imagine we have it as Penny reads all the time. I spend most of my time writing, so don't tend to read as much and later hardly at all.

Thanks for the review, Lills, I'll look this one out.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Ah Nick B, Thank you for coming by and giving this a read and comment! It is a good read. It is hard to read when writing so much, It is like putting gas in my car sometimes. Thanks again! :0) Write On Brother!


gg.zaino profile image

gg.zaino 6 years ago from L'America

Hey Lori, Thanks for the hype. I find Koontz an enjoyable departure from the traditional modern horror being pushed these days.

His content and descriptive scenery is sharp, and richer The meat of the book is presented quickly, unlike King in my estimation, who will take you through 300 pages before the characters, and substance are fully revealed.

Thanks for the turn on Hun, will track this tale of the macabre and devour it like the Koontz fan I am. :)

Peace Lady! ;]-~


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Greg I love your visiting, and your brilliant comments as well. Thank You!


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago

My hubby have asked me to grab a few Dean Koontz novels, saying that they are so good. I have been wondering why, I am glad you wrote this review, and now I have got the answers. And glad to see some of his fans here (in the comment) too and read their opinions. Voted up !


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Thank you very much Ingenira!I hope you enjoy Koontz. He is a word smith extraordinare, one who thinks outside of the box. Thanks for the votes and nice comments!


wingedcentaur profile image

wingedcentaur 5 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

Well done, LillyGrillzit! This is a well-written review in which you gave just the right amount of information. I know very well what you mean by needing to be in a certain state of mind, to work up the courage to read a Dean Koontz novel. My favorite Koontz book remains "Mr. Murder," which was turned into a horrid film starring Stephen Baldwin!

Anyway, I used to have a generally positive feeling for Koontz's work, while thinking there were times when he was being too romantic, too sentimental, too "corny." I even believed that he was guilty of trying to be too "literary" for a genre writer.

But I was wrong. What I have recently come to understand is that Koontz's bad guys are so very villainous, so irredeamable (and proud of it, thank you very much), so merciless, so unsparingly cruel, so relentlessly evil (and some of his villains view themselves as being "beyond good and evil") -- that if he did not balance out his novels with syrupy sentimentality and good guys who are "too good to be true" (note that even when they are "flawed," they are flawed in a heroic way) his books would be literally, psychically unbearable to read.

Still, I believe Koontz's strength as a writer lies in content rather than style of delivery.

Anyway, about Breathless, you wrote: "The horror of this story comes from the knowledge of systems in the U.S. today, namely Homeland Security. Under the guise of Patriotism, any chaos can become a standard form of operation."

Agreed! And those two sentences sound a lot like the thesis of Naomi Klein's excellent 2007 book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

Anyway, well done and I voted this up for useful.

Take it easy.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Wingedcentar, words fail me in my ability express what your comments mean to me. You are an excellent writer, I am awed by what you create, and here you have bestowed these strengthening, intelligent words upon this review. Thank you. :0)

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