Monday, January 21, 2013

darkness under the sun

darkness under the sun
dean koontz
random house
published 2010

There once was a killer who knew the night, its secrets and rhythms. How to hide within its shadows. When to hunt. He roamed from town to town, city to city, choosing his prey for their beauty and innocence. His cruelties were infinite, his humanity long since forfeit. But still . . . he had not yet discovered how to make his special mark among monsters, how to come fully alive as Death. This is the story of how he learned those things, and of what we might do to ensure that he does not visit us.

I read an article a while back about how with the advent and popularity of eReaders authors are now having a hard time keeping up with the demand of readers.  Authors generally would publish one book a year.  More prolific writers like Nora Roberts (aka JD Robb) and James Patterson would sometimes release two to three books a year, but now people are reading and they're reading a lot.  In order to satisfy impatient readers more authors are spitting out short stories, or novellas in between novels.

Everyone's doing it.  Carrie Ryan's Forest of Hands and Teeth series has a short, as does Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl's Beautiful Creatures series.  Lee Child has released two shorts in the Jack Reacher series and to precede the release of her newest book Chevy Stevens is publishing a short prelude to her next novel a month before the novel comes out.

Now, horror writer Stephen King has always been a short story writer.  Having at least three collections of short stories and I tend to like his short stories better than his full length novels.  With the shorts it forces him to rein himself in.  His superfluous, ad nauseum depictions of the color of concrete tend to get on my nerves and cause in me a great amount of hatred for all books written by him.

Dean Koontz's books have generally always entertained me, however lately, the last few books I've read have left me feeling sad and irritated.  Two years ago I read What the Night Knows and gave it only two stars on Goodreads and Shelfari.  It was just not very exciting.  His books are starting to become somewhat cookie cutter to me.

Darkness Under the Sun is a 60-page novella taking place nearly twenty years before the events in What the Night Knows.  It tells how both innocence and evil have things in common.

It was creepy, it was direct and to the point.  It was a perfect example of storytelling in merely 60 pages.  The only problem is that it ties very deeply into What the Night Knows and I feel that the story is not complete unless you read both (and you should read What the Night Knows first) and that wasn't a fantastic book. 

So I leave it up to you intrepid reader.  If you want to slog your way through What the Night Knows to get to a decent short story, by all means....

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