Book Review: The Big Dark Sky by Dean Koontz

 

An image the cover of the novel The Big Dark Sky by Dean Koontz set in a yellow background with blue and light blue stars. A line of elk is under it.


    Dean Koontz is a renowned, prolific writer who is known for his thriller, mystery, and horror novels. Koontz is highly praised by distinguished publications such as the New York Times and Rolling Stone. Since senior college, he has never stopped writing. He is not only a writing machine but a generator of best-selling novels: fourteen of his books were number one on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list, and sixteen were number one in paperback. The Big Dark Sky is his 158th book that tackles synchronicity, blind faith, belief in humanity, and nefarious technology.

OVERVIEW

    A strange dream, a strange cry, and a strange call from her dead mother pressured Joanna Chase to go back to Rustling Willows Ranch in Montana, her childhood home.  Since she left Montana, she had forgotten her past including her childhood friend who was depreciated by most people because of his strange looks. Glimpses of her past memories intermittently flashed in Joanna's mind as if someone was turning a light bulb on and off in her brain.

    Entirely unaware, other people whom she didn't know were also led to Montana:

— a private investigator who was hired by the current owner of Rustling Willow Ranch to  look into the strange phenomenon happening around the ranch;

— a white hacker who was tapped by the  private investigator to trace the master manipulator of the technology that was used to create the indescribable and terrifying events;

— a head of a classified project that aimed to catch an unknown being that used government's machinery in killing several people. Clues about the whereabouts of the brain behind the incidents pointed to the ranch;

— a narcissistic, deranged man hiding in an abandoned village near the ranch, holding a dangerous belief that humankind must be punished for all the crimes against humanity and mother earth. Mass murder was his only option of retribution.

    Whether it was all pure coincidences or not, Joanna was at the right place at the right time with the right people that uncovered a horrific truth about her odd  friend and the fate of humanity.

QUOTES

Incredible coincidences without apparent cause are called synchronicities. They might better be called the stuff of life.
— Ganesh Patel

On the quantum level, reality is spookily fragile and can be manipulated. By whom? By us.
— Ganesh Patel

Amazing coincidences are in fact unconsciously engineered synchronicities, and we are the engineers.
— Ganesh Patel

We were created to be creators, and we create ceaselessly, both consciously and unconsciously.
— Ganesh Patel

By thousands of chance encounters and uncountable coincidences, people are drawn together to save a life, to save a nation, to save the world.
—  Ganesh Patel

WHAT I LOVED (This part contains spoilers)
  • I like the details of places in the story. For instance, Joanna's home in Sta. Fe mirrors her childhood home in Montana which is an interesting introduction to Joanna, her family, her friend, and the history of the ranch.
  • The imageries in the story were memorable. The place where Joanna's grand entrance happened was a great choice to showcase the greatness of the power and affection of an unknown being.
  • Koontz was able to create an interesting antagonist with unique characteristics and capabilities. It recognizes the imperfection of people and injustice, exhibits affection towards a human being, and possesses an ancient technology that is as advanced as, if not more than human's modern counterpart. 
  • Koontz was so imaginative in incorporating a techno side to the story. The use of the Internet in manipulating the events added excitement to the plot. It was thrilling to follow Kenny and his girlfriend escape the deadly game of the enemy.
  • In the story, Koontz displayed the danger of mixing narcissism and madness. Asher Optime's love for Mother Earth was disturbing and his desire to bring humankind to justice was horrifying. These flaws fed a disconcerting relationship between Asher and the unknown being. Both were consumed by their sense of superiority and disillusionment.

WHAT I DIDN'T LOVE
  • This is my first book by Dean Koontz and his style of writing is different from the novels I like to read.  In the beginning, Koontz introduces the different characters in a staccato movement; the quick change of point of view in every chapter is challenging for me to follow the narratives. It was all good in the end, though. The whole picture of the story took shape eventually.
  • There are points in the story that I find surprising and not necessary to the plot. Ganesh's sudden romantic interest in a woman whom he newly met at the height of the story's tension seemed out of the place but it makes more sense if there's a sequel to the novel because the ending purports to a possible love triangle, Ophelia, Ganesh, and Artimis. 

SUMMING-UP

    Dean Koontz' The Big Dark Sky is an exciting techno-thriller, mystery, and horror novel about synchronicity, blind faith, betrayal, survival, and acceptance.

    Told in the third-person and multiple perspectives, Koontz hooks readers with heartbreaking stories of family and friendship, horrific and mind-blowing imageries that showcase the capabilities of unknown power, and a cat-and-mouse chase of the threats to the survival of humankind.

    Although there are strong and weak characters, the details of the events and setting are effective in stimulating imagination and overall understanding of the plot. 

    The Big Dark Sky is a great read for people who like action-packed suspense, mystery, and horror stories.

    Thank you, Dean Koontz, Thomas & Mercer, and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy and the opportunity to share my honest review.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Book Information:
The Big Dark Sky by Dean Koontz
To Be Published on July 19, 2022, by Thomas & Mercer
380 pages (eBook)

Find it here:

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