Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Darkest Evening of the Year-Dean Koontz

The Darkest Evening of the Year
Dean Koontz
Bantam, Nov 27 2007, $27.00
ISBN 9780553804829

In Southern California, following the breakup of her marriage in hell, Amy Redtree forms Golden Hearts, a Golden Retriever rescue organization. Her latest canine saved is Nickie, whose abusive owner beat the dog, his wife, and their children. Amy cannot do much for the spouse except encourage her or for the kids as the state has strange laws protecting the abuser, but accompanied by her “Frank Lloyd Wright” boyfriend Brian McCarthy, she pays $2000 cash buying Nickie.

Nickie moves in with Amy and her two other golden retrievers, Fred and Ethel. However, as Nickie begins rescuing children in trouble and Amy wonders about the miracles her new family member performs, someone stalks Amy. That person perhaps with a partner or two breaks into Amy’s home signifying the start of a reign of terror that reminds Amy about the tragedy that changed her from submissive to in your face. The memory transforms her back from confident risk taker to frightened victim especially when Brian and her canines become targets of this sick predator; only Nickie makes her feel safe.

THE DARKEST EVENING OF THE YEAR is a terrific suspense thriller with messages that society remains too tolerant towards abusers of animals, spouses and children. “Flying” Nickie is a fascinating furry character as she is willing to die to keep Amy and children safe; readers will be hooked just to learn more about who she is. The emotional retreat by Amy brings depth to the strong tense filled plot. From the opening sequence when Amy faces a drunken raging Carl until the final confrontation with psychopaths from her past, Dean Koontz keeps enthralled readers mesmerized throughout the DARKEST EVENING OF THE YEAR at least in the heroine’s mind.

Harriet Klausner

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