Author: Dean Koontz
Eclectic Rating: 3.0 stars
Good story but there were some trite asides that distracted from the tale. I could see this as a film.
Though there is some familiar Koontz territory here, Relentless is a far cry from his earlier work. You'll find my review of "Intensity" pretty favorable, and in the past I've read his novels Lightning, Whispers, Strangers, Watchers, Tick Tock, The Servants of Twilight which were all engaging and entertaining in their own right, given the usual suspension of disbelief where required.
Trite little lessons, like using cold water when running a garbage disposal, and godly sentiments aside (the latter has become more frequent in Koontz's writing, and in this book almost in every chapter), Relentless started off well enough, but once it got going I began to feel a little alienated, intellectually, and at times the story requires a huge suspension of disbelief.
The story is constructed very simply. Character development is limited and we don't really come to care too much about them. In fact, at some points during this read I actually found myself harboring a certain dislike for the characters. They treat each other like idiots, especially the genius son, Milo, some computer and electronics prodigy who is very dismissive of his parents, his father Cullen (called "Cubby" by his wife) in particular, who is rather lame at fathering, though a critically acclaimed author.
The mom seems to keep everything in control, but otherwise she's not that interesting.
There are some comical moments, and the characters aren't a total bust, but overall they don't make me care enough about what happens. What kept me reading was the unsettling audacity and sinister intent of the antagonist, one Shearman Waxx, a literary critic who gave a scathing review of Cullen's latest novel.
After a chance encounter, which is not entirely by chance and actually pretty funny, Waxx utters one word to Cullen, "Doom." A little lame, but it kept me reading just to find out what this Waxx character had in mind.
Since I was not drawn to care about the characters too much I read through most of Relentless with little emotional investment. When their house blew up it didn't seem to matter to me, and it didn't seem to matter to the characters much either. There was very little reaction from them, that is, reaction that you might expect under such circumstances. it was just a part of the story that had to happen.
So I read on. In my opinion there is very little redeeming value here. It ran forward like clockwork, and I plugged along hoping there was some great finale, or a twist at the end that would tie it all up nicely, make me feel something.
There was a twist. And this is where I again felt intellectually alienated. Suspending our disbelief allows us to be entertained, within certain limits. We can allow ourselves to forgive or accept many things, with some imagination. Monsters, time travel, teleportation, cars that eat people. But if I don't care, it's not going to work.
A teleporting dog. Okay, I'll let that one slide, it's kinda cool. Pick another name for the dog though.
A super-genius kid that can reverse time in a split second using a salt and pepper shaker? I'm not gonna bite. Even if I decided to let Stephen King tell me a story about a car that absorbed people, I just can't make the stretch for this one.
The book wraps up quick with an easy out. Not the best Koontz in my opinion. But hey, what do I know? Every single one of his books ranks as a "New York Times Best Sellers." But then, come to think of it, so do a lot of others...
Find Relentless at Amazon.com (paid link)
Posted On: 25 Jan, 2018
Last Update: 08 May, 2019