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The Darkest Evening of the Year (2007)

de Dean Koontz

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2,690904,058 (3.36)69
Amy Redwing is the founder of a California organization that rescues abandoned and endangered golden retrievers. Amy risks her life to save Nickie and takes her into her home. The bond between Amy and Nickie is immediate and uncanny. Even her two other goldens, Fred and Ethel, recognize Nickie as special, a natural alpha. But the instant joy Nickie brings is shadowed by a series of eerie incidents. An ominous stranger. A mysterious home invasion.… (més)
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Es mostren 1-5 de 91 (següent | mostra-les totes)
One of the best Koontz books I've read. As an animal shelter worker, his description of the dogs, their eyes, their feelings, really hit the mark. I really felt he did his homework on homeless pets. I was almost in tears a few times because the reality is just as he describes. The story kept me interested, regardless of the dogs though. ( )
  purple_pisces22 | Mar 14, 2021 |
Despite the graphic and sometimes disturbing nature of his stories, they also never fail to make me smile or even laugh. The only issues I have with his books are that, first of all, the "good guys" are often not very likable, which is the case with Amy Redwood, the protagonist. The second issue is a bit more serious; he tends to over-magic things. At the end of this book, for example, the two protagonists are killed. But then a dog lays on top of them and everything's back to better than normal. ( )
  ctanons | Jan 26, 2021 |
Is it possible to like and hate a book at the same time? I think it must be...as that's pretty much how I feel about this book.

I picked out the audiobook version of this Dean Koontz novel from my local library's online site. I expected Dean Koontz creepiness with the added plus of a sentient wonderful dog (something Koontz has done well before). The basic plot sounded like something I would really enjoy. The Basics: Amy Redwing runs a Golden Retriever Rescue group. She is dedicated to saving as many Goldens as she can. She is soft-spoken, yet firm, enabling her to negotiate with irresponsible owners who need to turn over their dogs to her. One night, accompanied by her boyfriend Brian, she risks her life to rescue Nickie from a drunk, violent man. Nickie is a special dog and her rescue sends ripples through Amy and Brian's lives, bringing to light all their secrets and putting them on a shared path to a thrilling end.

What I liked about this book -- I love dogs. I have 4 rescue dogs and they are the sweetest, kindest, most beautiful souls. I enjoyed the way the Amy felt about her dogs and how the dogs were portrayed as family members and companions. I also enjoyed the ideas Koontz conveyed about the ability of dogs to comfort and help heal traumatized children and adults, too.

The audiobook was well-read by Kirsten Kairos. I have hearing loss, but was able to easily hear and understand everything. At times, because of my hearing, I have a difficult time with audiobooks read by women. I'm not sure why.....maybe it's the higher pitch of female voices? Not sure. But, I didn't have that problem this time.

What I didn't like -- a portion of the plot is about an abused Down Syndrome child. I found these portions of the book very, very difficult to listen to. In fact, at one point, hearing about how her abusive mother spit into her child's food and then tried to trick her into eating it almost made me throw up. It wasn't just abuse....it was incredibly horrific psychological abuse. I just found it so reprehensible I almost gave up on this book. That sort of abuse done to an innocent child, especially one with the innocent love of a Down Syndrome child, was horror -- but not the sort I wanted to listen to. I stuck it out though because I wanted to find out if the child was saved at the end. But be prepared -- this book is not for the feint of heart. The child's mother is disgusting, vile and evil. Truly a villain and the descriptions of how she treats her little girl, her lovers, and innocent people around here are graphic.

I also had a hard time with some of the dialogue and descriptive passages. Koontz piles on adjectives and weird flowery descriptions and metaphors for things. Once in awhile a bit of over-exuberant description is okay....but when it's constant, after a few chapters it just starts to get a little cheesy. I'm not sure what to call it..... over-writing, perhaps? Some of the sentences were like entries in a bad writing contest. The dialogue pulled me out of the story several times because it just got ridiculous. Characters were saying things in flowery, over-stated language that no person would ever use in conversation.

I did finish the book. The story was ok. The dogs were the best part of the whole thing. :) The plot was a bit over-done....melodramatic, unrealistic and just weird at times. Now I realize most horror novels are weird and not realistic....this book was just annoyingly so. I had a hard time buying into the story. Just too much. Too cheesy. And some of it was just disturbing in a grotesque way. I guess just had a hard time with the severe child abuse depicted in the story. I wish I had picked another Koontz book. I chose this one because the blurb sounded intriguing. I have enjoyed Koontz's books in the past....but this one just left me feeling flat and a bit traumatized. I really wanted to jump into the book, rescue the Down Syndrome girl and just punch her mother in the face until she fell over. GRRRRR.

I'm going read a some lighter, happy books and then come back and try another Koontz novel. This book was just not my cup of tea. ( )
  JuliW | Nov 22, 2020 |
I wish I could say I liked this novel more. I mean, there were a lot of murderers and anarchists, there was the healing power of a golden retriever, and there was a mentally handicapped kiddo and some genuinely nice people who were our heroes.

Unfortunately, it just doesn't stand out that much from any of Koontz's other novels. No breakaway gimmick, no over-the-top message beyond treating dogs well. (Kids are a lesser priority, but let's face it, dogs are cuter.) ;)

It was almost as if I've read this novel before. Several times. By the same author.

I mean, there's absolutely no relationship between this and Watchers, right? There isn't a dog in every single one of his novels, right? There aren't psychos and anarchists and just plain murderers abounding in any of his other novels, right? There aren't slightly flawed heroes and heroines suddenly propelled into situations way out of their league, right?

Sorry. This one was pretty much straight Koontz formula. Good for what it is, decent if you've never read his stuff before, but don't expect to be blown away if you've already been a fan.
( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
This book legit confused me right up to the end, to this day I am not sure I really know what was going on. Still a good book... but not one I'll be reading again. ( )
  AshleighDJCutler | May 12, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Koontz, Deanautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Kairos, KristenNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
--Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
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To Gerda, who will one day be greeted jubilantly in the next life by the golden daughter whom she loved so well and with such selfless tenderness in this world. And to Father Jerome Molokie, for his many kindnesses, for his good cheer, for his friendship, and for his inspiring devotion to what is first, true, and infinite.
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Behind the wheel of the Ford Expedition, Amy Redwing drove as if she were immortal and therefore safe at any speed.
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Wikipedia en anglès (2)

Amy Redwing is the founder of a California organization that rescues abandoned and endangered golden retrievers. Amy risks her life to save Nickie and takes her into her home. The bond between Amy and Nickie is immediate and uncanny. Even her two other goldens, Fred and Ethel, recognize Nickie as special, a natural alpha. But the instant joy Nickie brings is shadowed by a series of eerie incidents. An ominous stranger. A mysterious home invasion.

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