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Not your mama’s Frankenstein ...

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Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2011 5:22 pm | Updated: 10:29 am, Tue Jul 12, 2011.

Dean Koontz must be one of the most prolific of American horror writers. Fine by me. I've read a lot of his work and have rarely been disappointed. I'm pretty sure I know what to expect when I pick up a Koontz book: Good versus evil; decent, unremarkable people being terrorized by demonic, supernatural beings; and more often than not, there's a big goofy Golden Retriever in the picture. Koontz loves his retrievers.

There have been some very compelling story lines and characters that tug at the heart strings. Odd Thomas? Remarkable character and heartwarming series - even with the bodachs..

So I was excited to begin reading the 'Frankenstein' series that Koontz started back in 2004. The first book, 'Prodigal Son' introduced us to a new and improved Dr. Frankenstein in the form of Victor "Helios" Frankenstein. It takes place in New Orleans and also introduces us to Frankenstein's first "creation" Deucalion. According to Green mythology, Deucalion was the son of Prometheus and part of the subtitle of Mary Shelley's original novel. But I read the entire series without that particular piece of knowledge and it made no difference to me. Deucalion is a very complex dude in his own right. He's a man-made monster made out of man-parts. He's not supposed to possess a soul, but after a gazillion years roaming the earth being a badass, he's growing a conscience and fighting the good fight to rid the world of Victor and his ilk.

Frankenstein's ilk is a new race of beings created in his big monster-making lab. Soon ordinary citizens begin disappearing and are replaced by "replicants" who do Victor's bidding without question and with robotic devotion to their maker.

Chaos ensues - as usual. Replicant mistakes are made. Victor is, after all, human. And the mistakes make some of the best characters. Otherwise, there would be no story. One of my favorites is a conflicted little troll named Jocko who began life as a tumor. He's a very endearing, twirling, funny-hat-wearing computer-hacking monster. What's not to love?

Fighting the bad guys from start to finish are a couple of hard-scrabble and rather randy detectives on the case who eventually end up together. A positive outcome in an otherwise dreary situation.

The series began life as a trilogy. Then after finding out there was a fourth, then a fifth book - I was happy about that, but irritated that I had to keep waiting for good to eventually win out over evil (because in Koontz books, it always does). All of the first four books are well done and leave the reader wanting more - but the fifth book ties everything together in a nice perky package with a happy-ending bow. I think the last two books could have been one edition - but that's me.

It's hard to review each book individually - especially after it took so long to read all of them. In fact, it was so long between books two and three that I had to start from the beginning. But it was worth the wait. There's even a graphic novel out that I might have to check out.

I recommend gathering up all five of the books, find a weekend without plans, hunker down (as opposed to hunkering any other direction), and read until your eyes bleed.

Perfect weekend.

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  • Mike Govette posted at 3:05 pm on Fri, Jul 8, 2011.

    Mike Govette Posts: 25

    I also have read all but the final book and have enjoyed every bit of every one.
    Koontz always is fascinating and compelling, though I waver on his various settings and characters. Some are better than others. For me, when I read Watchers, his 'super-dog' turned me into a huge Koontz fan. Following were two or three movies that sucked hard. That's why my Kindle gets more attention than my Comcast sometimes.

  • Brandi Poole posted at 2:49 pm on Fri, Jul 8, 2011.

    Brandi Poole Posts: 79

    I have read them all except the last, my dear book pusher. I am anxiously awaiting that. It is a wondrous thing that Koontz has good triumph over evil. Sometimes in real life we hope that it will happen, but it does not. That makes Koontz all the more wondrous.


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