Dean Koontz can BLOW ME!!!
Who or what can be a target of an ". Can Blow Me" article? Anyone really. Authors, musicians, comedians, movies, books, TV Shows, your dog, even your mom! Obviously this is not meant to be literal. Do I really want Dean Koontz to blow me? Hell no! (Though if his wife ever wants to be with a real man she should give me a call.) The ".Can Blow Me" concept is based on the simple premise that during the fellatio, the "blower" is subservient to the "blowee."
Who is Dean Koontz? Why he's none other than one of the most successful fiction authors of our age. His books, ranging from suspense to romance to. more suspense can be found featured on the racks of airport bookstores everywhere. And his popularity is astounding. These days, when Dean drops a bomb on the bookworld it instantly shoots to number one on the New York Times List.
Now you might read that and assume, that since I'm about to slam the guy, I'm one of these snotty, highbrow literature snobs that thinks any sort of popular fiction is garbage only reserved for the stinking, snoring, unkempt masses (such as yourself.) Maybe you think I'm going to compare Koontz's work to "Finnegan's Rainbow" or "The Odyssey"* and complain about how it lacks the delicate sub text of interconnected timeless structures of the blah, blah, blah, blah. Batshit! I love popular fiction (or pulp fiction as it used to be called.) Steven King, Jim Thompson and Clive Barker are all major cats in my book. Hell, I once read a Jackie Collins novel and loved it. Loved it!! Literature is filled with boring crap like themes about man's inner condition and lyrical displays of poetic pontification. Pop Fiction is filled with cool stuff like guns and monsters and people having sex with monsters. Longtime readers know I've dropped some fiction myself, and trust me, it ain't class material.
* I can proudly say I've never read either of these.
So since I'm not judging the guy from the point of view of a frustrated literature professor who can barely contain the seething rage he feels towards a publishing industry that won't distribute his three-thousand page novel about a man who buys a shack on the coast of New Hampshire, why do I have it in for the Koontster? Well that's the point of this whole article my friend. I've wasted to many hours of my life wading through his tepid, cliché-ridden fiction and if just one person comes away from this piece determined never to read a Dean Koontz story, it'll all have been worth it.
I should make one thing clear - my entire beef with Dean comes from reading just two of his paperbacks: "The Face" and "Odd Thomas." Now you might say, "Geez, Wil, you're trashing the guy and you've only read two of his books? That doesn't seem fair." But I think this actually strengthens my case. His work was so bad, I couldn't bring myself to indulge any more after only two reads. That someone such as I, so accustomed to literary abuse (keep in mind I've ready pretty much everything John Saleeby ever wrote) would be turned off after a couple shots, says a lot, I think. Yes it does. A lot.
My first complaint with Koontz is that his plots just plain fucking suck. I'm about to discuss the two novels I've read and I should offer a spoiler alert, but frankly, since my whole point here is to warn you away from his work, it doesn't make much sense. But take "The Face" for example. What happens? There's an ex-cop - your stereotypical burnt out Steve McQueen clone (But he's a good man, dammit!) - who's got a tough black cop friend (Paging Avery Brooks!). The main cop is supposed to be protecting the estate and son of some famous Brad Pitt style movie star called "The Face." Then, after about five hundred pages of some voodoo mumbo jumbo and some shit ripped off from "Se7en" the ex-cop kicks the ass of the surprisingly lame villain and everyone is happy. That's basically it. I mean, I guess there's more to it, but I've forgotten the details and that's another complaint. A good plot should stick in the brain. I could write a shooting script to Steven Kings "The Long Walk" from memory. Ten years later I can recall the story arc to Jim Thompson's "The Killer Inside Me." But "The Face" is such a mishmash of worn out (and unlikable) characters and sub-plots torn out of recent movies it all gets gummed up in your head like some sort of story gumbo and the fine details fade into the ether.
"Odd Thomas" is a little better. Once again, Koontz steals an idea from the movies, offering up a protagonist who "sees dead people." Instead of an annoying 8-year old kid, Odd Thomas is a 20-year old fry cook who helps the cops solve the murders of the various newly dead people who visit him. (The novel starts out great with Odd tracking down the killer/rapist of a young girl who visits him.) Unfortunately, the whole "sees dead people" aspect of the story is the best part and not much of any real interest happens for the rest of the novel. There's some fat bad guy who ends of dead in Odd's bathtub, and then Odd tries to prevent a dastardly plot which isn't all that dastardly (basically Columbine in a shopping mall) and to be honest, kind of fucks that up, and then there a mild twist ending at the end that I probably could have foreseen if I wasn't just trying to get through the novel at that point. The problem with both novels is that the stakes just aren't very high. The bad guys in "The Face" are trying to kill the Face and his annoying son (I guess.) I'm reading this shit say, "Let 'em. Kill the fuckers off just so I can get out of here." In Odd Thomas the evil plot just seems so unlikely it's hard for me to really take it seriously.
Second problem with Koontz: His characters. They are almost all idiots or assholes with exception of Odd Thomas and his girlfriend. But everyone in "The Face" is a complete douche. The lead character, Ethan Somethingorother, is, as mentioned, the standard cop cliché that got boring around the days of "Spenser for Hire." He's flawed, but flawed in a completely acceptable way. (I can't remember, I think he's an alcoholic or something.) You wanna give me a flawed cop character, give me a cop who's a child molester. Or a cop who's a cannibal. Or, worst of all, a cop who enjoys "Everybody Love Raymond." Make me feel sympathetic for that guy and you're on to something.
And the kid! The kid in "The Face" is the most annoying kid character in modern fiction. For one thing, his name is "Fric" which is short for some gay, Elfquest name given to him by his model mother. And then Koontz wastes about 300 pages of the novel detailing the how Fric is trying to build some fort to protect himself from the bad guy he knows is coming. Yawn. Kill the brat off and give me those hours of my life back.
What drives the flaws with Koontz's characters is his boring worldview. Unlike a lot of authors and sensitive artist types, Koontz isn't some sissy moral relativist. He believes there are good people in the world and there are evil people and you don't have to dig much deeper than that. For instance, the bad guys in "Odd Thomas"? They're Satanists. That's all he gives us. Why do they want to kill hundreds of innocent people? They're Satanists, fucko, and that what's Satanists do! (Though, in the history of the world I bet Satanists have killed about twelve people.) The main bad guy in "The Face" is some sort of weirdo anarchist who goes around causing chaos as part of some crazy theory that it will causes the destruction of humanity and society can then begin anew. In short, he's a Satanist.
Of course the good guys are even worse. Despite being supposedly world weary adventurers who've seen the worst humanity has to offer, both the leads from "The Face" and "Odd Thomas" have clearly never had an impure thought pass through their heads. Look, when I drive past some hot floozy standing on the sidewalk, I think, "Say, that's a pretty nice piece of gash." If some guy almost rear ends me I think, "I should get out of the car and slit this motherfucker's throat!" You know, just like a normal person! But Koont'z's protagonists are so filled with goodness and light they'd probably offer to drive the floozy to church while they wonder whether their brake light is out.
But here's what really burns me up about Koontz. Every one of his five hundred page stories could be told in about fifty. But the Deanster has to load every page up with all this flowery and excessive language to show you what a big vocabulary he's got. (Trying to make up for something, Deaneroni?) Every noun has got five adjectives before it, every object gets a page and a half of description when it's introduced and every character gets a complete psychoanalysis when they show up on the page. Do I care that the "Our Lady of Angels hospital" from "The Face" is "a tall white structure with ziggurat-style steps. crowned with a series of diminishing plinths that support a final column"? (Answer: Fuck No!) Is someone paying this douchebag by the word? Give me monsters and people having sex with monsters!
So that's pretty much why Dean Koontz can blow me. His cliché characters, simplistic morality, uninteresting plots and overweight verbage are a prime example of how not to write fiction. Dean Koontz is such a.
What's that? Someone's at the door?
Why hello Mrs. Koontz.
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Wil Forbis is a well known international playboy who lives a fast paced life attending chic parties, performing feats of derring-do and making love to the world's most beautiful women. Together with his partner, Scrotum-Boy, he is making the world safe for democracy. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Wil's web log, The Wil Forbis Blog, and receive complete enlightenment.
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