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Relentless: A Novel

A book by Dean Koontz

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Character and dialogue bailed out a plot thin in a number of areas...

  • Aug 8, 2009
  • by
I'm developing a bit of a love/hate relationship with Dean Koontz books. I finished Relentless a couple of days ago, and I like and dislike it at the same time. It all depends on what aspect of the book I'm looking at...

In the latest book, we have Cullen "Cubby" Greenwich, a successful author of popular fiction who has just released his latest book. His wife is also a successful children's author, so they are well into the writing lifestyle. We also have Milo, their son, who is six going on genius when it comes to working with computers, physics, and all those heavy-duty subjects. And let's not forget the dog, Lassie... *not* a golden retriever, but still has a unique personality that seems to be hiding a human within. Cubby gets a series of good reviews on his new book, but one in particular is rather scathing. It's by a reviewer by the name of Shearman Waxx, who is known for his intellectual ramblings, lack of humanity, and his reclusive nature. Cubby's agent tells him to just let it go, as does his wife, and as does everyone else. But he can't resist just trying to get a look at this guy who apparently hates his work. He runs into him at a restaurant, and the only word Waxx says to Greenwich is "doom". That starts a psychotic series of attacks on Cubby's family, all heading towards a probable killing of them all. No matter where he goes or where he runs, Waxx seems to be there, slowly eating away at their security and sanity. Research on Greenwich's part reveals that he's not the only author who has be targeted after brutal reviews by Waxx, and the parallels to his own situation are frightening. He has to try and play Waxx's game without knowing all the rules before Waxx takes everything that Cubby values.

On the positive side, I loved the characters. Cubby is a guy who is great with words, but pretty much inept at anything mechanical. Both his wife and kid give him endless grief over his lack of skill in that area, and the verbal exchanges are quite fun to follow. As someone who sort of views himself that way, I could relate. Koontz is still, in my book, a master at character dialogue and at painting a scene with humor and tension. But as with a number of his recent books, the plot seems thin in various areas. Waxx remained a mystery to me, even after the final chapter. The whole logistical and operational force behind his abilities to show up anywhere was far from believable, nor was I able to catch much of a reason as to why they existed in the first place. And Milo's endless absorption into his "project" seems to drag on until the very end, when it's a plot device to help Cubby and family escape. Again, it just seems to pop up out of nowhere, even though looking back there are clues to what might be happening (weak, but they're there).

I don't think Relentless was a waste of time, as I did enjoy it on a writing and character level. But I do wish that Koontz would once again deliver some of his plotlines that are more solid and believable, even when he's dealing within the "supernatural" genre.

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More Relentless: A Novel reviews
review by . February 04, 2010
Bestselling author Cullen "Cubby" Greenwich, having survived a traumatic experience as a child, considers himself a lucky man. He's married to the love of his life, has a six-year-old son who's a genius, and a dog named Lassie Cubby suspects may have supernatural abilities. When Cubby's latest novel is given a scorching review by acclaimed reviewer Shearman Waxx, everyone advises Cubby to let it go. But Cubby's curious about the man whose review is filled with misstated facts about his book. Cubby …
review by . December 12, 2009
This novel is strange, different, not at all what you are expecting but it's wonderful in ways that even I dont understand yet. I think so very often in this digital age we get overly saturated with every person's oppinion before experiencing the item in question, I try not to let them sway me and still have my own saying, wether it's good or bad, I want to have my own feeling on the item, especially when it's a book. After reading "Relentless" new impressions and conclusions are still popping into …
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Thomas Duff ()
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Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
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About this book


A bad book review propels this farcical thriller from bestseller Koontz (Your Heart Belongs to Me). Bestselling author Cullen Cubby Greenwich is mortified when Shearman Waxx, the nation's premier literary critic, savages his work. Cubby manages to find the syphilitic swine at Roxie's Bistro in Newport Beach, Calif., where the author's six-year-old prodigy son nearly pees by accident on Waxx in the restaurant's men's room. In retaliation, Waxx threatens Cubby with doom and gets things started nicely by blowing up his house. With almost superhuman ease, the book critic keeps track of Cubby and his family as they flee for their lives. While some may take this as satire, the over-the-top villain's underdeveloped motivation and a jokey narrative tone that jars when juxtaposed with terrifying scenes of violence will leave others scratching their heads. By the time Koontz introduces a science fiction element, a lot of readers may have already checked out.(June)
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ISBN-10: 0553807145
ISBN-13: 978-0553807141
Author: Dean Koontz
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Bantam
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