Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Book Review: Velocity, By Dean Koontz

I thought I'd do a book review for Velocity, by Dean Koontz after finishing it the other day (in around three days).

I've had it for a while, but just hadn't picked it up till a few days ago. It's also the first book of his I read. I have The Taking and Midnight to read. Anyway, I decided to read it because I was having problems getting through Stephen King's Insomnia. 195 pages into that book, but it seems like it's started to get going now, finally.

Right, so Velocity?

I've no idea whether Dean Koontz uses the formula for the vast majority of his books, but I found that his chapters here were quite short (which was a good learning experience for me, considering my chapters are short). He tended to end them on a cliffhanger as well, which gave the book a real 'page-turner' feel. I wouldn't have finished it so quickly if it wasn't a page turner. It's a good book, but there are a few faults with it.

The premise is that there's a troubled man, called Billy Wiles, working at a local tavern and his fiancee is in a coma. He is very much a loner. One day, he leaves the tavern to find that someone has left a note on his car's windshield. The note says that if he goes to the police, an elderly woman will die. If he doesn't go to the police, a lovely blonde schoolteacher will be killed instead. This leaves Billy in a quandary, but he writes it off as it being a joke note. That is until someone turns up dead. After that, the whole book is essentially a game of cat and mouse with Billy trying to figure out who's killing people and having to make difficult choices. If you get really into the book, you should also be trying to decide along with Billy what you'd do in his position.

Now then, the book I enjoyed. But as I said, it's not without faults. Early on, I had an idea who was killing people. So, it was partly predictable, but to the book's credit, it did make me change my mind as I got towards the end, only to go 'I knew it'. Well, that's in relation to one part of the plot anyway. In addition, the ending was wrapped up quite quickly, but that is actually something I didn't have much of a problem with. In life or death situations, things are normally sorted out quickly anyway and I don't view the book's ending as mattering. What does matter is the journey and what a journey it was, with you wanting to find out how Billy will get out of his predicament.

Speaking of Billy, he was quite a strong character, I thought. Not as well developed as you'd find in a King book, because King dedicates a lot of pages to setting up characters and such. But still pretty well done as he undergoes quite a bit of growth and he is quite resourceful as a result of his past.

The book was intellectual as well, I thought, which I did really enjoy. Well, maybe not intellectual, but it did give insights into the human condition. I always try to dig into the human condition myself to try and make people feel with my writing.

So, in summary, as long as you don't mind some brutal aspects of the book, the creepiness and a rather disturbing serial killer, then it's well worth a read, but I wouldn't expect it to be hard to work out who's doing the killing, as long as you pay attention. I didn't find it that brutal, disturbing etc. either, but I just said it in case others are quite squeamish. But then again, I'm not easily disturbed.