This is King at his best: big themes, big cast of characters, big ideas. The problem with this audiobook is the narrator. His reading is awkward and his attempts at a New England/Maine accent fall flat, becoming almost faux-British and downright painful. Still, I soldiered through on the strength of King's narrative, not the narrator. Next time use Campbell Scott!! Please!
I have never read this particular King book, though I consider myself a big fan. I think I never quite got past the opening sequence which wasn't that frightening to me and I kept thinking, "A clown? Oh, puhleez . . ." (And, yeah, John Wayne Gacy kind of sprang to mind.) But I am a huge fan of Steven Weber; thought what he did in THE SHINING was fabulous. Having really enjoyed King's work when Audible snags very good actors (Woods's narration for SECRET WINDOW, SECRET GARDEN is another fabulous listen), I figured, well, why not IT?
I have not been disappointed. Weber really TELLS this story. There is no "reading" here. I am sitting in a dark room--or around a campfire--and I am listening to a master at work.
For years, I've associated the late Frank Muller as the voice of Stephen King, and yet not even Mr. Muller did well with all King's books. Further, the last few King books, save for DUMA KEY, haven't really turned my crank. Maybe with a very good storyteller like Mr. Weber, they would. (And I agree with others: THE STAND should be in someone's sights.)
So thank you, Audible, for reminding me why I have loved King in the past. And encore, encore for Mr. Weber!
This is a fabulously funny book in so many ways and yet it's also deadly serious. I disagree completely not only with people who object to the author's voice (it's perfect for Keller) but to those who wanted more splatter. This is a character study, not a thriller. One of the reasons Keller DOESN'T dwell on the gory particulars is because a) killing is his job, not his thrill and b) he's emotionally incapable of it. The author does a great job of bringing Keller, slowly, into the realm of human experience by giving him things and people to begin to care about. I've never heard the other books in the series, but I do intend to listen. I'm not sure that *I* will be able to shake Block's voice; he's a perfect Keller.
A stellar reader and a well-drawn tale kept me tethered to my iPod. I am not regular devotee of horror, but this book succeeded in being genuinely weird and downright creepy. The reader was SUPERB at giving all the characters distinctive personalities. My only quibble is that I think the writer wrote herself into a bit of a corner--how do you get out of a no-win, Kobiyashi Maru scenario if you're not James T. Kirk?--and needed to wrap things up as quickly and tidily as possible. That meant, of course, that some of the worst and best people had to die, and you'll see whom from a long way off. A shame, but still not enough of a flaw to demote the book a star. Even King punts now and again (e.g., _Cell_).
I agree that this book started out well, but it completely fell apart in the middle and the end stretched credulity. Anyone familiar with Koontz's work knows that he has routinely trotted out government cabals intent upon societal "reconstruction," and uber-assassins, with no pasts who've been artificially constructed (e.g., _Mr. Murder_, the two awful books in the Frankenstein series). This trope is getting tired. Further, Koontz's writing has gotten much choppier in the past several years until the majority of his paragraphs are no more than a sentence or two long. Frankly, they're painful to read; you can't build up any kind of flow. There were two complete chapters (and I use that term liberally) where each sentence was broken up with one line descriptions of hummingbirds and sparrows doing whatever it is that hummingbirds and sparrows do best--and none of it adding a single thing to the narrative. They weren't even GOOD descriptions.
Add to that the widespread technique of constructing chapters that are, maybe, four pages long--and Koontz can't be blamed for following James Patterson's lead on this, but that doesn't mean it's "good" or enjoyable writing, or even anything close to English--and you've got the makings of one helluva tedious book that was just plain dull. Richard Ferrone is one of my favorite readers; in fact, I bought this because I like Ferrone. But even Ferrone can't make a bad book better.
Save your money. Better yet, listen to one of Koontz's better books, like _Mr. Murder_ or listen as Ferrone reads any of the Sandford books (he IS Lucas Davenport). Not only will you get coherent storylines, character development, and excellent descriptions in the Sandford books--you'll actually listen to chapters instead of sound bites masquerading as narrative.
Not only was this not suspenseful, but the narrator is HORRID. I had high hopes for Dekker, but I will not be buying any more by this author--or narrator.
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