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Publisher's Summary

With each of his number-one New York Times best-sellers, Dean Koontz has displayed an unparalleled ability to entertain and enlighten listeners with novels that capture the essence of our times, even as they bring us to the edge of our seats. Now he delivers a heart-gripping tour de force he's been waiting years to write - at once a love story, a thrilling adventure, and a masterwork of suspense that redefines the boundaries of primal fear and of enduring devotion.

Amy Redwing has dedicated her life to the Southern California organization she founded to rescue abandoned and endangered golden retrievers. Among dog lovers, she's a legend for the risks she'll take to save an animal from abuse. Among her friends, Amy's heedless devotion is often cause for concern. To widower Brian McCarthy, whose commitment she can't allow herself to return, Amy's behavior is far more puzzling and hides a shattering secret.

No one is surprised when Amy risks her life to save Nickie, nor when she takes the female golden into her home. The bond between Amy and Nickie is immediate and uncanny. Even her two other goldens, Fred and Ethel, recognize Nickie as special, a natural alpha. But the instant joy Nickie brings is shadowed by a series of eerie incidents: An ominous stranger. A mysterious home invasion. And the unmistakable sense that someone is watching Amy's every move, and that, whoever it is, he's not alone.

Someone has come back to turn Amy into the desperate, hunted creature she's always been there to save. But now there's no one to save Amy and those she loves.

From its breathtaking opening scene to its shocking climax, The Darkest Evening of the Year is Dean Koontz at his finest.

©2007 Dean Koontz; (P)2007 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"With a magician's expertise, Koontz sets his multiple story lines spinning forward, jumping from one cliffhanger to the next....[T]his is a compulsively readable book that inexorably pulls the reader along." (The Boston Globe)

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  • Overall
  • Fred
  • Topsham, MA, United States
  • 12-28-07

Dean's got his groove back

I've "read" many of Dean Koontz's books, some good, some not so good and then there's this one. Probably one of, if not the best one so far. The story line kept me interested all the way through. I listen to the books in my car and found myself sitting there listening to this book well after getting to many of my destinations. I liked the dog in this book as much as Christopher Snow's dog in 'Fear Nothing'. By the way, where is Christopher Snow?

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Wonderful story

This book is one of my new favorite Dean Koontz novels.

The narrator did a fantastic job, one of the best narration jobs I've heard.

Dean does an excellent job of weaving a fantastic tale with characters keeps you entertained and makes you want to countinue to listen in intrest.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Interesting, But a Bit Preachy

Dean delivers with his unusual gift of prose, but much of the dialogue comes out as preaching to the choir. The bad guys are exceedingly evil and the good guys, of course, are the ones in the big white hats. This becomes a bit simplistic. I wish there was a little more balance, but it is certainly an interesting read.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

never a dull moment

kept my interest until the last work. Has alotof supernatural stuff in it and edge of your seatstuff. I appreciate any bood where the dog is made the hero he really is. you will not be disapointed in this one

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I have to admit I'm one of the Biggest Dean Koontz fans and this one was a bit hard for me to read. Unless you are a huge dog fan, and can handle the switch from reality to supernatural almost at books end, then it's tough to get through. I still Loooove the Man, though. Dean is the best author out there, so far!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • George
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • 01-05-08


This is the first audio book That I have listened to. The story seemed slow to me and hard to concentrate. I drive for a living and once I got to know the characters it was very hard to pause the audio to do my deliveries. Nikkie was a fantastic Dog. How a person can come up with a story with so many different characters then tie them all up at the end was beyond belief. Thank you for a wonderful story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Beth
  • Norwalk, CT, USA
  • 12-07-07

A Rescuers Dream

I have never read a Koontz book until this one caught my eye. He has certainly done his homework into the world of dog rescue which he intertwined into the heart pounding story in this book. I found myself tearing up on more than one occasion as he described in detail the life of a dog rescuer and the happiness and sorrows that come with that life.

Even if you've never rescued an animal you will enjoy this book. It's touching and exciting and holds your interest right up to the last sentence

23 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

not just about dogs

I have read a lot of Koontz and was a bit skeptical, seeing that Golden Retriever on the cover page....thinking maybe this is going to be real bad, real corny and all that (especially since Koontz' dog just died.)
But surprise surprise. after reading many reviews on this book on amazon as well, I think it's time someone steps up and mentions that this book is not really about dogs and dog rescue, though though this plays a certain role.

there is actually something like a plot as well, and I was really really impressed by "moon girl", the novel's most shining character and villain, I am not saying that she is the most vicious koontz-creation ever, since there are so many, but she is certainly second to none. the way koontz fleshes out the character there is a super dangerous and also erotic charge emanating from this character, very interesting. and the villain a woman, that's quite rare. Big plus.

amy the dog-fanatic and rescuer has an interesting story to tell as well - and guess what: there are supernatural elements in this story. and there's lots of really brutal sadistical people after her and her boy-friend.

so don't be too concerned, this is not all "cutsy" stuff (though some of it). it is, however, a light and good suspenseful read, way better than I had thought it would be. the ending is in my opinion completely ridiculous, and I am wondering if he screwed it up on purpose, but this story does not really need a clever ending, it's just not that type of read where you just can't wait for a ingenious conclusion. the ending is silly but it doesn't really matter with this book. will most certainly entertain you.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Like Dogs! Liked it!

I am a real sucker for Retrievers and so my review is absolutely biased. Also, I love how Koontz writes about these intelligent dogs (remember Einstein?). While I do not like everything Koontz writes, I do like his dog stories and definitely think that animals are smarter than we give them credit for. I listened to the first three quarters of this book nonstop and was completely engaged by the storyline. The characters were well developed, and the villians were absolutely terrifying. Also, I like the fact that one of the protagonists, was a little girl with Downe's Syndrome. She was not a victem, but was a self empowered strong human being. Bravo Koontz for imparting this sensitivity and for defying stereotypes. I was a bit disappointed by the abruptness of the ending, but all in all this was one of the better Koontz books that I have listened to.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Sub Par for Koontz

I have listened to every Zoontz book on Audible. There is no bigger fan. This book was bad. It makes me suspect he is using a ghost writer, and a bad one at that. His usual wordy, vivid descriptions were taken to the extreme. The plot was typical, but weak and the story moved at a snail's pace. I had to force myself to finish this one, and usually I have to tear myself away from Koontz' work. I recomend you do not waste your money on this one.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful