If you’ve been to a major book seller in the past month, you’ve probably walked past a tower of neatly arranged books titled The Darkest Evening of the Year. Borders, Barnes and Noble, and to a lesser extent Walden Books all have been pushing this latest title by Dean Koontz pretty hard. Darkest Evening may at first seem a bit too mainstream for your tastes. The title evokes the image of a seemingly churned out piece of prose.

Dean Koontz has an impressive repertoire. Many have called him a poor man’s Stephen King but Dean has his own style of writing. He is a master of suspense and though easy to read, paints a vivid mental picture for readers. This book is no exception.

It begins with a dramatic scene of domestic violence that pins our protagonist Amy Redwing against an enraged drunken man. Yet beyond the usual victims of wife and child, a golden retriever named Nickie with something special in her eyes is presented as a main character. Throughout this book these themes are revisited as Amy and her boyfriend Brian battle greedy and sociopathic antagonists bent on killing them. Chapters go back and forth between our two protagonists and two antagonists who are painted as uncaring inhuman monsters left empty and cold by greed and selfishness. I won’t spoil anything for readers but these two plot lines are intertwined in an interesting way midway through the book.

This book is suspenseful and will always makes you want to read on. The characters are interesting and three dimensional. The plot drives well and leaves no annoying loose ends. So if you are in the mood for a good read or are just a dog lover give this one a shot.