The project places the doctor — a socially prominent and successful businessman — and his super-human original creation Deucalion in modern-day New Orleans. The story centers on a pair of street-smart detectives who encounter Deucalion while investigating a murder, leading them to a bizarre array of “engineered” humans.
The story centers on a short-order cook named Odd Thomas (played by Anton Yelchin) who can commune with the dead, a secret only his girlfriend (Addison Timlin) and the local police (Willem Dafoe) chief know.
The young man can also spot malevolent forces called bodachs, who feed on pain and portent imminent death. When Odd sees them in spades surrounding a stranger, he finds himself in a race against time to avert a catastrophe.
Dean Koontz’s newest novel, Innocence (December 10; Bantam), is virtually guaranteed to be a runaway holiday bestseller. With a primo release date and the tried and true name of Dean Koontz stamped on the cover, grandmas everywhere will be salivating to slide this gift-wrapped treasure into the soft hands of their bookworm grandsons. After 30+ years of repeated bestsellers, Koontz is no longer an author, he’s a brand. He represents something you buy because you’ve always bought it, like a particular type of canned chili––he’s not particularly good, but you stick to what you know. And when it comes to Christmastime, a new Dean Koontz hardcover is like a strangely familiar glitter, winking at you from a Barnes and Noble easel rack.
At its core, Innocence is nothing more than a stifling, sluggish retread of Beauty and the Beast. Addison is a 26-year-old recluse who favors face-rags and hidden bomb shelters––the mere sight of his freakish visage results in rabid attempts on his life. Gwynyth is an 18-year-old Goth girl pursued by the man who killed her father, a rare book thief with rape-y tendencies, perhaps one of the most ridiculous villains ever put to paper. The two outcasts join forces in a revenge tale that’s as poorly paced as a health clinic pamphlet, padded out with unnecessarily detailed flashbacks, and capped with an overtly-religious last-minute twist that is certain to leave more than a few readers in an eye-rolling stupor.
Speaking of flashbacks, Innocence is a novel so flashback-driven, nothing ever really happens to the characters––or more accurately, stuff has already happened as the novel begins, and a bunch of boring flashbacks fill in the gaps. Rather than depict a character’s journey in real time, Koontz would prefer to divulge their destination, and then bore the reader with details of how they got there. As a first-person narrative voice, it’s certainly ill-conceived, and if the flashback padding is intentional, it’s downright egregious, an author taking advantage of his doting fan base. This isn’t the Dean R. Koontz behind heartfelt page-turners like Watchers, Lightning, or Strangers. This is latter-day Dean Koontz, a master of treading narrative water.
I have a secret Dean Koontz theory that I’ve been harboring for years. I don’t share it with many people, but what the hell, we‘re all friends here. I hypothize that Koontz actually stopped writing novels back in the 1990s and the rights to his name were purchased by a nameless multinational corporation for millions of dollars. There were two stipulations: Koontz must go into hiding forever, and the middle initial R. could never be used again. This anonymous but undeniably evil Corporation then employed a sweatshop of heavily bearded, hyper-articulate college professors to take little sliver ideas of stories and, through the power of minutia and repetition, transform them into 300-page, triple-spaced Koontz hardbacks that do huge sales over the holidays, particularly amongst baby boomers. I’m telling you, it’s all part of a complex corporate plot. I know in my heart the real Koontz is shackled in some sort of sub-basement, heavily sedated and fed through a tube, occasionally roused to sign various legal documents, even as his good name is being tarnished by a vast corporate conspiracy involving greedy imposters. I’m just saying, when the story finally breaks and the real Koontz emerges in chains, all bearded and squinty-eyed, ready to start writing quality shit again, just remember that you read it first at Bloody-disgusting.com.
You’re in a flimsy tent, tucked deep into your sleeping bag. A dime-store flashlight is jammed between your chin and shoulder, the dim beam pointed at the dog-eared pages of a paperback horror novel. When a twig snaps outside, you pretend not to hear it. But the night is long, and you drank too many beers around the campfire. You can’t hold it until dawn. And when you finally unzip your tent and clamber out into the chilly, starry night, you desperately try to forget the horror novel you were just reading. You stumble blindly toward the nearest tree, bare feet barely avoiding sticks and thorns, and the last thing you want to think about are hillbilly cannibals, hermit rapists, man-eating plants, or genetically enhanced monkey monsters.
That’s right, Campers. Spring has officially arrived. For those who prefer their great outdoors served up with a side of horror fiction, the following five novels will leave you squirming in your sleeping bag.
The power of The Ruins lies in Smith’s ability to take an enormously silly premise––killer vines trap tourists on an ancient Mayan ruin––and make it somehow believable. And while Carter Smith’s 2008 film was a successful adaptation in a variety of ways, it doesn’t quite capture the bleak futility of the incredibly imaginative novel. From the oppressive heat of the Mexican jungle, to the tequila-fueled dehydration of its characters, The Ruins is the rare book that paints a setting so vivid, it puts you there.
Camping Callbacks: Features what may be the coolest campsite of all time…if you’re willing to ignore the acidic, man-eating vines.
Those who feel the prolific Koontz has lost a step in recent years should revisit Watchers, which saw the bestselling author at the top of his game. Revolving around a trio of Koontz’s favorite subjects ––the outdoors, genetic mutations, and guns––the story has a young military vet joining forces with a intellectually-enhanced golden retriever to defeat a mutated baboon creature developed for government warfare. Published before everything Koontz put on paper automatically dominated the bestseller lists, Watchers was later adapted into a regrettable Corey Haim vehicle hampered by shitty production values. It‘s one property that‘s genuinely deserving of a remake.
Camping Callbacks: Nature hikes, a canteen full of orange Kool-Aid. The final showdown takes place in a mountain cabin as Koontz gleefully piles on the gun fetishism.
Published in the wake of 1977‘s The Hills Have Eyes, Ketchum’s survivalist horror novel certainly bears more than a passing resemblance to Wes Craven’s hit shocker––both are loosely based on the Scottish legend of Sawney Bean, a notorious cannibal leader from the 1400s. In Off Season Ketchum sends a forgettable cast of stock characters to a secluded island to be pursued and devoured by a horny family of inbred cannibals. After initially defending their cabin in a Straw Dogs-type scenario, the heroes are eventually chased into the woods where the action regresses into pure, unadulterated savagery. Offspring, Ketchum’s 1991 sequel to Off Season, was adapted into a 2009 film from Ghost House Underground.
Camping Callbacks: A remote mountain cabin on a forrested Maine island. A few strangely specific campfire recipes involving human flesh.
Arriving a full thirty years after the release of Off Season, Trapped reads like the long lost twin of Ketchum’s cult classic––both novels feature victims camping on a secluded island overrun with mentally regressed cannibals. But Jack Kilborn (a pseudonym for author J.A. Konrath) makes some ballsy moves with his characters, resulting in something deeper and more compelling than the surface shocks of Off Season. Eschewing Off Season’s bland cast of white bread couples, Trapped has a married pair of juvie counselors camping with a diverse handful of delinquent teens, including a couple of gang bangers, a slutty meth addict, and a pudgy sociopath. It’s sort of like Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, only gritty. When the cannibals come a-calling, each member of the group must make a choice regarding survival…and those choices become less obvious as the story progresses.
Camping Callbacks: All the accoutrements of Off Season, but with hot dogs and marshmallows and shit.
Thomas’s grim little chapbook of pain and anguish probably ranks as the most graphic entry on this list. Best buds Roger and Tooth want nothing more than to shoot some beer cans and smoke a little weed up on Bobcat Mountain. But when they come between a women in distress and the pervy hermit who has kidnapped her, their camping trip takes an immediate detour through Torture Porn Canyon. With loads of mean-spirted, stomach-churning violence The Summer I Died is an endurance test, even at a mere 154 pages. It’s certainly not for everybody. But if you want to freak yourself the fuck out on your next camping trip, you can’t really do any better.
Camping Callbacks: Beer. Weed. Guns. Bobcat Mountain.
There have been almost as many questions posed in the pages of the first 4 issues of Dynamite’s “FRANKENSTEIN PRODIGAL SON VOL. 2″ as one episode of “LOST”, and this Wednesday scribe Dean Koontz looks to wrap all of it up with the concluding fifth issue of his latest story-arc. Inside you can check out a 6 page preview of the book before it hits shelves tomorrow and get all the details. Read on for the skinny!
I am often accused of many things, and usually one of the things that is high up on that list is being desensitized to the point of fault. After all, I have been RAISED on horror. However, in full disclosure, there are certain things that still bother me. (Believe it or not) Chiefly, violence against women. IE – the upcoming fourth issue in Dynamite Entertainment’s “FRANKENSTEIN: PRODIGAL SON”, which hits stores tomorrow. Inside you can check out a 5 page preview of what I am talking about, and get all the details. Read on for the skinny. (This one’s for you, Chris Brown)
The Dean Koontz comic book crossovers may not be doing as well as his arch rival Stephen King’s, but there sure is a hardcore, dedicated core group of fans for the writer’s work in the genre as “FRANKENSTEIN – PRODIGAL SON VOL 2″ continues to sell strong. Inside you can check out a 5 page preview of the latest issue in the monthly as well as all the details. Read on for the skinny!
If you are a fan of Dean Koontz’s series of “FRANKENSTEIN” novels that follow the classic monster into a ‘re-imagined’ world of adventures in modern day society, then you will be happy to know that in just 2 days the New York Times bestselling author will be releasing the first issue of ‘PRODIGAL SON’ into the world with illustrations from none other than “HACK/SLASH” creator Tim Seeley! Beyond the break you can check out the 5 page preview of the first issue and get all the details. Read on for the skinny.
While Hollywood sits on its hands and continues to contemplate whether or not to give Dean Koontz’s fan favorite “FRANKENSTEIN” the big screen treatment, Chuck Dixon and the gang over at Dynamite Publishing are hard at work on the next installment of the illustrated adaptation of the novels with the second volume slated to drop this July. The title will mark the second arc in the series, and boasts some serious star power as it features art from none other than “HACK/SLASH” creator and “WILD CATS” artist, Tim Seeley. Inside you can find all the details on the project as well as a first look at the cover. Read on for the skinny. “Set in present day New Orleans, the series follows the activities of Victor Frankenstein, now known as Helios, as he continues to create new life forms for his own purposes. Opposed to his activities are a pair of homicide detectives and Frankenstein’s original monster, now known as Deucalion.”