Always on the prowl for a good suspense thriller writer ala John Sandford or Michael Connelly, I stumbled onto Dean Koontz, and took a chance on “The Good Guy”.
Dean Koontz is not a new author, he has been writing consistently since the late 1970s. It is just that I have not really registered him on my radar much. When I picked up this book, it was in the hope that it would introduce me to a whole new series of great thrillers.
Well, “The Good Guy” is a decent book, but still somewhat disappointing.
The premise of the story is as follows:
Tim Carrier (the protagonist) is a loner who frequents a bar most evenings. One night, a case of mistaken identity leads him to discover that a woman (Linda Paquette) who he’s never met is the target of a hit or contract. He has a choice: Stay out of it, or help the poor girl. He decides to help her and before he knows it, they have fallen in love and the two of them are forced to go on the run from a psychopathic killer.
The idea seems good, but the characters are pretty bland. The hero and the heroine are practically caricatures; they fall in love pretty much on first sight, and get along so well even in really stressful situations. In addition, both their backgrounds are pretty mysterious (why is the assassin after Linda? How does Tim know so much about self-defence), however, when their secrets are revealed, it turns out to be a damp squib.
The really interesting character is the psychopathic assassin (Krait), who is a homeless guy who does not remember anything about his life prior to 18 years. He fantasizes that he has come from a “Mirror” world and that he does not belong in this world (lot of references to “Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll here). He also seems quite literary and quotes a lot of poetry. However, his character is not fleshed out beyond this, and although I was very curious to learn about his background, the author has chosen to keep him a mystery. Very disappointing!
I was also curious as to the reason why the assassin was after Linda. Who is the person who had paid him to kill her, and why? However, this aspect was also disappointing. The reason was too bizarre and unbelievable, and turned out to be the final nail in the coffin for me.
This book is decent enough for an airport/train read. But, if you want real thrills and chills, look elsewhere. This book was just too tame for me.
Readers of Dean Koontz/thriller buffs, do you think I should continue trying other novels of his? Are they all pretty much the same, or did I just happen to stumble onto a boring one? Which books would you recommend? What are your favorite thrillers/thriller writers?