Dare to be Different: A Little Lesson I Learned from a Dean Koontz Novel

I’m kind of going through a Dean Koontz obsession phase, so try to bear with me. The library has tons of Koontz’s novels which is inspiring me to go through all of them. So far my all-time favorite of Koontz’s work is The Bad Place. It’s so brilliant and thrilling that I could barely put it down enough to eat and do normal human things. And I’m not kidding either!

The Bad Place takes us on a journey wrought with fear and suspense. It all starts with Frank Pollard. One night he wakes up in a dark alley not knowing where or who he is but sensing a dark presence near that wants to destroy him. From that night on, Frank tends to find himself consistently waking up in weird places and then forgetting what he did there and where he was by the time he wakes up again the next day. These strange episodes cause Frank to feel distraught, increasingly restless and tired to the point where he can no longer function on his own. He decides to enlist the help of Robert and Julie Dakota, a husband and wife who own a security business.

As the Dakotas assist Frank, they  begin to realize what they’re up against is far more sinister and evil than they can handle. There’s a man named Candy…

Candy is a man who wants vengeance and blood- lots and lots of blood. As Frank and the Dakotas begin to realize who Candy is and what his ties to Frank are, they realize they’re in a whole lot of trouble. The case gets creepier and creepier as reality starts to take an impossible form, churning itself into unbelievable things and dragging the Dakotas and Frank into extremely dark territory.

When you find out what’s going on, you’ll be just as disgusted and terrified as I was. The ending twist and culmination of the story is one of the craziest and original ideas I’ve read in a long while. It was almost too bizarre, but you have to love Koontz for allowing his brain to take him to such places.

Another special part of this book is the Down syndrome character Thomas. Koontz’s addition of this sweet and charming character made the book that much better. It made me smile when he was in a scene of the book.

I know I say this all the time, but this needs to be a movie. Sadly, I doubt it will ever get the chance. Why do I say this? Read it in Dean Koontz’s own words on his website- http://www.deankoontz.com/the-bad-place-from-the-author/. I’m going off track here a little bit, but if you read this piece by Koontz and you’re a writer, you’ll understand the anger I feel when I hear a novel was rejected hundreds of times for being different or too confusing or not fitting within the realm of a certain popular genre. Who cares if a book doesn’t fit within one genre? I’m sick of the same-old-same-old genres that keep regurgitating everything we’ve already read or seen. If I owned my own publishing company (which I’d love to do someday) I’d be far more open to things that are different. People don’t care as much about the genre issue as publishers think. Since publishers are all about the money and what sells, you’d think they would be more open to things that stand out from the norm. Unique is good. It may not work all the time, but in many instances it does. I wish they could realize that and stop being so anal about authors fitting into cookie-cutter writing.

Anyway, enough ranting. Just read the book and read Koontz’s article and dare to be different.

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