Published by HarperCollins on 16 April 2020
Genres: Horror, Thriller, Mystery, Science Fiction
Source: Purchased Book
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From Dean Koontz, the international bestselling master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him.
Woody Bookman hasn’t spoken a word in his eleven years of life. Not when his father died in a freak accident. Not when his mother, Megan, tells him she loves him. For Megan, keeping her boy safe and happy is what matters. But Woody believes a monstrous evil was behind his father’s death and now threatens him and his mother. And he’s not alone in his thoughts. An ally unknown to him is listening.
A uniquely gifted dog with a heart as golden as his breed, Kipp is devoted beyond reason to people. When he hears the boy who communicates like he does, without speaking, Kipp knows he needs to find him before it’s too late.
Woody’s fearful suspicions are taking shape. A man driven by a malicious evil has set a depraved plan into motion. And he’s coming after Woody and his mother. The reasons are primal. His powers are growing. And he’s not alone. Only a force greater than evil can stop what’s coming next.
Devoted was a hard book to read in places. It was mostly successful in the theme of genetic mutation. I really enjoy Dean Koontz books but, in this occasion, it was neither a favourite or one that I disliked. It’s very much a book that gets very strange, very quickly. It’s a case of constantly reminding yourself that this is SCI-FI. I’ve noticed other reviewers likening it to Koontz’ other work – The Watchers, which I haven’t read, not sure if that is to my detriment or not? The book to me, felt like it just moved too slowly, and I did feel myself getting bored.
The story in Devoted focusses around Woody Bookman, an autistic child, super genius that is limited by his inability to speak. He lost his father three years previously and has compiled an expose on how killed his father through the means of hacking within the dark web. He plans to hand this over to his mother before events take a walk-through crazy town and my brain wants to give up at multiple different points. One of my problems with Devoted is the amount of characters that we are introduced to, it’s not really what I had come to expect from Koontz.
Now I get that Devoted is largely a science fiction novel and anything can more or less happen within its pages but some of it was quite hard for me to get my head around. SPOILER ALERT – when Woody was suddenly cured of his inability to speak, although his mother was overjoyed with this seemingly amazing miracle, I really got the feeling that it made her immensely happy. It allowed her to move forward. It just didn’t sit right with me that she was happier with her son changed, would you really want to change the very being your child was?
My other problem was the character Lee Shacket. I think some of the scenes were both unnecessary and unwanted from a reader’s standpoint. I enjoyed the actual plotline and the road that Koontz was attempting to go down with Shacket, but I don’t think that the execution was nailed. Being in this individuals head was extremely unpleasant. As a seasoned reader of thriller, I have come to learn what goes on in a psychopath’s head, but we don’t need to know every depraved thought. If the author had cut more than a few of his chapters, the book would have moved along at a timelier pace.
Devoted wasn’t an awful book but it could have been executed so much better. I loved Kipp but then I’m a total dog person. His interactions with Woody was pure and wholesome and it gave me a warm feeling inside. The writing as always with Koontz was excellent but I feel that the content needed a bit of polishing.
ABOUT DEAN KOONTZ
When he was a senior in college, Dean Koontz won an Atlantic Monthly fiction competition and has been writing ever since. His books are published in 38 languages and he has sold over 500 million copies to date.
Fourteen of his novels have risen to number one on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list (One Door Away From Heaven, From the Corner of His Eye, Midnight, Cold Fire, The Bad Place, Hideaway, Dragon Tears, Intensity, Sole Survivor, The Husband, Odd Hours, Relentless, What the Night Knows, and 77 Shadow Street), making him one of only a dozen writers ever to have achieved that milestone. Sixteen of his books have risen to the number one position in paperback. His books have also been major bestsellers in countries as diverse as Japan and Sweden.
The New York Times has called his writing “psychologically complex, masterly and satisfying.” The New Orleans Times-Picayune said Koontz is, “at times lyrical without ever being naive or romantic. [He creates] a grotesque world, much like that of Flannery O’Conner or Walker Percy … scary, worthwhile reading.” Rolling Stone has hailed him as “America’s most popular suspense novelist.”
Dean Koontz was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He graduated from Shippensburg State College (now Shippensburg University), and his first job after graduation was with the Appalachian Poverty Program, where he was expected to counsel and tutor underprivileged children on a one-to-one basis. His first day on the job, he discovered that the previous occupier of his position had been beaten up by the very kids he had been trying to help and had landed in the hospital for several weeks. The following year was filled with challenge but also tension, and Koontz was more highly motivated than ever to build a career as a writer. He wrote nights and weekends, which he continued to do after leaving the poverty program and going to work as an English teacher in a suburban school district outside Harrisburg. After a year and a half in that position, his wife, Gerda, made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: “I’ll support you for five years,” she said, “and if you can’t make it as a writer in that time, you’ll never make it.” By the end of those five years, Gerda had quit her job to run the business end of her husband’s writing career.
Dean Koontz lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirit of their goldens, Trixie and Anna.