"Dragon Tears" by Dean Koontz
March 20, 2008 10:03am CST
“Dragon Tears” by Dean Koontz “Dragon Tears” is not a novel for the timid. Neither is it for those searching for an easy read. You see, this horror novel by Dean Koontz, is slow paced and at times difficult to focus on. In it, you do find great and somewhat poetically descriptive writing. Yet sadly, the author concentrates too much on description and ultimately leaves us wondering why we should read on. Now, by no means is this novel void of anything good for it holds creative and intriguing characters. The thing is, it would have been nice to receive a story that went some were… rather than just ending up at a dead end. Dragon Tears is a story of five people: all attempting to find some way of surviving the deadly harassment of a being with powers who is seeking to make them dead by dawn. It all begins as delightful Tuesday in the life of cops Harry Lyon and Connie Gulliver that starts out beautiful but turns deadly in a confrontation with a lunatic at lunch. A maniac who will only communicate by reciting Elvis Presley song titles. (Which was written perfectly) After that, the day quickly slides into freak fest, as a huge thuggish homeless man with mysterious powers begins stalking Harry and Connie, warning them that they'll be dead by dawn. The thug has also appeared to Sammy Shamroe - a man who at one time was intelligent and had a promising future but wound up on the streets because of addictions and also harassing Janet Marco, who with her young son Danny and pet dog Woofer have fled to the streets because of tribulation time with an abusive spouse. Not At All… A Total Loss The pleasant things, that we do find in “Dragon Tears” is the theme and the creative characters found in it. The novel’s theme, at its core, is showing how high a capacity, humans have at displaying evil. While the story itself is fiction, it relates certain accounts that are taken from actual life and incorporated in the story. These are brought out by the two cop characters Connie and Harry. These accounts highlight the awful state that the world finds it self in. As it’s described in the book, we are living in a sort of a “New Dark Ages”. At an early point in the novel, Connie recalls a horrid case she read about. She said: “A Guy in New York, kills his girlfriend’s two year old daughter, pounded her with his fists and kicked her because she was dancing in front of the TV, interfering with his view.” She continued in a statement depicting dark humor: “Probably watching ‘Wheel of Fortune’ didn’t want to miss a shot of Vanna White’s famous legs” Here, we find an example of conversations in the novel, that show dark humor but is showing how merciless life can often be. Furthermore, the theme relates, how we use black humor as a defense mechanism. How if we lack that sort of defense, we would end up driving our selves mad. We could even become terminally depressed by the countless encounters with the evil that is found in humans. However, what is great in the end is not its drowning in despondency. For it also gives us hope in the endless optimism of Harry her buddy cop. The conflict between these two characters is what makes part of the book shine. The dialog and interaction are the reasons to read this novel. Less Is More What ultimately makes this novel a conflicting read, is its constant and endless seeming description. I find it to be drowning in it. Now, I have read Dean Koontz before, and found him to be marvelous at description. (His latest novel “Life Expectancy” shows him at his best.) Yet, here in “Dragon Tears” his description is so detailed, that I forget why I wanted to continue reading. Koontz gets lost in his own thoughts. (That is probably why the ending was so bland… he spent so much time on the meat of the book.) In the end, you are required to muster up a grand amount of endurance. This endurance is needed, to fight across the endless jungle of description. What really makes it bitter is that when you reach the end… you don’t get much. The Ending In “Dragon Tears”, when reading the final scenes, we are left un-impressed. You end up with something typical and predictable. Unless you are a hard-core Dean Koontz reader, I would suggest reading some of his previous work. His latest “Life Expectancy” is as good as it gets when your talking about Koontz, so that would be a nice choice. For this novel here, is not void of pleasantries, but in the end it might leave you in tears.
• United States
20 Mar 08
I read Dragon Tears ages ago, along with a half dozen other Koontz books that were essentially the same book. He's had quite a few books that are unique, good reads- but there are quite a few that feel like he changed some names, some specifics and wrote the same story.
• United States
21 Mar 08
You mention one of the two aspects that I dont enjoy about Koontz. The first is the way that many of his novels mirror themselves. Many having the same essence and being filled with love for dogs. The second is the way that he losses himself in endless description.. even if in his latest novels, he has cut down plenty on that.