June 17, 2010

Velocity **

*** Velocity, Dean Koontz, 2005

I was headed to Port A and Mustang Island for a well-deserved break and picked up The Outlook instead of Echo Park, a mistake I didn't discover until I was slathered in 50 SPF sunscreen, kicked back on a lounge chair under a canopy on the beach, watching the gulls dodge waves and seaweed while fighting for the crabs in the sand.

So I trekked back up to the condo and dug through the cabinets and found two likely candidates for my beach read, Walking in Circles Before Lying Down by Merrill Markoe and Velocity by Dean Koontz. I gave Markoe a shot, first, but after three chapters in I still didn't care what happened to anybody, so I switched over to Koontz.

The first chapter was very engaging and funny, something I didn't expect. I've read one other Koontz novel back in the 80s, The Watchers, which was far from amusing. Knowing the premise of Velocity, I was surprised at the humor. I was curious to see how he would sustain humor as seeming random people were murdered based on the decisions/actions of Billy the bartender. The answer was, it wasn't sustained. The first chapter was the only funny one.

But it was still an entertaining beach read with an interesting moral dilemma. Billy finds a finds a note on his windshield telling him that he has a choice: go to the police and a lovely blonde schoolteacher dies. Do nothing and an elderly woman active in charity work dies. It gets worse from there. Much worse.

But there's a happy ending for you, so it all works out. But the middle is not for the squeamish. But then, what Koontz novel is?

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