Shattered by Dean Koontz


Shattered, Dean Koontz, 1973 (originally published under the pseudonym K.R. Dwyer — which is just one of several pen names Dean Koontz used in the early days)

My favorite quote: “The things we regret most in life are the things we don’t do.”

Notable characters: Alex Doyle, the new groom; Courtney, his bride; Colin, her little brother

Most memorable scene: The ax attack (even though they really, really should have reported it and saved themselves a lot of trouble — but it’s like they say: If characters made good decisions we wouldn’t have great stories, so YAY for bad choices!)

Greatest strengths: George Leland, the villain. Unlike many of Dean Koontz’s baddies, this guy isn’t terribly over-the-top. He also kind of creeped me out — something very few of Dean Koontz’s villains manage to do

Standout achievements: Dean Koontz did a bang-up job portraying the deranged mental state of the bad guy (that’s George Leland, the guy we were just talking about). I want to know more about him but so far, Dean Koontz has ignored my emails pleading for a series that’s all about George. Like a silly little restraining order is gonna stop me …   

Fun Facts: Because Dean Koontz’s early novels didn’t make much profit, he wrote several per year, which prompted his publisher to encourage the use of pseudonyms (the theory being that too much material too fast will compromise the attention of each release.) And this is why Dean Koontz wrote under so many different names. 

Other media: In 1977, Shattered was made into a movie I don’t think anyone ever saw. It was called The Passengers and until this very moment, I’ve never even heard of it 

What it taught me: Sometimes, simple is better. In writing, it’s really easy to overcomplicate and let things spiral out of control and get too messy. Sometimes, you have to go back to the basics — and I think Dean Koontz really stuck to them here. Shattered isn’t fancy and twisty and convoluted — it’s a simple story about a deranged stalker with strange motivations that are all his own. Simple enough premise, but it works

How it inspired me: One of these days, you mark my words, I am going to write a cross-country car-chase thriller. I dig that shit … 

Additional thoughts: Shattered is a short novel (just over 200 pages) with a super simple plot (people being stalked on a cross-country road trip, in case you missed that part) and yet it remains a personal favorite — especially when compared to some of Dean Koontz’s later efforts. That’s when things get tricky between Dean Koontz and me. But that’s another story for a later book review. The point is, although a little generic, Shattered is simple, straightforward, and doesn’t wear out its welcome. So again … sometimes, simple is better

Hit or miss: Hit

Haunt me: alistaircross.com

Read Shattered

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: http://alistaircross.com ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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