Dean Koontz * The Taking Book Review

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In one of the most dazzling books of his celebrated career, Dean Koontz delivers a masterwork of page-turning suspense that surpasses even his own inimitable reputation as a chronicler of our worst fears—and best dreams. In THE TAKING he tells the story of a community cut off from a world under siege, and the terrifying battle for survival waged by a young couple and their neighbors as familiar streets become fog-shrouded death traps. Gripping, heartbreaking, and triumphant in the face of mankind’s darkest hour, here is a small-town slice-of-doomsday thriller that strikes to the core of each of us to ask: What would you do in the midst of THE TAKING.

On the morning that will mark the end of the world they have known, Molly and Niel Sloan awaken to the drumbeat of rain on their roof.

A FEW MINUTES PAST ONE O’CLOCK IN THE morning, a hard rain fell without warning. No thunder preceded the deluge, no wind. The abruptness and the ferocity of the downpour had the urgent quality of a perilous storm in a dream. The voices of the tempest were legion, like an angry crowd chanting in a lost language. Torrents pounded and pried at the cedar siding, at the shingles, as if seeking entrance.

https_%2F%2Fflatfooting.files.wordpress.com%2F2014%2F09%2Frain-in-the-dark-woods.jpgIt has haunted their sleep, invaded their dreams, and now they rise to find a luminous silvery downpour drenching their small California mountain town. A strange scent hangs faintly in the air, and the young couple cannot shake the sense of something wrong.

.. as she scanned the night woods, the nape of her neck prickled as though a ghost lover had pressed his ectoplasmic lips against her skin. A shudder of inexplicable misgiving passed through her.

Molly seems like a hard candy. She’s been through some “extreme violence” when she was eight and lost her mother to cancer a few years afterwards. Her outlook on life is pretty simple:

For most of her existence, Molly had not shied from a truth that most people understood but diligently suppressed: that every moment of every day, depending on the faith we embrace, each of us continues to live either by the merciful sufferance of God or at the whim of blind chance and indifferent nature.

As hours pass and the rain continues to fall, Molly and Niel listen to disturbing news of extreme weather phenomena across the globe.

Molly consulted her wristwatch, which was not a digital model. The hour hand swept clockwise, counting off a full day in half a minute, while the minute hand spun counterclockwise even faster, as though she were stranded on a rock in the river of time, with the future flowing away from her as swiftly as did the past.

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There is a strong presence in the air and hints of an alien encounter of the third kind. But even though, we have been prepared by movies for such an encounter with two possible outcomes (either benevolent Gods or an invasion), the scenario in this case is not rosy. Creatures flee the forest, predators look scared. And a mirror is showing their bedroom flooded with jungle plants.

Before evening, their little town loses television and radio reception. Then telephone and the Internet are gone. With the ceaseless rain now comes an obscuring fog that transforms the once-friendly village into a ghostly labyrinth. By nightfall the Sloans have gathered with some of their neighbours to deal with community damage…but also because they feel the need to band together against some unknown threat, some enemy they cannot identify or even imagine.

In the night, strange noises arise, and at a distance, in the rain and the mist, mysterious lights are seen drifting among the trees. The rain diminishes with the dawn, but a moody gray-purple twilight prevails. Soon Molly, Niel, and their small band of friends will be forced to draw on reserves of strength, courage, and humanity they never knew they had. For within the misty gloom they will encounter something that reveals in a terrifying instant what is happening to their world—something that is hunting them with ruthless efficiency. Epic in scope, searingly intimate and immediate in perspective, THE TAKING is an adventure story like no other, a relentless roller-coaster read that brings apocalypse to Main Street and showcases the talents of one of our most original and mesmerizing novelists at the pinnacle of his powers.

What I loved about the book:

Not just the writing, even though the metaphors and the lovely compositions just seem to paint a vivid picture of an apocalyptic event. Not just the characters which are few but powerful, well rounded and with a warm dialogue and bond that will stay with you even after the book has ended.

I loved the strong relationship that Molly and Niel share. They are each other’s rock and they are still madly in love with each other even after 7 years of marriage. I know, I know, I’m reading a work of fiction. But Dean Koontz has always had a way with couples as leading characters that just makes me smile when I read.

I’ll give you an example

Excerpt

https_s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com736x3eae563eae56fe6e38c4e97c0b569524b33742He held out a hand to her.

He was the most beautiful and appealing man whom she had ever known. The first time that she’d seen him, more than seven years ago, Neil had been standing in a complicated geometry of multicolored light, smiling warmly, his face so perfect and his eyes so kind that she briefly mistook him for Saint John the Divine.

She gripped his hand, shivering with fear and inexpressibly grateful that fate had combed her and him from the tangle of was strong, at first quickened by anxiety, but then growing calmer.

Molly’s heart slowed to match the pace of his. Steel has a high melting point, but higher still when it is alloyed with tungsten.

Cashmere is a strong fabric, as is silk; however, a cashmere-and-silk blend will be more durable and will provide more warmth to the wearer than will either fabric alone. Alone, she had learned at a young age to carry all the weight the world piled on her. As long as she had Neil, she could endure not just the terrors of this world but also those that might come from beyond it.

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