By Dean Koontz
Random House Large Print Edition, 2009, 480 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - September 22, 2009
All writers, including very good ones, even those with a history of best sellers, are bound to get one or more bad reviews. But, what does the author do about the bad review? Does the author sulk, curse, bad mouth the reviewer, write a rebuttal? This was what happened to bestselling novelist Cullen "Cubby" Greenwich when the prestigious reviewer, the mysterious recluse Shearman Waxx, trashed his latest novel in one of America’s top newspapers.
Cullen’s wife Penny advises him to ignore the review, but Cullen follows his own inclination. When he hears that Waxx is dining at a certain bistro at noon, he takes his son with him to eat lunch at that time and place, just to look at Waxx. The problem is that Cullen does not know how crazy Waxx is and how he can make Cullen’s life miserable. Cullen’s son nearly pees on Waxx while the trio happens to be in the bathroom together, and Waxx looks at Cullen, whom he recognizes, and shouts out the prediction "doom!"
Bestselling author Dean Koontz wrote this hilarious and riveting tale, which deserves plaudits and a good review.
Each character is finely drawn with interesting features, and the reader is pulled along with the suspense. Why is Waxx trying to kill Cullen? Is it something Cullen wrote? Or, is it because Milo nearly peed on him? Or, would he have wanted to kill Cullen even if he, Cullen and Milo never met? Does Waxx have other people working with him? How is he able to enter houses that are fully secure? How can he follow Cullen when Cullen is so careful?
What is the meaning of Waxx’s strange name? Is it his real name? Koontz hints that the name has special meaning when he gives the origin and connotation of the names of all the other characters in the novel when they are introduced.
Cullen loves everybody and we wonder why? He has a secret past that he has hidden from his wife Penny, ashamed to reveal it. He is totally incapable of handling household objects, such as toasters or even small repairs. Does this have significance?
Eccentric parents raised Penny. Both are near giants. Her mother is six foot three, while she is short and her six-year-old son, diminutive. Her parents have a secret bunker that they created to avoid the catastrophes that they expect in the US. Penny is not sent to school, but is home taught.
Milo, although only six, is a genius. He works on projects that his parents are unable to understand. One blows up. When his father asks him to explain his project, he needs to tell Cullen, "Dad, you wont understand?" Will the ones he is working on now also detonate? What powers does the specially filled saltshaker have?
Lassie the dog, who is not a German Shepard, moves about in an unusual fashion. One minute she is on the floor next to Milo, and the next instance she is on top of a high dresser that she could never climb? How is this possible?
The title is intriguing. Who is it that is relentless? Is it Waxx, Cullen, Penny, Milo, Lassie, or all of them? Are each relentless in their own way?
The book is a delightful combination of mystery, suspense, lovable characters, a vicious villain and mysterious even seeming supernatural occurrences.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.israelbooks.com.