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Darkest Evening of the Year [Paperback]

Dean Koontz
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)

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5.0 out of 5 stars WOW !! - One of Koontz's best July 2 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The story focuses on a man named Joe Carpenter who lost his wife and two daughters in a plane crash. A year after the crash, Joe has quit his job as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Post, and done nothing with his life except sit around and mourn the loss of his family. One day Joe pays a visit to the graves of his wife and daughters only to discover a strange women taking pictures of their graves. When Joe apporaches her, the woman claims to be the sole survivor of the crash that killed Joe's family. Before, Joe can find out who she is or what is going on, he is forced to flee the scene when mysterious men begin shooting at the woman, who also manages to get away. Joe becomes convinced that the crash that killed his family was anything but ordinary, and sets out to discover who the woman is, and how she could have survived. Unfortunately, things only get worse for Joe when he begins to realize that he has stumbled into a conspiracy regarding the crash, and that the people involved are willing to kill to keep their secrets safe.
I have been a fan of Dean Koontz's work for many years now. While I usually enjoy most of his books, there are some that are better than others. Sole Survivor was a book that I always put off reading, because it has always received mixed reviews. I finally decided to put my doubts aside and read the book. After I finished with Sole Survivor, I wanted to start over and immediately read the book again, because I did not want it to end. This may be one of the best books Koontz has ever written. Koontz manages to get you hooked into the story right away, because he does a great job at establishing the hero of the story Joe Carpenter and what he is going through.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read but Nothing Deep May 28 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
SOLE SURVIVOR by Dean Koontz (or Dean R. Koontz if you are a traditionalist) is a book that only those who buy Koontz reflexively or those who have read/heard reviews would buy. The book itself offers no clue as to what might be found inside. But hidden between the covers is a rather entertaining tale.
On the anniversary of his family's death in a plane crash a man discovers that he is being watched by some sort of police or government agents. At the family's grave site he meets a strange woman taking pictures of the site and is then interrupted by the watchers. He discovers that they are from a pharmaceutical company and that they have planted a tracer on his car.
Slowly he becomes convinced that there was a survivor of the plane crash. He finds evidence that she has visited with the families of other crash victims. But for some strange reason these families wind up committing suicide shortly after her visits. Her visits make them happy and convince them that their loved ones are o-kay.
He digs more deeply and finds that a lot of shady things have happened in connection with the crash and its investigation. He is eventually led to the woman who did survive the crash. But unlike the title suggests, there were two survivors. The other was a young girl. He then learns the truth behind their identities. She had worked at a secret genetics lab and the girl was one of the results. The project was trying to code for psychic abilities. They had some success. One was a boy who could take over a person's body. He was the cause of the strange suicides. The other was the girl.
This girl was unique. She had an ability to tap into the other side. She was proof of life after death and she could deliver that message in an instant.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most suspenseful of Koontz's May 14 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sole Survivor was one of the most suspenseful Koontz books I've read, and I've read them all.
Joe Carpenter's wife and two daughters were killed 1 year ago in an airplane crash. He's quit his job, moved and not given any friends his forwarding address...he's in a deep depression trying to cope with his families demise. That's when something strange starts to happen: people appear to be following him, a bizarre lady is at the graves of his family taking a picture and friends of his are committing suicide for no apparent reason. He's in a race against time to figure out why he's being hunted, what this lady has to tell him and how this relates to the fatal plane crash a year prior.
One reviewer commented that they did not like the character of Joe, that he was whiny and annoying- for me, Joe was a likeable character and well-developed. I think his feelings of loss were realistic- what do you expect after he just lost his entire family- to have moved on in 1 year's time? I thoroughtly enjoyed Joe's ponderings and the deep-thought that was put into this character and his feelings put into words. There were many sentences and paragraphs that I wanted to take a highlighter too, they seemed so profound. I can't say the same for every Koontz book...
I'd recommend this book for Koontz fans. I enjoyed every last bit of this book, up until the ending, which was not as exciting as I expected...but still worthwhile.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Annoying male lead, Feb. 20 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sole survivor is the story of Joe Carpenter (an 'average joe' as implied by the name), whose life is shattered when his beloved wife and two children are killed in a plane crash. Joe longs for death and has plans to die until he becomes involved in a conspiracy of life shattering proportions.
I listened to the audio version of this book, and found the narrator to be excellent. Koontz starts this novel off brilliantly but I soon grew tired of the character of Joe who I thought was a whiny self-absorbed twit. Sure, I can understand feeling awful after your family dies. But the first two tapes were filled with so much maudlin self pity I grew bored and annoyed with the character instead of sympathetic. I much prefer main characters who do something about their problems, rather than wallow and whine. Joe whines more than any character ever created by Anne Rice.
I also felt a bit sermonized to by the 'surprise' revelation at the end, and instead of being surprised, inspired, or lifted up: I thought: "So that's it? So THIS is what the fuss is all about?"
Koontz left a few loose ends which makes me think this might not be the last we see of Joe Carpenter. (Unfortunately!). I give this book 3 stars. It wasn't awful, but the whiny male lead needs to be dumped in favor of a character with an actual spine.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A little Wierd
Dean Koontz is just a little to weird for great enjoyment. However he can keep you on edge and that is good.
Published 8 months ago by John Marsden
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!!!
I'm not a huge Dean Koontz fan but this book is awesome!!! I let a friend borrow it and she kept it so I wanted another!!!
Published 15 months ago by LEDK
4.0 out of 5 stars Dogs > people
Seemed like the best and worst of Dean Koontz in this book. The worst represented by Koontz's love letters to dogs; the best represented by his plotting. Read more
Published on Sept. 20 2012 by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars This is apparently one of Koontz' top ten books --- I would concur!
Oh my, what a great read...the suspense, the anticipation, the possible ramifications, the odd supernatural mood --- this book is put together so well. Read more
Published on May 12 2012 by Pat the cat
4.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites.
I really enjoyed reading The Darkest evening of the Year. It has Koontz typical band of bizarre characters and mystic events. Read more
Published on June 15 2011 by J Reader
I read THE DARKEST EVENING OF THE YEAR for a book club challenge. although admittedly it had been sitting on my TBR shelf for a couple of years, I was happy to finally find a... Read more
Published on July 12 2010 by Buggy
3.0 out of 5 stars Not That Interesting
I'm not going to rehash the storyline as many others have done in their reviews.
I found this book stale. Read more
Published on March 21 2010 by A Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great novel
The multiple story lines are great, it's the kind of book you can't stop reading until you reach the last page. It was touching. Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2009 by F. Perron
2.0 out of 5 stars Will the real Dean Koontz please come back?
This book starts so well, with effective character development and an increasing expectation of the supernatural. Read more
Published on June 28 2009 by David S
3.0 out of 5 stars Great until the end.
The Darkest Evening of the Year had so much promise with every turned page. It had me spell bound wondering what would happen next and then all of a sudden it ended. Read more
Published on May 17 2009 by C. Lavallee
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