During my most recent semi-annual book buying episode (employee appreciation at Barnes & Noble), I came across this Dean Koontz novel, thinking I need to read more of his work. The plot appealed to me, sounding like a fusion of an alien invasion and an intimate horror.The Taking revolves around Molly Sloan, a novelist with a tragic childhood trying to live up to the esteem her mother once had. Since her mother was also a writer, it’s almost like Molly is constantly chasing a ghost. In the early hours of the morning, she is awakened by an instant torrential downpour. Aside from the abruptness, the rain is also glowing. As Molly investigates, she discovers many peculiar things. Coyotes gather in packs next to her door. The rain smells like semen. The love she and her husband, Neil, have for one another almost constitutes a mental link. As the hours drift closer to dawn, satellite signals start shutting down, calls become scratchy at best, and everyone starts to feel like there’s a great mass lingering overhead.
What makes The Taking stand out is the strength of its prose combined with the personal way Koontz deals with Molly. Almost everything comes from her perspective, from crazy fungi to deciding to protect all the kids she and Neil can find. There are horrible creatures and fungi waiting around every corner and there is so little any0ne can do to it.
There are some magnificent ideas here as well. Molly’s systematic revelation of what their actually fighting relies more on raw prose, but the way its presented, through a series of events being sized up against one another creates some distinction as well.
Something about Koontz’s Phantoms makes it stand out further, but not by much. Dean Koontz is a man who is described in the same breath as Stephen King and he deserves all the recognition he’s gained through the years, if only because of his large volume of work.
I give The Taking a B because it was solidly good, but could have been a little smoother in describing what was (?) actually going on.