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10th Grade202432 Stories4th of July99 DaysA Change in AltitudeA Demon in My ViewA Dream of WolvesA Falling KnifeA Finely Tuned Apathy MachineA Heart of StoneA Life Lived RidiculouslyA Multitude of SinsA Parting GiftA Question of BloodA Quiet PlaceA Red Heart of MemoriesA River SutraA Short History of Tractors in UkrainianA Slight Trick of the MindA Stir of BonesA Thousand Miles from NowhereA Voyage Long and StrangeA Wedding in December About a BoyAbraham LincolnAcross the River and Into the TreesActs of GodAfrican PsychoAfter DarkAfter YouAfter You'd GoneAfterwardsAgenda for MurderAliens in the Prime of Their LivesAll Alone in the UniverseAll Families Are PsychoticAll in the MindAll the Way HomeAltered LandAlternatives to SexAmanda's WeddingAmelia RulesAmericaAmerica AmericaAmnesiaAmong the DepartedAn Object of BeautyAngelsAngry Youth Comix #2AnimosityAnne SextonAre You Experienced?Aristotle and Poetic JusticeAristotle DetectiveArlington ParkArtemis FowlAs Hot as It Was You Ought to Thank MeAsking For MurderAsymmetryAtonementAway Laughing on a Fast CamelBabylon and Other StoriesBad BoyBad SeedBag Of BonesBalancing ActsBarbara the Slut and Other PeopleBeach RoadBeat the ReaperBeautiful GirlsBed of RosesBefore I Go to SleepBefore the FrostBeg the QuestionBeginner's GreekBellyBeneath the SkinBenedictionBest New American VoicesBig BrotherBilly and GirlBiteBlack & WhiteBlack HelicoptersBlack Market TruthBlameBlanketsBleed for MeBlind SightBlonde FaithBlood, Salt, WaterBlueprints for Building Better GirlsBody SurfingBoneMan's DaughtersBoneyardBoneyardBoomsdayBorder CrossingBoth Ways Is the Only Way I Want ItBoysBracketBrain TrustBrava, ValentineBreaking Out of BedlamBreathing UnderwaterBrick LaneBridge of SighsBridget JonesBridget Jones's DiaryBrief Interviews with Hideous MenBruisesBrŁselBullyBurn, Bitchy, BurnButterflyBy BloodBy The Sea ShoreCalled to KillCanadaCanvasCaricatureCase HistoriesCellCemetery DanceChange of HeartChangesChasing the DimeChild 44Cinema PanopticumCinnamon KissCirceCircle NineCity of the LostClay's WayClose toYouClose Your EyesCloud 9 AffairCoincidenceCold CaseCold HitCold in HandCollected StoriesCome Up and See Me SometimeComfort and JoyCompulsionConfessions of a ShopaholicConfessions of an Ex-GirlfriendConsider LoveCouch FictionCrispinCross CountryCruddyCrumpleCutCypherDaddy's GirlsDakotaDamageDancing After HoursDanger in High PlacesDanger! 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Dean Koontz's latest offering, Relentless: A Novel, continues the author on a familiar trajectory; an existential, "restless movement" toward the transcendent and all that that entails. Koontz seeks nothing less than to recover the tension of existence lost during the Enlightenment, restore truth and order, and recapture the symbols lost when the "new doctrines" reduced the world to technology, revolution and world-immanent consciousness.
As a novelist/poet/philosopher Koontz is ideally suited to succeed in his project, for it is the writer (and the musician) as artist that "rejects the false optimism of science" and explores the existential truth in being. And, in his quest Koontz avoids the pitfall mentioned by Lessing in his remark, "...searching for truth meant more to him that truth itself." For here Koontz has the better of it and is not derailed by the seductive call of individualism's libido dominandi, for the search for truth must culminate in the discovery, as life is a constituent of existence.
Koontz then belongs to a small, elite coterie of writers who seek the revelation of God not in ideas but rather in what F.W.J. Schelling pointed to: the history of myth, experience and revelation. And, for examples of this phenomenon, revealed in the experience of the individual as story and as poem, one need only look to Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot, G.K. Chesterton, Wendell Berry, Flannery O'Connor, to name a few that not only understand the truth of being and existence and God but present their myth just as Schelling did, as the "preparatio evangelica" wherein the story prepares the reader to be shaken to the soul by God's participation in reality.
In Relentless Koontz applies his tried and true formula: a loving family threatened by an unspeakable evil, the attack, the chase, the counter-attack, and...! To alter the formula Koontz risks offending his readers in much the same way Conan Doyle did in the last century when he decided to kill off the beloved Sherlock Holmes in his deadly confrontation with the ignominious Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls. Doyle's readers went postal and Koontz who absolutely adores his readers has no intention of disappointing them.
The protagonists then are a loving couple, Cullen (Cubby) Greenwich, his wife, Penny (and Penny's hippie parents), and their gifted son, Milo; and oh yes, one dog of questionable heritage, Lassie. Cubby and Penny are writers, Milo's a genius, and Lassie is nothing less than heroic.
The antagonist is one, Shearman Waxx, a mean, hateful and incredibly evil....book reviewer!
And here, dear reader, is where Koontz goes beyond the pale!
A book reviewer evil, never, I tell you! No reviewer of books could conceive the evil of Mr. Waxx!
Book reviewers are kind, gentle, and quite docile. In fact, one of my favorite authors, Robert Penn Warren, referred to us as "broken down writers!" We are harmless, childlike, innocent, usually "older" and, sadly, given to a litany of life-long, bad habits, drool cups, and frequent urination. Yet, Koontz, a writer whose books are constantly 'blurbed' with praise from talented, articulate, and compassionate book reviewers across the length and breadth of America, has turned against us; made us the "villain," for goodness sake.
We'll see about that! Oh, sharpen your quills fellow scribblers, I smell chum in the water!
© 2009 Robert C. Cheeks
Robert Cheeks is a freelance writer living in Ohio. His recent work has appeared in Philosophy Now, The University Bookman, Crisis, Touchstone, and The South Carolina Review.