THE EYES OF DARKNESS, by Dean Koontz

eyes of darkness

Koontz-Alert Checklist (Every Dean Koontz book has at least one of the following things.)

1. Blond lead/love interest – Nope
2. Dog(s) – Nope
3. Government conspiracy – Yup
4. Aliens – Yup (in the afterword)
5. Serial or trained Killer – Yup
6. Bougainvillea plant – Yup
7. Sodium-vapor streetlight – Kinda (mercury-vapor)
8. Precocious child – Nope
9. Town gone crazy – Nope
10. Psychic(s) – Yup

Six outta ten but I must note that the structure of this novel is the blueprint for so many of Koontz’s books that I lost count while researching. One of these days I will sit down and create a list of his books that follow this structure, but for now I’ll just say, at least half of his published work follows this formula.

The Eyes of Darkness, whose title makes zero sense in context, was originally published under Koontz’s pseudonym Leigh Nichols. In the late 90s, Koontzy-boy took some time off rewriting the same Koontz story over and over again to rewrite some of his pen names’ books over and over again. Those books include: ShadowfiresThe Key to MidnightThe House of ThunderThe Servants of Twilight, and this one righ’chere. Why did he do such a thing? Who the fuck knows, right? Guy had too much time on his hands, I guess, because this story definitely isn’t worth the extra attention. It’s not even worth the paper it’s printed on, paper that, I must add, smells goddamn wonderful. These old Berkley paperbacks are the best aromatic reading experience money can buy. They smell better than old TOR paperbacks. Better than those crumbly Zebra horror novels. They’re just the fuckin best smelling things, yo.

Anyfuck, the most glaring issue with this book is the way it depends on convenience to progress the plot.

Slight spoilers ahead:

Elliot Stryker, the male lead, is perfect. He’s handsome, he’s the best cook in the world, he can fuck, he’s ex-military so he knows the inner workings of government shenanigans, he can fly, he owns his own plane, he’s a marksman, he’s a master at offensive/defensive driving…You get the picture. Everything Tina, the main character, needs, Elliot provides in the most unrealistic fashion. Then, at some point, when Tina and Ellliot happen to need a 4WD to get through snowy terrain, the character they’re visiting, Billy, just happens to have one they can borrow. There’s never really any suspense because Koontz constantly pulls rabbits out of his asshole to save these two. It gets so ridiculously repetitive and predictable that it killed all the tension for me. Of course they’re going to be all right because CONVENIENCE!

The ending goes nowhere. It literally wraps up on the final page. Koontz built up this trained killer only to wipe him out on the final page with zero fanfare.One moment dude’s flying in to wreck Tina and Elliot’s shit, the next he’s crashing. hellogoodbye

There’s also one big question left unanswered. If Danny (the psychic kid, I shit you not is named Danny…there’s also a man in black, but we won’t go there) was so goddamn powerful and could knock a fucking helicopter out of the sky…how the fuck did these shadowy government motherfuckers keep him prisoner??? Like, why didn’t he just tear the doors off the hinges and walk the fuck out? I call bullshit on this shitty fuck of a shit book. Shit!

There is one funny part in the book, where Koontz names the partners of a law firm after his old pen names: Dwyer, West, Nichols, and Coffey. That bit legitimately made me laugh, so I guess this book wasn’t entirely terrible…

Who am I kidding, yes it was. One star it is, folks.

In summation: I know you wanna scroll down to the comments and ask me “I thought you were done with Koontz, fat boy???” but I’ll ask you nicely not to. My good friend Delee wanted to restart our chronological Koontz reads (rereads for me) and I wasn’t about to turn her down. Even though I disliked this book, I had fun reading it with her. I always do. It’s like watching a terrible movie with a friend just so you can make fun of it together. Plus, Koontz is easy to read and…why am I still explaining myself to you? Anyway, like seventy-five percent of Koontz’s output, THE EYES OF DARKNESS is pretty fucking awful, but I’m sure someone will come along and tell me I don’t understand his genius, or how his hairpiece has an IQ of 210. Whatever.

Final Judgment: Cat urine boiling at the bottom of a dumpster fire.

Next month we tackle…The Mask, which is another novel Koontz originally released under a pen name, only this time it was Owen West.

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Books and movies and updates, oh my!

Someone mentioned me doing these blog posts as video diaries. If you’re interested in such a thing, lemme know in the comments.

Oh, and no mention of social media this week, you know, beside what I just said. I think I’ve finally detoxed.

The kids’ birthdays have passed. Dan is now 14, and Chris is 7; they’re almost exactly seven years apart, April 7 and April 3, respectively.

Dan got a buttload of funds to splurge with at GameStop, although he wanted Borderlands GOTY Edition but no one had it in stock. For some reason the physical PS4 release has been delayed until April 19, while every other system has it: PC, XBOne, and even the digital Playstation-store version. Brokenhearted, Dan shuffled from GameStop an unhappy gamer, no amount of “The nineteenth isn’t that far…” could cheer him up. Hey, at least he has the money to buy the thing the minute it drops.

Chris got tools and wood to work with and a Spider-Man storybook. He’s been taping EVERYTHING together for the past year, so we finally bought him a tool kit. A real one. None of that kiddie shit. He’s in love. There was a time when the tools would’ve been set aside so he could read through the Spider-Man book, but those days are gone. Now he’s all about building, and building is exactly what he’s been doing since he got his gifts on the third.

We saw Captain Marvel as a complete family. It was okay. Solid three stars. Then Chelle, Dan, and I saw Us. Another solid three out of five. I preferred Get Out, to be honest. The symbolism and social commentary was great. Lupita Nyong’o was exceptional. She was easily my favorite part. But about halfway through I figured out the twist and got bored. Still a solid film, just not my favorite of Peele’s. And then Chelle and I saw Pet Sematary for date night. She enjoyed it. I hated it. My review is up on the blog.

I finished the omnibus for my Bay’s End series, All Things Lead to the End, and uploaded it to Amazon. I’m currently waiting on it to be approved for pre-order with a June 4, 2019, release date. My Patreon peeps have it as of today.

The omnibus will include:

Bay’s End

Fog Warning

The Sound of Broken Ribs

The Bedding of Boys

Everything is Horrible Now

“Cinder Block” (A Short Story)

No Home for Boys

Cruelty

A Sneak Peek of Cruelty & Joy

The Omnibus will be $9.99 on release, and will be available as an ebook only due to length. It will also be available on Kindle Unlimited. It’s the only way to read No Home for Boy, the final book in the All Things Lead to the End storyline.

I had a load of fun putting all these together, and I’d love to hear from anyone who reads these books back to back. 900+ pages and ten years of my life, all in one convenient package. Dig it.

In reading news, last week I finished Becoming, by Michelle Obama, and Your Life is Mine, by Nathan Ripley. Did reviews for both on the old YouTube channel. I’m currently reading Westlake Soul, by Rio Youers, and The Eyes of Darkness, by Dean Koontz. I put The Talisman, by King and Straub on hold for now, and I don’t think Chelle and I will be finishing House of Leaves, but only time will tell with that one. We might feel like picking it up next week…next month…next year…

How’re y’all doing? What are you reading? How was your week? You know how we do. Leave your weekly update in the doobly-doo and I’ll catch you guys next week.

Take care of each other,

E.

Pet Sematary (2019) (or, Nothing Earned, Nothing Gained)

My video review, which I’ll link to at the bottom of this review, was a rushed and despondent rant perpetrated by an insanely-tired and emotionally-drained individual. It’s the product of me feeling obligated to review a mess of a movie that I might otherwise have just walked away from shaking my head in silence. I wanted it to be done and over, the movie and the review. Here I will try to articulate what turned me drastically against this movie.

I hate this film the more I think about it because the more I think about it the more I realize how utterly heartless and tone-deaf the whole production was. I don’t want to reiterate what I said in the video, but I will touch on some similar themes, and one of the biggest problems is ownership. Or, if you will, responsibility.

The Creed family is held together by nothing more than the assumption that we should care about these people because they’re a family, but they don’t feel like a family. It doesn’t feel like they love and cherish each other, so when the bad stuff starts happening, there’s no emotional connect beyond, “Hey, that’s sad,” and that’s only because anyone with a shred of empathy seeing animals and children harmed will automatically think that what they’re seeing is sad. The theme of grief is gone. Instead we’re told that we should feel bad because animals and children being harmed is sad, and not because we’re emotionally involved with the characters. The grief is not earned and therefor nothing means as much as the filmmakers might have hoped it would. Not Louis’s responsibility to his family, not Jud’s friendship, not the Pet Sematary, and definitely not the Micmac (or Mi’kmaq, if it pleases ya) burial ground. In fact, they…

Okay, spoiler alert time. If you haven’t watched the original film or this remake, or you haven’t read Pet Sematary, by Stephen King, proceed with caution from this point forward. I’m about to discuss this bastard in detail.

They briefly go into the Native-American legend behind the burial ground but instead of diving deeper this new movie focuses on the wendigo, which was admittedly cool, but I think the two go hand-in-hand and should have shouldered equal weight. Not one without the other, and all that. Had the night sequences not looked created by the graphics department of Disney XD, I might have been on board with the new direction. Again, we can attribute this to a lack of ownership. The filmmakers didn’t own this film. They know how to do night shots. There are several in Starry Eyes, which is a film from this duo that I enjoyed quite a bit. So what happened here?

The jumpscares are numerous and annoying, and again, do not feel earned. The aforementioned night scenes are ridiculously bad, so bad that the eyesight of the individual who approved them should be forever questioned, and they should not be allowed to operate a motor vehicle. The performances are just as bad as they are in the original, especially Jason Clarke, who seemingly mimics some of the original actor’s gesticulations. Especially during the reveal of Church’s death, which felt like a shot-by-shot recreation on a different set. This could just be my brain fucking with me, but some of Louis’s mannerisms felt awfully familiar. The little girl who played Ellie…man, I can’t even say that she tried. Maybe she tried too hard? She felt like a little kid attempting to be scary, which is never scary. That was the beauty of Gage in the original film. He was seemingly normal…until you got too close. This Ellie is full-bore evil demon asshat from the jump, and it’s silly as balls from the time she returns to the irritatingly broken ending.

Which brings me to the biggest problem with this movie, something that I couldn’t place my finger on, not until this morning as the comments on my video review rolled in. There were comments from people who enjoyed it for what it was (which I love seeing; I hate it when everyone loves or hates the same things; it feels artificial), people who shared my stance, and people who hadn’t seen it yet or who won’t now because of my review. I do hope everyone watches this movie and forms their own opinion, but I also hope those people wait until it comes out at Redbox, or it’s streaming on Netflix or any other streaming service. Simply put it’s not worth so much as a matinee price at your local budget theater.

Anyway, what’s this unforgivable sin I couldn’t put my finger on? Well, it took my buddy Stevie Psycho to point it out to me in the dooblydoo (the comments section to the uninitiated, and yes I stole it from the Vlogbrothers) of my video.

Louis Creed never owns his problems. He doesn’t have to clean up the mess. He doesn’t have to rekill Church, nor is he required to put down the son who he felt compelled to dig up and rebury. It’s the soul of the whole book, the theme of the piece: you own your own grief, and everyone must deal with it in their own way. How did these filmmakers omit such a basic thematic element? That should’ve been the bare minimum requirement of remaking this movie/adapting this book.

Louis Creed must own his mistakes and try to make it all right. Then he must fail because this is horror.

By comparison, this version could be said to have a happy ending.

I fucks with the original Pet Sematary. I don’t care how badly acted it was (in y’all’s opinion, because I love every scene of that film). Louis in that film owned his problems. In some ways, Louis Creed 2019 is the filmic version of today’s society. No one takes responsibility for anything, and this film is a perfect example of that mindset. So maybe it is brilliant, like all these reviewers are saying, based solely on how well it portrays American culture, our nothing-earned-yet-entitled society.

Somehow, I doubt that these filmmakers had that in mind. I mean, just look at those night scenes. No one intelligent enough to riff on the devaluation of responsibility in today’s society could miss something so disastrously bad as those night scenes…could they?

I’ll let you decide.

If you want to see a man fight with his emotions regarding a stupid fucking movie, feel free to watch the video review below. I wish I could’ve left it there, because this film doesn’t deserve my attention, but I had to get this out. Thanks again to my dude Stevie Psycho for helping to clear my mind fog, which was, admittedly, better than having to view the fog effects in this movie.

Pet Sematary (2019) gets a big ol’ FUCK YOU, MOVIE out of 10.

E.

Where’s my Fuck-It Bucket?

Future E. here: I swear there’s more to this post than me ranting about social media. If you couldn’t care less about that assholery, scroll down to the ***

April Fool’s Day (or is it April Fools Day because it’s not the fool’s possession, its just a day for fooling people, or is it fools’ day because there’s mutliple fools? Jaysus, I haven’t got a clue…) is a time for fun, so I updated a bit of silliness on my YouTube channel. That’ll be at the end of this post. I bring up the day because I assure you I’m not going to mess with you here. Today’s updates are real. But of course that’s what I would say if I wanted to fool you, so it’s whatever. Believe me or not, it’s Monday and I got updates, yo.

Last week I didn’t open Twitter between Monday and Friday. Felt great. But I’m not gonna harp on this holier-than-thou-I-can-do-without-social-media bullshit. It was hard. Every morning I both wanted to open Twitter and was grateful I didn’t have to. When I did come back on Saturday, I noticed I’d been blocked by two longtime friends. I wasn’t even HERE and I got blocked by TWO PEOPLE! [insert laughing his balls off emoji] One of them was a misunderstanding, the other was…well, who knows? They blocked me, meaning they don’t want me in their life. Why should I jump through hoops trying to find out why? Moving on…

My point here is, it doesn’t matter. Even if the first person had kept me blocked over a misunderstanding it wouldn’t have mattered. Affected me none. Had a mutual friend not emailed me then I just would’ve moved on. That would’ve been unfortunate because once again my name would be associated with drama that had nothing to do with me, because this person was very vocal about their accusations, even though they had just jumped to conclusions. And I mean jumped. Holy sit, they could’ve cleared the Grand Canyon, peeps, swear ‘fore God. Silliness. But that’s the nature of social media. When you don’t have to see someone at work, or home, or on the street, you can just block them and say whatever you want about them. I’ve done it, you’ve probably done it. Such is this pile of refuse we somehow have the stones to call “social” media. Is it any wonder anyone would want to be done with it all?

One final word on my social media presence and I’ll stop beating this dead horse. When I reopened Twitter on Saturday, even before trying to catch up with friends and finding I’d been blocked by some of the first people I wanted to check in with because I was worried about them (you can laugh at me; I would), my heart began to race. As soon as I typed Tw- into my web browser (I’ve deleted all social media apps from my devices; the only way I can check anything now is with my desktop, can I get an amen?) I felt anxiety creeping up. My browser auto-filled the rest -itter and my chest was off to the races. I knew, just fucking knew, that some drama was awaiting me, and there it was, big and bright with balls a’swinging.

Le motherfucking sigh…

Needless to say, I didn’t return on Sunday. Yes, I know I said I was going to, but I didn’t. I might not even go back this Sunday. It’s fucking cancer. If you’re even the slightest bit empathetic to your fellow humans’ struggles, the atmosphere of social media burrows and feeds. Stress kills, and I’m not down with getting murdered by digital information. Talk about a motherfucking virus…

***

I’m done ranting now, I promise. Let’s talk about shit that actually matters.

I finally finished some books! I read Your Life is Mine, by Nathan Ripley. It was one of my most-anticipated reads of 2019 and Nathan did not disappoint. Review for that one will be up tomorrow on YouTube. I also finished Becoming, by Michelle Obama, and wrote a tiny-ass review on Goodreads. I’ve grown to hate that place as well so I’m spending as little time there as possible. My apologies to those of you who miss my longer, in-depth reviews. I might start posting them here…I don’t know. I certainly don’t want GR drama following me…

Can you tell how undecided I am about all of this?

Anybody here like Fall Out Boy? I downloaded all their shit on Amazon last week and have been jamming to them while I write. I dig them very much. Always have. At some point I stopped listening to them and during that time they released like five albums. It’s been fun as hell catching up, though. I wonder who else I’ve slept on.

In gaming news, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has been destroying my ass since release day. I’m currently stuck on the flaming bull. (No spoilers or tips, please. I’m fine with being stuck as long as the game is fun, and Sekiro is definitely that.)

In publishing news, Lulu messed up my order of No Home for Boys. For whatever reason, an image that was there in the proof was missing from every copy of my massive order. I had to jump through hoops to prove to them that it was properly uploaded, but they finally gave me a credit, thank fuck. Had they not, I’d have been out almost a grand, or if you will, up Shit Creek without a paddle. I would’ve had to send out hundreds of pre-order and Patreon copies with a missing image, an image that’s important to the context of the story. Anyway, that didn’t happen. They gave me a credit, I ordered another proof, and that shipped Friday.

In positive publishing news, CRUELTY & JOY [Episode One] is ready to go. I’ll put in the order for that once I see the proof for No Home for Boy looks good. That way I can save on shipping by having them all shipped together. If No Home for Boys is a failure, I’ll order C&J without it, and ship those with the pre-ordered copies of Pennies for the Damned, which are here and awaiting shipping.

So yeah. That’s been my week. What’s been up with you? I love hearing from you guys. I read all comments, even if I don’t respond to them. I’m trying to spend less time online, so please don’t feel like I’m ignoring you. Leave a comment letting me know how you’re doing and what you’ve been up to. Think of it like we’re penpals. Remember those? 

Take care of each other,

E.

Vidjas!

I’m Quitting Social Media

Last night I deleted all social media from my devices. I will only be checking Twitter on the weekends, and only then so that I can catch up with friends. More on that in a minute. The tl;dr is that I’m happier without it. I’ll go into much more detail in this post, but that’s the short version. If you care to know what led to this decision, keep right on reading.

If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll know that I have been slowly pulling back from social media over the past two months. I don’t enjoy it, mainly because it makes me anxious. It’s a dark cloud constantly hovering over my head. What drama will today bring? That’s the question I ask myself every day, right before I open my Twitter app. Because there’s always drama: either I create the drama, or someone asks me to be a part of their drama, or I unknowingly stumble into some bullshit. Drama, drama, drama…

I cannot ignore how happy I am when I take extended breaks from Twitter. I stopped using Facebook about a year ago and that alone changed my life for the better. It was so freeing not having to check in over there. Truth be told, I’d love to just nuke all of my accounts, but I’ve made too many amazing friends for me to leave them all in the dust, so I’ll catch up with them on the weekend.

Which brings me to the logic of this post.

There was a time when social media didn’t exist. I used to work during the week and then hang out with friends on the weekend, and that was enough. My friends never begged me to come hangout with them during the week because they had their own obligations. We were all perfectly all right with only interacting two or three days a week. But something changed. Now the majority of my friends are internet-only acquaintances, and if I’m not available every single day, I feel like I’ve betrayed them. Where the fuck does that feeling come from? What has social media done to my head that I need to feel that way? It’s like when I realized religion was a mechanism for control, that I had been brainwashed. Social media has rewritten my programming, and not for the better. I am a nervous wreck most days, and if you look around you online, so is damn near everyone else.

So I’m done. I’m kicking the social-media habit like I kicked heroin, alcohol, and cigarettes. Cold turkey. And on the weekends, I will only be touching base with my friends. I might post on Saturday and Sunday, but I won’t be hanging around to “like” everyone’s responses.

There will be some who think I do not appreciate the people and the relationships I’ve built online, and that’s okay. True friends will hang around because they’ll know that I am happier. They will also realize that it’s the platforms I dislike and not them. Anyone who takes this personally is more worried about themselves than me, anyway. That’s a hard truth. Because I am doing this for my own mental health, and I highly recommend you give it a try as well.

Finally, I have a new YouTube schedule. I will be uploading Monday – Friday (Wednesdays will be Patreon exclusive videos, book readings and whatnot), and I’ll still be streaming every Friday and Saturday. Sundays will be my days off.

The blog will continue to be updated every Monday.

Lemme know how your week’s been down in the comments. I love to hear about book hauls and what you’re currently reading.

Thanks for understanding.

E.

My favorite uploads of the week:

 

I Don’t Wanna Be Here Today

It’s Monday! Time for another blog post!

yay…

This is the first blog post of the year I don’t want to write. This happens from time to time. I open up my computer and I either have nothing to say, or I don’t want to do the work. Today, it’s important that I show up, so here I am.

For the past, oh, nine months or so, I’ve been manic as fuck. I’m bipolar, so I’m used to extreme highs and lows, but this high lasted so long that I thought for a moment I might be cured (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA). Then last week, I started to feel down. Feeling down turned into me not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. And then yesterday I woke up not wanting to be in this world anymore.

Nothing’s wrong, mind you. Nothing happened. Despite the fuckery that’s occurred over the last couple of months, I’ve had an exceptional year. Books are selling, followers are rising, work’s getting done. All good. But yesterday I woke up with suicidal thoughts.

I take prescription painkillers for my back (I’ve had five surgeries since 2005, which I’ve discussed in other blogs) and yesterday that whole bottle looked delicious. It’s a thought I’ve had before, and one I acted on in 2006, but nowadays I see it for what it really is: a passing thought. If I outlast the thought, I live. And that’s the best possible outcome for myself and everyone who loves me.

I think that’s the important part, that I outlast the thought. Because none of this shit is permanent. None of it. Not the sadness. Not the happiness. Not the worthlessness. None of it. It all passes eventually. May not seem like it will, but it does. It always has for me, anyway. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Oddly enough, I hesitate to post this, not because it’s me baring my soul, or any other goofy shit like that, but because I’ll likely get comments about how brave I am for posting it. I’m not being brave. I’m being selfish. Sure, someone out there might need to hear all this, but it’s far more likely that I’m the one that needs convincing. Yeah, that’s probably it. Much of the philosophical mumbo jumbo I spout is aimed at me. I’m the target demographic for most everything I write. Because if I can sike myself out, I might just make it another day, and my motto has long been:

“Tomorrow might not be better. It might never get better. But tomorrow is another chance for it to be better.”

You know, I can always tell when these black moods are coming because my reading falls to like ten pages and write like three- to five-hundred words a day. It sucks, but it’ll pass. It has to.

Oh, did I mention that I deleted all of this week’s videos on accident? Ha! Sure did. fml… But I’m out here rerecording them because the work had to be done. Obligations and responsibilities don’t give a fuck about my mood, so I keep on keeping on, because I have to.

Anydouche, how are y’all? Whatcha reading? Lemme know in the doobly doo.

Take care of each other,

E.

Last week’s vids: