Dean Koontz is a prolific storyteller. With over a hundred books to his name, one wonders how he can package his craft of the supernatural and creepy with a new twist. How about making a breed of dog super smart? Mix in a murderer with a genetic defect decent into cannibalism. Voila, you have Devoted.
Koontz does several things very well in this book. First, he takes a character, a business executive who is morally corrupt and, due to an infectious lab accident, transforms him to a beast in gradual, subtle ways. Second, he lets us know what it would be to have the intellect of a human confined to the body of a dog. He mixes all of this into his proven plots where the bad guy is unseen, just around the corner, ready to grab you by the throat.
Regarding the super-smart dogs, I enjoyed how he portrays this ‘what-if.’ Remember, such a dog may lack thumbs with which they might pick up a pen and write the words they can read, but they have a vastly superior sense of smell which, in Koontz’s telling, can smell evil of different varieties.
Although I enjoyed this exploration of smart dogs, Koontz spent too many pages here and there waxing poetically about the whole thing. He was swooning over dogs. That’s fine, but it wasn’t needed for the story.
Devoted contains two main story arcs and half-way through the book, you believe there is only one, and that one is coming to an end. Patience. Koontz kicks in the second part of the tale and pulls in characters whose names you have read but have not yet come on stage. Then we have the larger, more sinister plot.
If you like the world of Dean Koontz as I do, you will not be disappointed. I dinged the number of stars by one because of the on-and-on about dogs. Nevertheless, this never ruins the tale. Recommended.