Lines to Love: The Quirks of Koontz

 
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The time has come, dear readers, to announce the TWO lucky winners of Whiskers On Kittens’s Jane Hawk Giveaway.

The winners are:

Belinda and Susan!!!!

Congratulations! I wish you hours and hours of edge of your seat reading. I’m sure you’re going to enjoy these books. Please send me your address at [email protected] and you’ll pop your autographed and inscribed books in the mail post haste.

Thank you, dear readers, for participating in this giveaway. I really appreciate your enthusiasm and engagement.

Over the course of this giveaway, we’ve learned a lot about Mr. Koontz.

In Lines to Love: The Silent Corner, Dean Koontz is superb where metaphor and simile are concerned. His metaphors will be just the thing to make you look at a cumulonimbus cloud and see corsairs and armadas sailing across the great big blue.

In Lines to Love: The Whispering Room, we saw how exceptional Mr. Koontz is at crafting allusions. And, you all know how much I love happening onto an allusion that’s so spectacularly relevant. Truly, if my heart could do a merry dance, it would have tapped its feet bloody reading through this second Jane Hawk novel.

And, in Lines to Love: The Crooked Staircase, we learned how well Dean Koontz incorporates truths into his works. They are truths that call us to a higher place. When I read them, I feel a stir within me as deep calls unto deep.

But, just in case you think reading through a Dean Koontz novels is all well mastered technique and moralizing, today I’m going to share a few of the times when Koontz just made me laugh.

In The Silent Corner, Jane Hawk is running from the bad guys. Literally running. She’s sneaking through shadows, avoiding streetlights, and seeking out alleys in an effort to shake their hot pursuit. Finally, she happens into an alley where a delivery van stands outside the back of a bakery. As it’s the wee hours of the morning, the driver is delivery the daily dough. Jane knows the villains will be certain to check the back of the delivery van. So she sneaks into the cab and hides her self in the foothold on the passenger side. Sure enough, the bad guys arrive on the scene, accost the delivery dude, and search the back. When they don’t find Jane, they continue into the bakery.

The delivery man gets into the cab and closes the door. When he notices Jane, he makes no move. Instead, when she presses her finger to her lips, pleaing for silence, he puts the truck in gear and drives off. When he reaches the end of the alley, Jane asks him to drive her two blocks over and drop her off. When he offers to drive her where she needs to go, this brilliant bit of dialogue ensues:

She considered him as he turned right into the street.
“What’s your name?”
“Believe it or not, Ethan Hunt.”
“Why wouldn’t I believe it?”
“Well, Ethan Hunt— like Tom Cruise in those Mission: Impossible movies.”
“Ah. You get kidded about that, do you?”
“Not by anyone who knows the truth about bakery delivery. I disarm suitcase nukes and save the world about once a month.

Now, as you all know, I’m quite a committed Mission: Impossible enthusiast. But, the reading of this passage just happened to coincide with the first airing of the Mission: Impossible Fallout trailer in February. It debuted during the Super Bowl, and my husband and I were very excited at its arrival. We spent most of the Bowl talking about the movie and what we thought the plot was going to be and how the stunts looked so awesome. By the time we went to bed, we agreed that since the movie wasn’t coming out until July, it would be best to shelve the exuberant conversations until closer to the release date. That’s when I rolled over in bed, opened my book- which happened to be The Silent Corner- and read that chapter. So, when the delivery man said that his name was Ethan Hunt- believe it or not- I said, out loud, I don’t believe you, which required an explanation to my husband. When I read it to him, he laughed and said he didn’t believe it either. Even if you don’t have the personal context, that last line about bakery deliver from Ethan Hunt is hilarious.

This one isn’t a belly tickler, but it does make me smile- although that could be because I’ve been having a love affair with Bentleys for a while now…

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This next one might requires some connecting of dots, but I believe, once they’re connected, you’ll be smiling. And once you finish watching the video I’ve attached, you’ll be laughing.

There were two qualities that make his voice memorable. First, he affects the faintest imitation of a British accent, has done so for so long that it is natural to him now. She has heard others who do this, often certain graduates of Ivy League universities who will inform you unasked of their alma mater, of the generations of their family who have attended it, and who wish you to know that they have been overeducated and are of an elite intellect. Second, it’s a mid-tenor voice that, when he puts too much emphasis on a word, now and then shades toward alto, as with trusting and fun.

While not all people who consider themselves intellectual are susceptible to this sort of behavior, the superciliousness that Koontz describes here eeks its way out with this interrogatory emphasis. I’ve encountered this sort of attitude more times than I would like to count. I particular love that Mr. Koontz chose to highlight this phenomenon. I call shading toward the alto speaking in questions, and it absolutely drives me bonkers.

The best description and appeal I’ve ever heard where this shading toward the alto is concerned is this video by Taylor Mali. He’s superb, and he brings an understanding to why talking in questions might be a thing. At least an understanding that’s more altruistic and gives the benefit of the doubt more readily than I do…

The most aggressively inarticulate generation to come along…

Then, as I have mentioned that Koontz is the King of Metaphor, I found this interlude from The Crooked Staircase fabulous. Here’s a little bit of dialogue in which we meet two henchmen who are vile knaves, and their discourse with a witty and “with it” convenience store clerk named Tuong:

He bullies the clerk. “It’ll be in the back room, or in the office or storeroom or something. It’ll be as obvious as a cockroach on a wedding cake.”
“We don’t sell wedding cakes,” says Tuong.
As if Dubose doesn’t grasp that the American-born clerk’s first language is English, which maybe he does not, his response is thick with frustration and contempt. “Of course, you don’t sell wedding cakes. It’s a freakin’ convenience store. I’m talking metaphor.”
“Or was it simile?” Tuong wonders.

And sometimes there’s just a line, usually juxtaposed in an intense part of the plot, that breaks the tension. Like this one; no bounce indeed.

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And, I will leave you with this little nugget.

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As a writer, I know that line is bang on. Bang. On.

Have you ever come across a line in a novel that just made you laugh out loud? I’m not asking you to recall it verbatim, but if you do have laugh out loud reading moment, please share it with us.