The Bad Weather Friend by Dean Koontz
|The Bad Weather Friend by Dean Koontz
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng
|Summary: Full of unexpected humour, I got completely caught up in the story of these characters…especially Spike, the bad weather friend!
|Date: February 2024
|Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
|External links: Author's website
Benny is having a terrifically bad day. He loses his job, he loses his fiancee, and his house gets trashed. Oh, and someone has delivered a really weird, disturbing coffin-sized object to his home, and it's possible that whoever or whatever was inside is the thing that has trashed his house! The thing is, Benny is the very last person to deserve all this bad luck. He is a nice person. A really nice person. So fortunately for Benny it turns out that the delivery to his house is a new friend, a bad-weather friend called Spike, who has been sent to help him since Benny is clearly under attack from nefarious forces for being a good person. Spike is going to take care of Benny, and will certainly take care of Benny's enemies, if he, Benny, and Harper (a waitress slash Private Investigator who finds herself roped into Benny's wild adventure) can figure out who exactly they are.
I've somehow never read a Dean Koontz book before, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I'd imagined spooky horror, and there is an aspect of that, but overall the feeling I got when I'd finished was that I'd just read a really funny story! It's hard to categorise - it has paranormal (fantasy?) elements to it, and a bit of crime,mystery and suspense too. Mostly, though, I felt it was a story about these particular characters, and I just enjoyed being along for the ride with them through the book. It had the feel of Douglas Adams, a little bit, in that some weird things were happening, but they were happening to both quite normal people a lot of the time and they were mostly funny!
When I started the book I wasn't quite sure what was happening, so it took me a little while to find my feet. But once Spike was in the story I found that I was completely hooked. He manages to be both terrifying and endearing. Some of his actions are gut-wrenchingly disgusting, and yet they made me laugh and I could quite happily read more books with Spike in! The interplay between Spike and Benny works well and is where a lot of the humour lies, and I enjoyed seeing their friendship develop through the book.
I also really liked that the evil villains are all somewhat ridiculous, including one with a pet rabbit! The only aspect of the story that I wasn't quite so sure about was the back story of Benny's time at a very strange boarding school. This felt a bit more like the horror writing that I'd been expecting from the book, although again there were elements of humour here too. Still, I did find myself rushing those parts a little more, to get back to the next bit about Spike.
This was a very enjoyable Christmas holiday read for me to get lost in, and I definitely ought to try some other stories from Koontz's enormous back catalogue!
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