Probably any writer could relate to the notion that the relationship between a writer and his critic could become contentious, escalating beyond mere snarky words to actual physical violence. In Relentless, Dean Koontz flies with that premise, and ratchets it to the nth degree. When critic Shearman Waxx goes on a rampage, no deed is too awful, and nobody will be spared. His wrath is unleashed not only on any writer or artist he sets his sights on, but also the parents, spouses, even the offspring. There is no gratuitous gore, but torture - both psychological and physical - and murder are described in Koontz's signature style.
Writer Cullen Greenwich, who goes by the nickname Cubby, and his wife, a writer who prefers to be called Penny (although her eccentric parents named her Brunhild) are the proud parents of six-year-old genius, Milo and live with a mixed-breed dog named Lassie. Cubby is a man with a past who would prefer to keep that past to himself. He is also a man who believes that everything happens for a reason. Why he and Penny met and fell in love, why they were blessed with a son who possesses such unearthly gifts, why they adopted a dog at Milo's insistence (which, in itself, it an interesting story) seem like random events. He will come to realize, as the so-called World War Waxx unfolds, that every event, every person who has entered his life all serve some purpose.
Unlike any other Koontz novels I have read - and I've read several - this novel gives the reader a sampling of Koontz's sense of humor. It is never easy to write humorously, and to do so in horror would seem an unlikley feat, but this is an example of how seamlessly the two can combine. Both narrative and dialogue are natural with an easy-to-read flow. Cubby is likeable and personable, and even under extreme duress, he can crack a joke. It's easy to root for the guy.
The action and suspense in this page-turner are similar to Intensity, and the characters are well fleshed out, unusual and interesting, much like the Odd Thomas series or By the Light of the Moon, all also by Dean Koontz. This is one of his shorter works, at 356 pages (in hardcover). There is no room for fluff or a slow spot, and none are given. The action starts right off the bat and keeps on coming until the end.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I will say I did not buy this book. It was a gift from a relative who, like me, is an avid reader of horror and fan of Koontz's work.