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The Bad Weather Friend

Review

The Bad Weather Friend

Dean Koontz has been so good for so long that he is entitled to shake things up occasionally. His latest novel, THE BAD WEATHER FRIEND, is a fantasy/thriller/adventure unlike anything I have seen from him before. It is unbelievably quirky and tongue-in-cheek with a cast of characters better suited for a Wes Anderson film than your typical Koontz story. I applaud his versatility and hope people have as much fun reading the book as he obviously had creating it.

Benny Catspaw is having a really bad day. He’s such a nice guy, though, so he doesn’t get mad or have a vindictive bone in his body. He just wonders why all of this is happening to him. Benny loses his job as a real estate broker, his girlfriend and the place they share all in the span of a few hours. His boss, the uber-tan, suave and slimy Hanson “Handy” Duroc, cannot even give him a reasonable explanation as to why he was “erased” from a job in which he was performing well. His vain girlfriend then dumps him because he is now a loser without a job and is no longer a social climber. What is poor Benny to do?

"THE BAD WEATHER FRIEND is a fast read despite its nearly 400 pages as readers will have no time to catch their breath. It features Dean Koontz at his most cunning with a story he obviously was born to tell."

Prior to meeting Benny and experiencing this awful day with him, we enjoy a scene at a shipping facility in Florida where a huge crate weighing a ton is being shipped out with special instructions to a gentleman in California. The shipper is Colonel Talmadge Clerkenwell, who actually resembles the iconic Colonel Sanders of KFC fame. The recipient is none other than Benny, and the contents immediately will change his life.

Meanwhile, Benny is having breakfast at a diner with his best friend, “Fat” Bob Jericho, a private investigator. When he gets back to his place, he receives a package from FedEx that looks like a small book. The item displays a video message from Colonel Talmadge, who he remembers from his youth as an old relative. He tells Benny that his recent spell of bad luck is about to improve. He will be receiving a delivery that he must keep secret but most assuredly will take care of his problems for him.

That shipment ends up being the large crate we saw earlier. It’s a giant coffin-like box that contains a nearly seven-foot-tall individual named Spike. This is all discovered with the assistance of Bob and his new apprentice, a young woman with the curious name Harper Harper. Bob finds the crate first and is temporarily subdued by its contents. Spike tells Benny that he is here for him, to help people who are just too good for this world.

Benny then gets into his vehicle with Spike and Harper, beginning their journey of revenge against those who have done Benny wrong. If you are trying to imagine what Spike looks like, he is decidedly human in appearance, and I picture him as a much taller version of Jack Reacher. However, he claims not to be human and instead refers to himself as a “craggle.” I told you this book was quirky!

Their first stop is the home of Benny's ex-boss. The novel takes a dark turn during moments like this as Spike uses more than just intimidation to make Benny’s foes pay. Carving out an adventurous swath of a path to rival that of Hamlet, Benny and his new companions confront one enemy after another, and the revenge is indeed something to savor. The end of the line is connected to an event from Benny's past, which is nicely plotted.

THE BAD WEATHER FRIEND is a fast read despite its nearly 400 pages as readers will have no time to catch their breath. It features Dean Koontz at his most cunning with a story he obviously was born to tell.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on February 2, 2024

The Bad Weather Friend
by Dean Koontz

  • Publication Date: February 1, 2024
  • Genres: Adventure, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
  • ISBN-10: 1662500491
  • ISBN-13: 9781662500497