From the Corner of His Eye by Dean Koontz is an engaging novel because of its many faceted taps into different subjects, quick action, and the vivid and unique characters. I did not do any research on the book before reading it, and so while reading it I was trying to pin down a genre for it. There’s some mysticism with Maria’s card tricks, her ritual for Bartholomew, and Thomas’ coin tricks. There’s crime with Junior’s murders. There’s a bit of sci-fi with the idea of parallel universes. And there’s action.
Moving from chapter to chapter is going from one disaster to the next. There’s two accidents, though one a murder, another murder, a coma, death from pregnancy from rape, death from polio, loss of eyesight from cancer, and the woes seem endless. For such a long book, over 700 pages, it never felt slow, because there is so much happening. Koontz never withholds information from you. You know Bartholomew will lose his eyesight. You know Agnes will die. You know Junior is going to kill two more people. Koontz makes it explicit. This fact telling style makes you all the more interested because it’s not about what happens, but how it happens, and you’ll keep reading to find out how it unfolds and how the characters take it.
I admire Koontz’s ability to have many characters and make them each unique. Often with a big cast, I feel like names are being thrown at me and that I do not have a grounding in who their characters are. At the beginning, Maria feels like a minor side character, but she has a role throughout the book. No one is brought in simply to serve a purpose to help another character or move the plot along and then is dropped. Every character brought in is milked for all of their worth. I enjoyed being pulled into different characters’ lives who seemed to have nothing to do with each other, and then seeing how Koontz weaved together all of their stories into beautiful harmony.
I think using similes for descriptions is a fine balance between the obvious and the ludicrous, and Koontz has his scales perfectly tipped. His similes are fresh. Instead of tossing in a simile to liven up the text which often serves instead to mystify the reader as to how the simile relates to the context, Koontz’s similes help clarify a feeling, an idea, a description and are appropriate.
The ending was almost a little too neat, but after all of the turmoil the characters had to suffer through, it was well deserved and satisfying.