Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Two-Sided Tuesday (1)

Two-Sided Tuesday is the brain child of Lydia, one of my favorite bloggers, at The Lost Entwife. The idea is to give a book, or in my case today, an author that you've read, then offer another book or author that is similar and perhaps, better.

I've been reading Lydia's Two-Sided Tuesdays for a few weeks now racking my brains for something I could write about and I think I've finally got one.

I normally read YA fiction. It's a genre that I can pretty much guarantee will be clean (no smut and generally no foul language) however, there are days that I require a change of pace. When this happens I turn to my next favorite genre. Suspense.

My first foray into the world of suspense was with the novel Velocity. I purchased it in an airport one year as I was headed home from college for the summer, I believe. The author of Velocity is Dean Koontz. Mr. Koontz books are all borderline horror mixed with a VERY healthy dose of suspense. I cannot read his books at night. Ever. I tried to with Velocity and had the worst night's sleep ever because I tend to dream about the book I read just before bed. But, oh! it was such a good book!

I wish I could give you a short summary of Velocity, but unfortunately it has been several years since I've read it. Instead, since I am talking authors, let me explain Dean Koontz' books a little. Each of Dean's books tend to have three main characters. The good guy, the bad guy, and the girl. Classic set up, right? Sure, but what you may not be ready for is the situations that the good guy and the girl get themselves into. Murder, terror, evil, good finally triumphing in the end. Even though, as the reader, I know that Koontz's books will end with the good guy winning, the journey to the end is nail biting and intense. I feel like I've been through the wringer every time I read one of Dean Koontz's books, but I keep going back for more because, really? what's better than the good guy winning in the end?

Now, on the other side of the suspense coin is Ted Dekker. My first read by him was Obsessed.

Ted Dekker writes with the same general combination as Dean Koontz. Good guy. Bad guy. Girl. BUT, Ted's books have something Dean's don't. A reason. For Ted, suspense books show how far a human being can fall and yet still be brought to the Truth. Mr. Dekker writes Christian fiction.
Where Koontz's bad guys are just plain evil for the sake of being evil, Dekker's are depraved. They have no need of God nor do they wish to hear His name. Koontz's good guys are good guys. Dekker's are men with real problems that only resolve their problems after they learn to rely on God. This was a surprise to me when I first read Obsessed. I was not expecting to find a suspense book that had the main character learning to depend on God's guidance. It was a pleasant surprise.

It comes down to this. Dean Koontz writes some really scary, intense, nail-biting fiction that will keep you up at night, while Ted Dekker does the same thing in a more clean manner. Dean Koontz's books are harsh and ugly in their descriptions. He makes you believe the bad guy is real by making him the worst character ever. He uses foul language to aid this picture. Ted Dekker's books are also scary, intense and prone to inducing nail-biting, but his language stays clean. His bad guys are psychologically scary. They get into your head and stay there. So, if you're looking for a good suspense that doesn't involve foul language and other horror-movie-like situations, skip Dean Koontz and grab a Ted Dekker. However, if you prefer the horror movie feel, Dean Koontz is definitely the way to go.


Lydia said...

Great comparison! I haven't read any of Koontz's books for the reasons you stated there toward the end, but I whole-heartedly agree with you on Dekker. He's a fantastic suspense author.

dArLyN said...

i've never read any of both authors. but it seems good read because i like that kind of genre.i might try them soon.. =p

Hannah said...

@ Lydia...Thanks! I wasn't sure how the post would turn out, but I'm pretty happy with it, especially after having just read through it again.

@ Darlyn...you should totally read Ted Dekker! His books are soo good!