Psychological Stalker from the ‘70’s – still has good bones.
Genre: Horror, Thriller
No. of pages: 244
Ben Chase is a war hero with bitter memories. Vietnam left him with a hard drinking habit, a mental breakdown–and massive guilt.
So who will believe him when he swears a psychopath is out to get him? When society is sick, the mad are sane–and persecution is a killer’s game…
‘Chase’ has a slight air of misogyny and sexism, popular for its time – written in 1972 – and felt like it was influenced by detective novels and early Stephen King. Many characters felt stereotyped and had a level of stupidity. Nowadays, Koontz’s characters are much more complex, and objectification handled intelligently. But in revisiting Koontz’s early works, it still stood up to giving me the hee-bee-gee-bees.
‘Chase’ was published under another name (K.R. Dwyer) when it was initially released.
Ben Chase is a medically discharged soldier tackling PTSD who happened across, and intervened in a murder at a local make-out/lookout point. Consequently, the killer gets away, and his attentions are turned onto Chase himself. The murderer, calling himself ‘The Judge’ chooses his victims who he deems worthy of being judged and executed… now ‘The Judge’ has found Chase worthy of death from his past discretions.
There is play on whether Chase is imagining much of this predicament due to his mental condition, but I think it wasn’t utilised enough in the story line and could have been executed better.
Introduction of Glenda, a love interest for Chase, humanised our protagonist and made the book immensely more enjoyable. I was beginning to dislike Chase somewhat and found him difficult to relate to (though I am not the demographic for this novel) and wish she’d been introduced earlier to soften the rough edges, bringing some emotion in earlier to the plot line.
Maybe because I’ve read widely in this genre for the past 30 years, and a considerable number of Koontz’s later books, the plot was very predictable. It also failed to give me that shiver that I get from many of his titles. But for its lack in scare tactics, it makes up for in pacing – things amped up after the half way mark and I really started to enjoy ‘Chase.’
I can see precursors of elements that appear in his later novels, many of which are favourites (and have been turned into films) and how much Koontz has grown as a storyteller.
I’d only recommend this for hard core Dean Koontz fans – the story is a little dated and generic. There are far more enjoyable titles in his current catalogue. But I have to admit I revelled in the nostalgia, it reminded me of the television and movies of the early 80’s
A couple of points that I found distasteful, was the message that homosexuals are evil and paedophiles – a trend of the time before realising its discriminatory nature. And I’m not sure about the justified homicide angle, it was dark and trite. But that’s just me and my opinion…
Overall feeling: Rotary Telephone, Cathode ray tube, records, old and obsolete but still enjoyable.
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