July 1, 2010

Rabid Reads: "Frankenstein (Book Two): City of Night" by Dean Koontz and Ed Gorman

Title: Frankenstein: City of Night
Authors: Dean Koontz and Ed Gorman
Published: Bantam Books (2005)
Pages: 455
Genre: Horror; Science-Fiction
ISBN 0-553-58789-7

I read and reviewed the first book of Dean Koontz's Frankenstein trilogy, Prodigal Son, last year, which you can read by clicking here. I had my fingers crossed on this second installment, but I have to say upfront that the book left me quite disappointed.

After the events of Prodigal Son, New Orleans detective Cameron O' Connor and her partner, Michael Maddison, are recuperating after stopping a serial killer, discovering the Frankenstein monster is real, and Dr. Frankenstein is secretly plotting to unleash an army of genetically modified humans on the world. On top of that, there were more than a couple of subplots involving Victor Helios's (Frankenstein's new moniker) creations and their self discoveries.

But after all of the action and establishment of the universe in which these characters exist, the second book really doesn't maintain the same pace. Frankly, I thought the storyline dragged like cold molasses uphill compared to the first book. All preconceptions were shot to hell with regards to the main characters, and I wound up seeking solace in the far more engaging subplots involving those New Age creations as they start to go a little askew psychologically.

There was Randall Six--the sixth iteration of a man with autism, created by Helios, and bound to serve--who has broken free from his physical and psychological prison in search of Cameron's autistic baby brother, because he's hoping the boy holds the secret to happiness and he wants it at all costs. Randall was a fairly intriguing character, but it took quite a while before his more menacing features shown through this time around.

Erika Five was interesting, as Prodigal Son showed the development of Erika Four before she was killed off after discovering Victor Helios's secret lab and the entity imprisoned within it. Erika Five is fresh out of the vat from which she was spawned and is given a crash course in servitude and classism as Victor's wife. It's not her time with Victor that is nearly as interesting as her time with the other servants/creations of Victor within the mansion, as hints of an inherent flaw in their design begins to show.

And then were was the pairing of Ben and Cyndi, a Barbie & Ken version of sleepers in New Orleans out to covertly serve their master as a vicious kind of clean-up crew, killing select citizens and other undesirables to further Victor's plans. They're essentially licensed serial killers that really get off on the fact that they're two of the few creations who get to unleash their rage on humans from time to time. But, there is also the development, as they are given the task of finding and killing Cameron and Michael, of Cyndi's mental degradation with her preoccupation with conceiving a child--something she is incapable of doing and shouldn't even be capable of wanting.

The book had moments of interest for me, but ultimately it fell flat. A tragic and seemingly common consequence of being the follow-up to the original as well as being a lead-in to the third book of a trilogy. If you've read the first book, be prepared for a long row to ho with the second book on your way to the third. Unfortunately, I've been soured on this series now and am in no hurry to read the third book.

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