Read by: Paul Michael.
Publisher: Random House Audio.
Favorite character: Mrs. Phan.
All in all: I thought it was okay, my husband loved it.
Synopsis: Tommy Phan is a 30-year-old Vietnamese-American detective and novelist living in Southern California, and a chaser of the American Dream. He drives home his brand-new Corvette one day to discover a strange doll on his doorstep. It's a rag doll made entirely of white cloth, with no face or hair or clothes. Where the eyes should be, there are two crossed stitches of black thread. Five sets of crossed black stitches mark the mouth, and another pair form an X over the heart. He brings it into the house. That night, he hears an odd little popping sound and looks up to see the crossed stitches over the doll's heart breaking apart. When he picks up the doll, he feels something pulsing in its chest. Another thread unravels to reveal a reptilian green eye --and not a doll's eye, because it blinks.Tommy Phan pursues the thing as it scrambles away into his house -- and then is pursued by it as it evolves from a terrifying and vicious minikin into a hulking and formidable opponent bent on killing him. ~Goodreads.com
My Thoughts: Except for the long exposition about the main character Tommy Phan and his background, I thought this started out pretty well. Tommy finds a creepy little doll on his porch. Then things get scary. The little voodoo doll comes alive and tries to kill him. How cool is that? The action is good and the evil little creature is frightening and menacing.
However, a major reason this story didn't work for me was that I couldn't suspend my disbelief regarding the main female protagonist Deliverance Payne (yes, that’s her name). She is a kooky woman that Tommy meets while trying to escape the creature that is after him. She is mysterious, beautiful and seems to know about everything. She is a sharpshooter, a driver worthy of race car status and always keeps her cool. And that’s just the start of it. I just didn't connect to her or the enigmatic way she would answer Tommy’s questions with either another question or existential sayings. This was the way most of their dialogue went. Tommy would repeat everything she asked and instead of just answering the question he would ask questions of his own.
There is also a lot of exposition and explanations that I feel could have been delivered in a different way besides “telling.”
The end was cute, but again, a lot of the events and many of the explanations for Del's secrets didn't resonate with me. I did like the mystery behind the doll, which I felt was believable and the resolution as well.
The narrator was good, but I didn't connect with the way Del’s voice was depicted. I thought Paul Michael did a great job with Tommy's mother, Mrs. Phan. She is actually my favorite character. She is from Vietnam and constantly chastises Tommy for forgetting the old ways and being too American. She is very stubborn and funny.
In Koontz’s defense, in his afterward, he said his intent was to make Tick Tock a “screwball comedy.” One of the ingredients of a screwball comedy is to have the two characters have conversations that seem at odds. Maybe if I read it instead of listening to it, it would have been more successful. Maybe I was expecting more of a straight horror/thriller with no room for jokes.
However, don't take my word for it, check out what my husband thought of it below.
J's counterpoint: Contains Spoilers! I thought this was an awesome idea! I love anything with monsters so this was very cool. The voodoo doll was a neat concept and I liked what it became. The action is nonstop and there are no lulls. Once it started it kept going.
I didn't think Del was annoying or over the top at all. I thought she was great and I liked their banter back and forth. I usually don't like romance, but I'm glad they got together. I also thought the alien plot twist was cool and I loved that Scooty, the dog, turned out to be an alien. I also really liked Tommy's conflict with his family and his Vietnamese culture. It was like he wanted to be someone like John Wayne, yet he had to go back to his culture in order to solve this mystery.
And, I really liked that they got the cars right. That helped a lot. I listened to it twice.