Dead and Alive sort of wraps up Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein series. Originally, these books were meant to be a trilogy. Later, Koontz revisited them and wrote two more books. The ending of Dead and Alive is a bit open ended; enough that a sequel was viable, but not so much that readers will feel dissatisfied with the ending. The story here is a bit more fast-paced than the first two books. The characters know what is going on and things are more out in the open now. All that is left is stopping Victor Helios’ (Dr. Frankenstein’s) mad plan.
The thing is, the characters don’t really do much to accomplish that. The main characters against Helios are Deucalion (Frankenstein’s monster) and the two detectives. The detectives are just kind of…there. They spend most of the book surviving, not actively going after Victor. Deucalion himself straight-up says that he needs them because he cannot directly kill Victor. Their role in the plan is really to just pull the trigger once he’s been cornered. Deucalion takes a more active role by learning about Victor’s plans and sabotaging them. But even still, he is not the one who causes Victor’s downfall.
Ultimately, it is Victor who sabotages Victor. As Deucalion stated in the previous books, Victor’s weakness is his vanity. He considers himself and his work so perfect that he assumes his victory is a matter of when, not if. So, when it all starts to fall apart around him, Victor is blind to the issues at hand. He considers his work so perfect and infallible that it never even occurs to him that something he created could be fundamentally broken. While this is a great hubris for a character like Victor, it diminishes the protagonist’s role in the story. They help, but they’re not directly the cause of the villain’s downfall.
With each new book in Koontz’s Frankenstein series, I grew less impressed. More so with the 4th and 5th books that were tacked on later. But those have their own plotline and were unentertaining enough that I don’t even intend to take the time writing up reviews for those two. The real issue with Dead and Alive was that things didn’t get sewn up nicely by the end. Rather, they all fell haphazardly into place. Things are ok for the protagonists once the story is over, but not by their own merit. They didn’t win because they did well, they won because the villain did poorly. The victory didn’t feel earned and that makes for a dull conclusion.