By the Light of the Moon

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"Dylan O'Conner is a gifted young artist just trying to do the right thing in life. He's on his way to an arts festival in Santa Fe when he stops to get a room for himself and his twenty-year-old autistic brother, Shep. But in a nightmarish instant, Dylan is attacked by a mysterious "doctor," injected with a strange substance, and told that he is now a carrier of something that will either kill him...or transform his life in the most remarkable way. Then he is told that he must flee - before the doctor's enemies hunt him down for the secret
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2003-11-04 Mass Market Paperback New Hard to find 1st edition-Paperback. New condition-Pages clean, tight binding, no writing. Not ex-library book. We ship fast and always well ... packed. Thank you. Read more Show Less

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By the Light of the Moon

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Overview

"Dylan O'Conner is a gifted young artist just trying to do the right thing in life. He's on his way to an arts festival in Santa Fe when he stops to get a room for himself and his twenty-year-old autistic brother, Shep. But in a nightmarish instant, Dylan is attacked by a mysterious "doctor," injected with a strange substance, and told that he is now a carrier of something that will either kill him...or transform his life in the most remarkable way. Then he is told that he must flee - before the doctor's enemies hunt him down for the secret circulating through his body. No one can help him, the doctor says, not even the police." "Stunned, disbelieving, Dylan is turned loose to run for his life...and straight into an adventure that will turn the next twenty-four hours into an odyssey of terror, mystery - and wondrous discovery." "It is a journey that begins when Dylan and Shep's path intersects with that of Jillian Jackson. Before that evening Jilly was a beautiful comedian whose biggest worry was whether she would ever find a decent man. Now she too is a carrier. And even as Dylan tries to convince her that they'll be safer sticking together, cold-eyed men in a threatening pack of black Suburbans approach, only seconds before Jilly's classic Coupe DeVille explodes into thin air." Now the three are on the run together, but with no idea whom they're running from - or why. Meanwhile Shep has begun exhibiting increasingly disturbing behavior. And whatever it is that's coursing through their bodies seems to have plunged them into one waking nightmare after another. Seized by sinister premonitions, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to crime scenes - just minutes before the crimes take place.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Perhaps more than any other author, Koontz writes fiction perfectly suited to the mood of America post-September 11: novels that acknowledge the reality and tenacity of evil but also the power of good; that celebrate the common man and woman; that at their best entertain vastly as they uplift. His latest is one of those best, exciting and deeply moving, shorter than usual and also less prone to the overwriting, the flood of similes and metaphors, that sometimes overwhelms his storytelling. As usual for Koontz, the novel opens at full throttle: a mad doctor invades a motel in Arizona, injects both itinerant artist Dylan O'Connor and struggling comic Jillian Jackson (strangers to one another) with an unknown substance that, he says, is his life's work and will have some unknown effect, then warns them to flee before his enemies kill them; soon after, the doctor is slain by heavily armed assailants. The rest of the story is an extended chase, as Dylan and Jillian, along with Dylan's high-functioning autistic brother, Shep, dart around the West, only steps ahead of the assassins. Within hours, the effects of the injections materialize: Jillian experiences portentous visions-a flock of birds, a woman in a church; Dylan is overcome by the need to rush to the aid of people in distress (among others, in an intensely poignant scene, an elderly man searching for his missing daughter); and Shep learns to teleport himself and others. (Interestingly, Koontz bases the science behind these developments on nanotechnology, the same mechanism used by Michael Crichton in his just published Prey, an object lesson in how two writers can take the same premise and generate two very different yet excellent novels). The novel's only flaw is its abrupt ending, contrived probably to allow sequels-a probability that Koontz fans, but also anyone else who reads this novel, a predestined bestseller and rightfully so, will applaud. (Dec. 24)
Library Journal
Koontz (Watchers) introduces readers to a twentysomething trio consisting of artist Dylan O'Conner; his autistic younger brother, Shep; and a stand-up comedienne named Jilly Jackson. One momentous evening, these three unexpectedly find themselves coping with the bizarre effects of mysterious injections forced upon them by mad scientist Lincoln Proctor in an Arizona motel. With a generous helping of dark humor, Koontz quickly charges his characters with the task of harnessing their paranormal abilities as weapons against real-world violence and evil in a setting littered with present-day totems ranging from fast-food restaurants to sensation-mongering radio personalities. Religious images commingle with comic book-style action to present a tongue-in-cheek antidote to the brutality of today's society. As intriguing as this sounds, it's unclear what the author is trying to achieve. While die-hard fans might enjoy this experiment, it is not one of Koontz's best and certainly not a means to introduce new readers. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/02.]-Nancy McNicol, Whitneyville Branch Lib., Hamden, CT Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
“Koontz is not just master of our darkest dreams, but also a literary juggler.”—The Times (London)
 
“The poet laureate of paranoid pop fiction . . . Readers . . . will find themselves rushing pell-mell to the book’s end.”—The Denver Post
 
“Perhaps more than any other author, Koontz writes fiction perfectly suited to the mood of America post–September 11: novels that acknowledge the reality and tenacity of evil but also the power of good; that celebrate the common man and woman; that at their best entertain vastly as they uplift. By the Light of the Moon is one of those best, exciting and deeply moving.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553582765
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/4/2003
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • Lexile: 1200L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.17 (w) x 6.86 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.

Biography

He is one of the most recognized, read, and loved suspense writers of the 20th century. His imagination is a veritable factory of nightmares, conjuring twisted tales of psychological complexity. He even has a fan in Stephen King. For decades, Dean Koontz's name has been synonymous with terror, and his novels never fail to quicken the pulse and set hearts pounding.

Koontz has a lifelong love of writing that led him to spend much of his free time as an adult furiously cultivating his style and voice. However, it was only after his wife Gerda made him an offer he couldn't refuse while he was teaching English at a high school outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that he had a real opportunity to make a living with his avocation. Gerda agreed to support Dean for five years, during which time he could try to get his writing career off the ground. Little did she know that by the end of that five years she would be leaving her own job to handle the financial end of her husband's massively successful writing career.

Koontz first burst into the literary world with 1970's Beastchild, a science fiction novel that appealed to genre fans with its descriptions of aliens and otherworldly wars but also mined deeper themes of friendship and the breakdown of communication. Although it is not usually ranked among his classics, Beastchild provided the first inkling of Koontz's talent for populating even the most fantastical tale with fully human characters. Even at his goriest or most terrifying, he always allows room for redemption.

This complexity is what makes Koontz's work so popular with readers. He has a true gift for tempering horror with humanity, grotesqueries with lyricism. He also has a knack for genre-hopping, inventing Hitchcockian romantic mysteries, crime dramas, supernatural thrillers, science fiction, and psychological suspense with equal deftness and imagination. Perhaps The Times (London) puts it best: "Dean Koontz is not just a master of our darkest dreams, but also a literary juggler."

Good To Know

Shortly after graduating from college, Koontz took a job with the Appalachian Poverty Program where he would tutor and counsel underprivileged kids. However, after finding out that the last person who held his job had been beaten up and hospitalized by some of these kids, Koontz was more motivated than ever to get his writing career going.

When Koontz was a senior in college, he won the Atlantic Monthly fiction competition.

Koontz and Kevin Anderson's novel Frankenstein: The Prodigal Son was slotted to become a television series produced by Martin Scorsese. However, when the pilot failed to sell, the USA Network aired it as a TV movie in 2004. By that time Koontz had removed his name from the project.

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Koontz:

"My wife, Gerda, and I took seven years of private ballroom dancing lessons, twice a week, ninety minutes each time. After we had gotten good at everything from swing to the foxtrot, we not only stopped taking lessons, but also stopped going dancing. Learning had been great fun; but for both of us, going out for an evening of dancing proved far less exhilarating than the learning. We both have a low boredom threshold. Now we dance at a wedding or other celebration perhaps once a year, and we're creaky."

"On my desk is a photograph given to me by my mother after Gerda and I were engaged to be married. It shows 23 children at a birthday party. It is neither my party nor Gerda's. I am three years old, going on four. Gerda is three. In that crowd of kids, we are sitting directly across a table from each other. I'm grinning, as if I already know she's my destiny, and Gerda has a serious expression, as if she's worried that I might be her destiny. We never met again until I was a senior in high school and she was a junior. We've been trying to make up for that lost time ever since.

"Gerda and I worked so much for the first two decades of our marriage that we never took a real vacation until our twentieth wedding anniversary. Then we went on a cruise, booking a first-class suite, sparing no expense. For more than half the cruise, the ship was caught in a hurricane. The open decks were closed because waves would have washed passengers overboard. About 90% of the passengers spent day after day in their cabins, projectile vomiting. We discovered that neither of us gets seasick. We had the showrooms, the casino, and the buffets virtually to ourselves. Because the crew had no one to serve, our service was exemplary. The ship dared not try to put into the scheduled ports; it was safer on the open sea. The big windows of the main bar presented a spectacular view of massive waves and lightning strikes that stabbed the sea by the score. Very romantic. We had a grand time.

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    1. Also Known As:
      David Axton, Brian Coffey, K.R. Dwyer, Deanna Dwyer, John Hill, Leigh Nichols, Anthony North, Richard Paige, Owen West, Aaron Wolfe
    2. Hometown:
      Newport Beach, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 9, 1945
    2. Place of Birth:
      Everett, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.S. (major in English), Shippensburg University, 1966
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Shortly before being knocked unconscious and bound to a chair, before being injected with an unknown substance against his will, and before discovering that the world was deeply mysterious in ways he'd never before imagined, Dylan O'Conner left his motel room and walked across the highway to a brightly lighted fast-food franchise to buy cheeseburgers, French fries, pocket pies with apple filling, and a vanilla milkshake.

The expired day lay buried in the earth, in the asphalt. Unseen but felt, its ghost haunted the Arizona night: a hot spirit rising lazily from every inch of ground that Dylan crossed.

Here at the end of town that served travelers from the nearby interstate, formidable batteries of colorful electric signs warred for customers. In spite of this bright battle, however, an impressive sea of stars gleamed from horizon to horizon, for the air was clear and dry. A westbound moon, as round as a ship's wheel, plied the starry ocean.

The vastness above appeared clean and full of promise, but the world at ground level looked dusty, weary. Rather than being combed by a single wind, the night was plaited with many breezes, each with an individual quality of whispery speech and a unique scent. Redolent of desert grit, of cactus pollen, of diesel fumes, of hot blacktop, the air curdled as Dylan drew near to the restaurant, thickened with the aroma of long-used deep-fryer oil, with hamburger grease smoking on a griddle, with fried-onion vapors nearly as thick as blackdamp.

If he hadn't been in a town unfamiliar to him, if he hadn't been tired after a day on the road, and if his younger brother, Shepherd, hadn't been in a puzzlingmood, Dylan would have sought a restaurant with healthier fare. Shep wasn't currently able to cope in public, however, and when in this condition, he refused to eat anything but comfort food with a high fat content.

The restaurant was brighter inside than out. Most surfaces were white, and in spite of the well-greased air, the establishment looked antiseptic.

Contemporary culture fit Dylan O'Conner only about as well as a three-fingered glove, and here was one more place where the tailoring pinched: He believed that a burger joint ought to look like a joint, not like a surgery, not like a nursery with pictures of clowns and funny animals on the walls, not like a bamboo pavilion on a tropical island, not like a glossy plastic replica of a 1950s diner that never actually existed. If you were going to eat charred cow smothered in cheese, with a side order of potato strips made as crisp as ancient papyrus by immersion in boiling oil, and if you were going to wash it all down with either satisfying quantities of icy beer or a milkshake containing the caloric equivalent of an entire roasted pig, then this fabulous consumption ought to occur in an ambience that virtually screamed guilty pleasure, if not sin. The lighting should be low and warm. Surfaces should be dark--preferably old mahogany, tarnished brass, wine-colored upholstery. Music should be provided to soothe the carnivore: not the music that made your gorge rise in an elevator because it was played by musicians steeped in Prozac, but tunes that were as sensuous as the food--perhaps early rock and roll or big-band swing, or good country music about temptation and remorse and beloved dogs.

Nevertheless, he crossed the ceramic-tile floor to a stainless-steel counter, where he placed his takeout order with a plump woman whose white hair, well-scrubbed look, and candy-striped uniform made her a dead ringer for Mrs. Santa Claus. He half expected to see an elf peek out of her shirt pocket.

In distant days, counters in fast-food outlets had been manned largely by teenagers. In recent years, however, a significant number of teens considered such work to be beneath them, which opened the door to retirees looking to supplement their social-security checks.

Mrs. Santa Claus called Dylan "dear," delivered his order in two white paper bags, and reached across the counter to pin a promotional button to his shirt. The button featured the slogan fries not flies and the grinning green face of a cartoon toad whose conversion from the traditional diet of his warty species to such taste treats as half-pound bacon cheeseburgers was chronicled in the company's current advertising campaign.

Here was that three-fingered glove again: Dylan didn't understand why he should be expected to weigh the endorsement of a cartoon toad or a sports star--or a Nobel laureate, for that matter--when deciding what to eat for dinner. Furthermore, he didn't understand why an advertisement assuring him that the restaurant's French fries were tastier than house flies should charm him. Their fries better have a superior flavor to a bagful of insects.

He withheld his antitoad opinion also because lately he had begun to realize that he was allowing himself to be annoyed by too many inconsequential things. If he didn't mellow out, he would sour into a world-class curmudgeon by the age of thirty-five. He smiled at Mrs. Claus and thanked her, lest otherwise he ensure an anthracite Christmas.

Outside, under the fat moon, crossing the three-lane highway to the motel, carrying paper bags full of fragrant cholesterol in a variety of formats, Dylan reminded himself of some of the many things for which he should be thankful. Good health. Nice teeth. Great hair. Youth. He was twenty-nine. He possessed a measure of artistic talent and had work that he found both meaningful and enjoyable. Although he was in no danger of getting rich, he sold his paintings often enough to cover expenses and to bank a little money every month. He had no disfiguring facial scars, no persistent fungus problem, no troublesome evil twin, no spells of amnesia from which he awoke with bloody hands, no inflamed hangnails.

And he had Shepherd. Simultaneously a blessing and a curse, Shep in his best moments made Dylan glad to be alive and happy to be his brother.

Under a red neon motel sign where Dylan's traveling shadow painted a purer black upon the neon-rouged blacktop, and then when he passed squat sago palms and spiky cactuses and other hardy desert landscaping, and also while he followed the concrete walkways that served the motel, and certainly when he passed the humming and softly clinking soda-vending machines, lost in thought, brooding about the soft chains of family commitment--he was stalked. So stealthy was the approach that the stalker must have matched him step for step, breath for breath. At the door to his room, clutching bags of food, fumbling with his key, he heard too late a betraying scrape of shoe leather. Dylan turned his head, rolled his eyes, glimpsed a looming moon-pale face, and sensed as much as saw the dark blur of something arcing down toward his skull.

Strangely, he didn't feel the blow and wasn't aware of falling. He heard the paper bags crackle, smelled onions, smelled warm cheese, smelled pickle chips, realized that he was facedown on the concrete, and hoped that he hadn't spilled Shep's milkshake. Then he dreamed a little dream of dancing French fries.

Copyright© 2002 by Dean Koontz
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 135 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(58)

4 Star

(47)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 135 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2012

    Koontz does it again

    Fast paced and a very good read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 9, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    I have the hard copy and an ereader version now. I enjoy the book. Read it over and over every couple of months.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 17, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Too long!

    This book took me forever to get through, I think it has something to do with all the detail in it. I like how the story starts with action off the bat but it tends to get kind of boring and long in the middle. Ending was not what i expected. Not one of Dean's best.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A typical Dean Koontz - You don't know what you are going to get

    I actually listened to this one on tape. The characters come to life a bit more when the book is being listened too. I got annoyed with one of hte characters, but that just shows how well he was written. LOVED this, it was adventurous, touching and shocking all in one. Definately a Koontz novel!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2005

    I couldn't finish it.

    I am surprised at the number of good reviews on this book. I began skimming at about page 300 and then eventually had to give up. The story was slow the character development was overdone and should never, at such an exascerbating extreme, be a replacement for decent story development.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2013

    Must read

    As a mom of an autistic ..... loved it and a must read thank you for writing this one!

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  • Posted June 30, 2013

    This was the first Dean Koontz book that I have read. I really e

    This was the first Dean Koontz book that I have read. I really enjoyed this book. and compared to some of the other books, By the Light of the Moon remains one of my favorites by him. Highly recommend reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2013

    By the Light of the Moon by Dean Koontz Koontz traps the reader

    By the Light of the Moon by Dean Koontz
    Koontz traps the reader within the lives of a uniquely related trio in a search for supernatural identity.
    Dylan O’Conner is an average man, living an average life, save the foreign substance coursing through his veins. On a work-related journey towards New Mexico, Dylan and his notably autistic brother Shep find themselves taken hostage in an Arizona hotel room by an eerie “Dr. Frankenstein.” Both injected with a mysterious yellow fluid and left only with a vague knowledge of what is contained within them, they flee the scene in search for answers. Along with the help of a certain Jillian Jackson, another victim of the Doctor’s game of life and death, they will discover the truth behind their past, their future, and their mutual connection as they delve into the realities of “playing God.”
    A haunting literary prize that explores the nature of humankind, beginning with the characters, and evolving towards the readers.
    Genre: Fiction/Mystery
    Age Recommendation: 15 & up
    Pub Date: December, 2002
    Page Count: 460
    Review Date: June 2, 2013
    Reviewer: Turner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    Love it

    Loved this book. It was very hard to put down

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    Wonderful

    Great book and highly entertaining

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  • Posted March 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    I have not this one yet ,but am reading right now another of hes book,will get to this one soon.Now there are i think 3 or4 of "ODD,"
    They did not put the "T" in front of ODD,these are the BEST storys I have read.I hoping he will come back with more about Odd Thomas.Hoping a movie could be made of the Frist story .GREAT!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2012

    Best Koontz Ever!

    Must have read it 15 times! Absolutly hilarious. Course it doesn't hurt that one of the main characters is autistic! I reccomend it for everyone who knows anything about or someone with Autiem!!!

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  • Posted May 1, 2011

    Well written, but hated the ending

    I like Koontz and his way with words (though he does sound like a thesaurus sometimes, using big words when smaller ones are infinitely more readable), but I found the ending of this one too precious. I would recommend the first 200 pages or so, but the ending made my teeth hurt (too trite, too sugary).

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  • Posted January 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This book was amazing!!

    One of the first Dean Koontz books I read and I haven't been able to stop reading his work yet!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2009

    By The LIGHT of the MOON

    I thought overall the book was great, however the beginning was to dry. It was overly descriptive, to the point I almost stopped reading it. Mr Koontz did live up to my expectation as I read on. Overall a great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2009

    great book!

    I loved this book. Usually i don't like to read, but this book was so good I couldn't stop reading it!

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  • Posted February 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great premise, same old characters

    (Originally written September 6, 2005)

    Back when I read books on a regular basis, I was a huge Dean R. Koontz fan. Now that I've returned, I see that Mr. Koontz has dropped the "R," improved his already impressive writing style, and kept the same basic characters types that he's always used. Again, I do consider myself a Koontz fan. When I decided to get back into reading, I made sure to include a couple of Koontz books in my splurge.

    "By the Light of the Moon" starts fast and maintains that same pace from start to finish. The fictional science behind the plot is just realistic enough for suspension of disbelief, and the side-effects of the villain's wicked "stuff" are clever and become increasingly inventive as the story moves along. Koontz starts off with your standard, generic, run of the mill "psychic" powers, but then he gets more creative.

    The only drawback about this book, and many other Koontz books I've read: The characters. This is NOT to say that they are "two dimensional" or "unbelievable." Taken on their own, they are fine. If this were the ONLY Koontz book you ever read, you would have no idea that this is his short coming, and for those single time readers, I would say this book is actually 5 stars.

    BUT, for those of you who have read Koontz before or intend to read him again, you will find that he has once again brought us the same characters: The withdrawn man with a sad background; the hardened, withdrawn woman with a terrible background; and the third party (in this case, a brother), usually related to the man, who is deficient or handicapped in some way (in this case, autistic). And, against all odds, this lonely man and lonely, disgruntled woman somehow manage to find their mutual lights at the end of the tunnel ... you see where I'm going. In some ways, Koontz would have been better off just making all of these books ABOUT the same characters, and turning them into a series of sequels. Character wise, that's what we end up with, anyway.

    But again, setting that aside, I really enjoyed this novel. I don't want to give anything away, but this books ends on a PERFECT note to set it up for a sequel. I don't think Koontz does them, but I wish he would in this case. I would LOVE to read it, and after all, in a sequel, the characters are EXPECTED to be the same.

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  • Posted December 28, 2008

    Awaiting the sequel...

    I Liked this as well as, if not better than, the 'Odd Thomas' Books, but as of yet I am still waiting for a sequel (while there are 4 or 5 Odd books,go figure) Oh well, hope springs eternal...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2007

    Really Good, but not his best

    I really liked this book, but the ending left a lot to be desired. It was too surreal, standing out even in this far-fetched plot line, and broke the could-maybe-possibly-happen facade that is so prevailent in Koontz's books, which is one of the reasons why they are so interseting. If there was a sequel, though, I would definitely read it....Im interested to see how Koontz would turn this around. There is an evident Dickens influence in this book(another of my favorite authors), and the writing style is undoubtedly genius.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2007

    Pretty good

    I liked this book, it was really funny in the beginning and it was interesting and suspensful but I didn't like the ending, I felt like I was reading a D.C. comic book at the end, you'll know what I mean when you read it.

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