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Seize the Night

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Moonlight Bay, California. A safe, secluded small town that is at its most picturesque in the gentle nighttimes that inspired its name. Now, somewhere in the night, children are disappearing. From their homes. From the streets. The police cannot be trusted to solve the mystery because in Moonlight Bay the police work their hardest to conceal crimes and silence the complainants rather than catch the perpetrators. They were long ago corrupted by a greater authority, hidden behind the supposedly shuttered walls of ...
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Seize the Night

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Overview

Moonlight Bay, California. A safe, secluded small town that is at its most picturesque in the gentle nighttimes that inspired its name. Now, somewhere in the night, children are disappearing. From their homes. From the streets. The police cannot be trusted to solve the mystery because in Moonlight Bay the police work their hardest to conceal crimes and silence the complainants rather than catch the perpetrators. They were long ago corrupted by a greater authority, hidden behind the supposedly shuttered walls of the adjacent military base, Fort Wyvern. When he sets out to find the missing five-year-old son of a former sweetheart, Christopher Snow believes the lost children are still alive. He is convinced the disappearances have everything to do with the catastrophic effects of secret research conducted deep within Fort Wyvern. To keep those secrets, extremely violent and powerful forces are willing to conceal even the most heinous crimes. But Christopher Snow has developed a secret advantage of his own. His rare genetic disorder - xeroderma pigmentosum, XP - leaves him dangerously vulnerable to light. Forced to live in the shadows, Christopher Snow knows the night world better than anyone, even those adversaries who seem at one with darkness.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Following a string of blockbusters over the past several years, including Watchers and Intensity, Dean Koontz embarked on what was a bit of an experiment for a bestselling writer — to take a character and fully explore his life through the mechanism of the thriller. Koontz's first foray in this realm was last year's Fear Nothing, a sort of coming-of-age suspense story set against the nighttime world of Christopher Snow, the novel's young protagonist. The second installment in Snow's saga, Seize the Night, finds him older, wiser, and rougher around the edges. Seize the Night is a better novel than Fear Nothing and represents Koontz's maturation into a first-rate novelist of the 20th century who's looking ahead to the 21st. Dean Koontz is one of those big bestselling writers people either love or hate, but few have ever not read at least one of his novels. He has an enormous fan base and has written tons of novels — some up there with the best of popular fiction, and some simply good reads with strong story lines. He was cutting his teeth on writing various kinds of fiction, from science fiction to gothic to suspense to comedy, for years before he hit big with his first bestsellers. As a result, these influences seeped into his fiction — but he offered up more. Koontz is one of the few novelists writing today who manages to combine a strong humanistic thread with a spiritual sense and still write a crackling-good thriller. All this is a preface to my take on Seize the Night. It is Koontz's best novel. All right, I'llqualifythis. It's not his most frightening, it's not his wildest roller-coaster ride, and it's not his most experimental. It is solid fiction, truly beautiful writing, and a journey that involves getting to know a human being completely, both his terror and his joy. With Seize the Night, Dean Koontz has applied his limitless imagination to write a contemporary thriller equivalent to a Dickens novel. The tale is set in Moonlight Bay, a metaphoric night town for Koontz, a place where anything can happen after dark. Christopher Snow is now all grown up and carries a Glock. He lives a night existence, which sets him apart as the outsider right from the start (an interesting reversal from Koontz's earlier novel, Watchers, in which the Outsider was the bad one). Snow suffers from xeroderma pigmentosum, a condition that afflicts a small percentage of human beings, and it is both devastating and enhancing for him: Light is a killer, so he's turned the night into a religion. One character describes him as a person full of "reckless caring," and this becomes a theme for Koontz and his story — and seems to be the main theme of much of Koontz's fiction. The story takes off when Snow discovers that Jimmy, the son of his friend Lily Wing, has vanished. As he desperately tries to find Jimmy before something terrible happens to him, the journey becomes one in which Christopher Snow enters the underworld of nearby Fort Wyvern, a place of skeletons and psychos, but also the vision of hell that Snow and his compadres must enter in order to reach their heaven. This is not a tenderhearted tale of friends, however — it's a story of child killers and torturers and the few who must stop them. The mystery within the story takes hold, and it is, per Koontz's imagination, the very mystery of life. Ride the darkness with Christopher Snow. Grab this book. See what Koontz can do. Seize the Night is fantasy, reality, thriller, horror, and even romance — the romance of living in the night.
— Douglas Clegg
Los Angeles Times
Koontz never gives us a chance to look back...his ability to keep the level of excitement high, moment by moment, is...a remarkable technical feat.
Alex Tresniowski
Looking for the kind of suspense that will raise goose bumps on your goose bumps? Cozy up the latest pulse-quickener from terrormeister Dean Koontz. —People Magazine
Tom DeHaven
...[E]ither an utterly zany thriller or the first really cool young-adult adventure novel of 1999....Call this one...Koontz with tears, sadism or even much bloodshed....I still miss the edgier, nastier Koontz....That Koontz could stop your heart; this one just makes it beat a little faster. —Entertainment Weekly
David Walton
...[R]eally a bros-and-brews backslapper in which characters refer to Coleridge and T.S. Eliot as often as to genetic mutation... —The New York Times Book Review
LA Times Book Review
Koontz never gives us a chance to look back...his ability to keep the level of excitement high, moment by moment, is...a remarkable technical feat.
New York Post
Dean Koontz finally got me....A rock-'em, sock-'em, knock-your-socks-off thriller that's not just a page-turner, but a page-burner.
VOYA - Tom Pearson
This new mega-seller is situated once again in the picturesque California seacoast town, Moonlight Bay. Chris Snow, the hero of Fear Nothing (Bantam, 1998/VOYA June 1998) is once again up to his elbows in scary stuff. Chris suspects that the kidnapping of his former girlfriend's son, the latest in a series of abductions of young children, is linked to scary stuff that has been happening at nearby Fort Wyvern. A super-secret project involving the genetic enhancement of animals has gotten out of hand, and now the area in and around Fort Wyvern is home to a band of highly intelligent and dangerous Rhesus monkeys, plus other examples of nature gone terrifyingly wrong.

Chris soon learns that experimentation with animals was not the only tinkering with nature that went on at Fort Wyvern. A separate but related physics experiment now threatens to alter time and space in the way that animal experimentation has threatened the continuing existence of every animal species on Earth (humankind not excepted). Chris must once again call on his friends for help in rescuing four kidnapped children and his dog.

Once again, Koontz has delivered a bang-up read. The plot never stops, yet he manages to tie most of it together neatly at the end. The characters are believable, as is the dialogue, although the surfer slang occasionally slows things down a tad while the author translates for the benefit of his landlocked readers. Fans should be forewarned that one of the good guys dies in Seize the Night, although nothing-death included-is as it seems in Moonlight Bay.

VOYA Codes: 4Q 5P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12 and adults).

Library Journal
Christopher Snow is back. Fans of Koontz's last offering, Fear Nothing (LJ 2/1/98), will remember Chris as the young victim of XP (xeroderma pigmentosum), a rare and deadly genetic condition that forces him to avoid light. Here, the horrifying tale of Chris's hometown, Moonlight Bay, continues to unfold. Chris and his tight band of friends take up the search for four missing children in this town, where experiments with a genetically engineered retrovirus have begun to turn several local residents into creatures that are less than human. Koontz successfully blends his special brand of suspense from generous measures of mystery, horror, sf, and the techno-thriller genre. But his greatest triumph in this series is the creation of Christopher Snow, a thought-provoking narrator with a facility for surfer-lingo and dark humor who, despite his extreme situation, is an undeniably believable character. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, 10/15/98.]--Nancy McNicol, Hagaman Memorial Lib., East Haven, CT
Los Angeles Times
Koontz never gives us a chance to look back...his ability to keep the level of excitement high, moment by moment, is...a remarkable technical feat.
David Walton
...[R]eally a bros-and-brews backslapper in which characters refer to Coleridge and T.S. Eliot as often as to genetic mutation...
-- The New York Times Book Review
Tom DeHaven
...[E]ither an utterly zany thriller or the first really cool young-adult adventure novel of 1999....Call this one...Koontz with tears, sadism or even much bloodshed....I still miss the edgier, nastier Koontz....That Koontz could stop your heart; this one just makes it beat a little faster.
-- Entertainment Weekly
LA Times Book Review
Koontz never gives us a chance to look back...his ability to keep the level of excitement high, moment by moment, is...a remarkable technical feat.
New York Post
Dean Koontz finally got me....A rock-'em, sock-'em, knock-your-socks-off thriller that's not just a page-turner, but a page-burner.
Alex Tresniowski
Looking for the kind of suspense that will raise goose bumps on your goose bumps? Cozy up the latest pulse-quickener from terrormeister Dean Koontz.
-- People Magazine
Kirkus Reviews
This tour de force, though less intense than Intensity, has Koontz, the nimble master of the macabre, inventing a hugely empty California army base once used for secret experiments and now, in its vast, moonlit state, called Dead Town.

Poetry freak Christopher Snow, also the hero of Fear Nothing, suffers from a rare genetic disorder, xeroderma pigmentosum: his skin can't bear light of any sort. Thus he dresses only in black, wears dark shades, inhabits a house lit by bulbs in red lantern glass, sleeps by day, goes out only after sunset, and so on. Chris lives next to Wyvern Army Base, in Moonlight Bay, whose leading citizens know that terrible experiments at Wyvern produced genetically enhanced, intelligent monkeys, birds, snakes, coyotes, and humans, all richly menacing and still infesting the base. Many of the experimental humans were afflicted by a rogue retrovirus causing them to fall into beastly rages signaled by nocturnal eyeshine. That said, Koontz takes on a triple, or perhaps quadruple, oh, hell, quintuple plot, featuring serial murderers; an incredible Egg Room located three floors underground where, apparently the experimental subjects were enhanced; and an invasion of the present by swift alien worms coming from sidetime and likely to take over the planet. Will murder-minded experimental folk now waltz around every continent? They're an unpleasant bunch. When an old girlfriend's son is kidnapped and whisked off to the base, Chris follows with his enhanced dog Orson (as in Welles), a genius on par with intelligent humans. Chris's moonlit adventures in Dead Town, aided by his wisecracking crew of far-out buddies, form a story that bends into the bizarromirror-world of Neverland. Heavy suspense, no sex, and darker than Nancy Drew. With headlong glee, Koontz again unveils encyclopedic intelligence about how things work in the physical world-and how to bolt sentences into the moonlight.

From the Publisher

“The kind of suspense that will raise goose bumps on goose bumps.”—People
 
“A rock-’em, sock-’em, knock-your-socks-off thriller that’s not just a page-turner, but a page burner.”—New York Post
 
“Page by page, Koontz builds the tension until it is almost unbearable. [He] is a born storyteller.”—San Francisco Examiner
 
“Gripping . . . This book will leave you breathless.”—The Providence Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553580198
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/1/1999
  • Series: Christopher Snow Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.76 (w) x 10.96 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

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

Prologue

My name is Christopher Snow. The following account is an installment in my personal journal. If you are reading it, I am probably dead. If I am not dead, then because of the reportage herein, I am now--or soon will be--one of the most famous people on the planet. If no one ever reads this, it will be because the world as we know it has ceased to exist and human civilization is gone forever. I am no more vain than the average person, and instead of universal recognition, I prefer the peace of anonymity. Nevertheless, if the choice is between Armageddon and fame, I'd prefer to be famous.


Chapter One

Elsewhere, night falls, but in Moonlight Bay it steals upon us with barely a whisper, like a gentle dark-sapphire surf licking a beach. At dawn, when the night retreats across the pacific toward distant Asia, it is reluctant to go, leaving deep black pools in alleyways, under parked cars, in culverts, and beneath the leafy canopies of ancient oaks.

According to Tibetan folklore, a secret sanctuary in the sacred Himalayas is the home of all wind, from which every breeze and raging storm throughout the world is born. If the night, too, has a special home, our town is no doubt the place.

On the eleventh of April, as the night passed through Moonlight Bay on its way westward, it took with it a five-year-old boy named Jimmy Wing.

Near midnight, I was on my bicycle, cruising the residential streets in the lower hills not far from Ashdon College, where my murdered parents had once been professors. Earlier, I had been to the beach, but although there was no wind, the surf was mushy; the sloppy waves didn't make it worthwhile to suit up and float a board. Orson, a black Labrador mix, trotted at my side.

Fur face and I were not looking for adventure, merely getting some fresh air and satisfying our mutual need to be on the move. A restlessness of the soul plagues both of us more nights than not.

Anyway, only a fool or a madman goes looking for adventure in picturesque Moonlight Bay, which is simultaneously one of the quietest and most dangerous communities on the planet. Here, if you stand in one place long enough, a lifetime's worth of adventure will find you.

Lilly Wing lives on a street shaded and scented by stone pines. In the absence of lampposts, the trunks and twisted branches were as black as char, except where moonlight pierced the feathery boughs and silvered the rough bark.

I became aware of her when the beam of a flashlight swept back and forth between the tree trunks. A quick pendulum of light arced across the pavement ahead of me, and tree shadows jumped. She called her son's name, trying to shout but defeated by breathlessness and by a quiver of panic that transformed Jimmy into a six--syllable word.

Because no traffic was in sight ahead of or behind us, Orson and I were traveling the center of the pavement: kings of the road. We swung to the curb.

As Lilly hurried between two pines and into the street, I said, "What's wrong, Badger?"

For twelve years, since we were sixteen, "Badger" has been my affectionate nickname for her. In those days, her name was Lilly Travis, and we were in love and believed that a future together was our destiny. Among our long list of shared enthusiasms and passions was a special fondness for Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, in which the wise and courageous Badger was the stalwart defender of all good animals in the Wild Wood. "Any friend of mine walks where he likes in this country," Badger had promised Mole, "or I'll know the reason why!" Likewise, those who shunned me because of my rare disability, those who called me vampire because of my inherited lack of tolerance for more than the dimmest light, those teenage psychopaths who plotted to torture me with fists and flashlights, those who spoke maliciously of me behind my back, as if I'd chosen to be born with xeroderma pigmentosum--all had found themselves answering to Lilly, whose face flushed and whose heart raced with righteous anger at any exhibition of intolerance. As a young boy, out of urgent necessity, I learned to fight, and by the time I met Lilly, I was confident of my ability to defend myself; nevertheless, she had insisted on coming to my aid as fiercely as the noble Badger ever fought with claw and cudgel for his friend Mole.

Although slender, she is mighty. Only five feet four, she appears to tower over any adversary. She is as formidable, fearless, and fierce as she is graceful and good-hearted.

This night, however, her usual grace had deserted her, and fright had tortured her bones into unnatural angles. When I spoke, she twitched around to face me, and in her jeans and untucked flannel shirt, she seemed to be a bristling scarecrow now magically animated, confused and terrified to find itself suddenly alive, jerking at its supporting cross.

The beam of her flashlight bathed my face, but she considerately directed it toward the ground the instant she realized who I was. "Chris. Oh, God."

"What's wrong?" I asked again as I got off my bike.

"Jimmy's gone."

"Run away?"

"No." She turned from me and hurried toward the house. "This way, here, look."

Lilly's property is ringed by a white picket fence that she herself built. The entrance is flanked not by gateposts but by matched bougainvillea that she has pruned into trees and trained into a canopy. Her modest Cape Cod bungalow lies at the end of an intricately patterned brick walkway that she designed and laid after teaching herself masonry from books.

The front door stood open. Enticing rooms of deadly brightness lay beyond.

Instead of taking me and Orson inside, Lilly quickly led us off the bricks and across the lawn. In the still night, as I pushed my bike through the closely cropped grass, the tick of wheel bearings was the loudest sound. We went to the north side of the house.

A bedroom window had been raised. Inside, a single lamp glowed, and the walls were striped with amber light and faint honey-brown shadows from the folded cloth of the pleated shade. To the left of the bed, Star Wars action figures stood on a set of bookshelves. As the cool night sucked warmth from the house, one panel of the curtains was drawn across the sill, pale and fluttering like a troubled spirit reluctant to leave this world for the next.

"I thought the window was locked, but it mustn't have been," Lilly said frantically. "Someone opened it, some sonofabitch, and he took Jimmy away.

"Maybe it's not that bad."

"Some sick bastard," she insisted.

The flashlight jiggled, and Lilly struggled to still her trembling hand as she directed the beam at the planting bed alongside the house.

"I don't have any money," she said.

"Money?"

"To pay ransom. I'm not rich. So no one would take Jimmy for ransom. It's worse than that."

False Solomon's seal, laden with feathery sprays of white flowers that glittered like ice, had been trampled by the intruder. Footprints were impressed in trodden leaves and soft damp soil. They were not the prints of a runaway child but those of an adult in athletic shoes with bold tread, and judging by the depth of the impressions, the kidnapper was a large person, most likely male.

I saw that Lilly was barefoot.

"I couldn't sleep, I was watching TV, some stupid show on the TV," she said with a note of self-flagellation, as if she should have anticipated this abduction and been at Jimmy's bedside, ever vigilant.

Orson pushed between us to sniff the imprinted earth.

"I didn't hear anything," Lilly said. "Jimmy never cried out, but I got this feeling...."

Her usual beauty, as clear and deep as a reflection of eternity, was now shattered by terror, crazed by sharp lines of an anguish that was close to grief. She was held together only by desperate hope. Even in the dim backwash of the flashlight, I could hardly bear the sight of her in such pain.

"It'll be all right," I said, ashamed of this facile lie.

"I called the police," she said. "They should be here any second. Where are they?"

Personal experience had taught me to distrust the authorities in Moonlight Bay. They are corrupt. And the corruption is not merely moral, not simply a matter of bribe-taking and a taste for power; it has deeper and more disturbing origins.

No siren shrieked in the distance, and I didn't expect to hear one. In our special town, the police answer calls with utmost discretion, without even the quiet fanfare of flashing emergency lights, because as often as not, their purpose is to conceal a crime and silence the complainant rather than to bring the perpetrator to justice.

"He's only five, only five," Lilly said miserably. "Chris, what if this is that guy on the news?"

"The news?"

"The serial killer. The one who...burns kids."

"That's not around here."

"All over the country. Every few months. Groups of little kids burned alive. Why not here?"

"Because it isn't," I said, "It's something else."

She swung away from the window and raked the yard with the flashlight beam, as though she hoped to discover her tousle-haired, pajama-clad son among the fallen leaves and the curled strips of papery bark that littered the grass under a row of tall eucalyptus trees.

Catching a troubling scent, Orson issued a low growl and backed away from the planting bed. He peered up at the windowsill, sniffed the air, put his nose to the ground again, and headed tentatively toward the rear of the house.

"He's got something," I said.

Lilly turned. "Got what?"

"A trail."

When he reached the backyard, Orson broke into a trot.

"Badger," I said, "don't tell them that Orson and I were here."

A weight of fear pressed her voice thinner than a whisper. "Don't tell who?"

"The police."

"Why?"

"I'll be back. I'll explain. I swear I'll find Jimmy. I swear I will."

I could keep the first two promises. The third, however, was something less meaningful than wishful thinking and was intended only to provide a little hope with which she might keep herself glued together.

In fact, as I hurried after my strange dog, pushing the bicycle at my side, I already believed that Jimmy Wing was lost forever. The most I expected to find at the end of the trail was the boy's dead body and, with luck, the man who had murdered him.


Chapter Two

When I reached the rear of Lilly's house, I couldn't see Orson. He was so coaly black that even the light of a full moon was not sufficient to reveal him.

From off to the right came a soft woof, then another, and I followed his call.

At the end of the backyard was a freestanding garage that could be entered by car only from the alley beyond. A brick walkway led alongside the garage to a wooden gate, where Orson stood on his hind legs, pawing at the latch.

For a fact, this dog is radically smarter than ordinary mutts. Sometimes I suspect that he is also considerably smarter than I am.

If I didn't have the advantage of hands, no doubt I would be the one eating from a dish on the floor. He would have control of the most comfortable easy chair and the remote control for the television.

Demonstrating my single claim to superiority, I disengaged the bolt latch with a flourish and pushed open the creaking gate.

A series of garages, storage sheds, and backyard fences lay along this flank of the alley. On the farther side, the cracked and runneled blacktop gave way to a narrow dirt shoulder, which in turn led to a like of massive eucalyptuses and a weedy verge that sloped into a canyon.

Lilly's house is on the edge of town, and no one lives in the canyon beyond her place. The wild grass and scattered scrub oaks on the descending slopes provide homes for hawks, coyotes, rabbits, squirrels, field mice, and snakes.

Following his formidable nose, Orson urgently investigated the weeds along the edge of the canyon, padding north and then south, softly whining and grumbling to himself.

I stood at the brink, between two trees, peering down into a darkness that not even the fat moon could dispel. No flashlight moved in those depths. If Jimmy had been carried into that gloom, the kidnapper must have uncanny night vision.

With a yelp, Orson abruptly abandoned his search along the canyon rim and returned to the center of the alleyway. He moved in a circle, as though he might start chasing his tail, but his head was raised and he was excitedly sniffing spoor.

To him, the air is a rich stew of scents. Every dog has a sense of smell thousands of times more powerful than yours or mine.

The medicinal pungency of the eucalyptus trees was the only aroma that I could detect. Drawn by another and more suspicious scent, as if he were but a bit of iron pulled inexorably toward a powerful magnet, Orson raced north along the alley.

Maybe Jimmy Wing was still alive.

It's my nature to believe in miracles. So why not believe in this one.

I climbed on my bike and pedaled after the dog. He was swift and certain, and to match his pace, I really had to make the drive chain hum.

In block after block, only a few widely spaced security lamps glowed at the back of the residential properties that we passed. By habit I steered away from those radiant pools, along the darker side of the alleyway, even though I could have sailed through each patch of lamplight in less than a second or so, without significant risk to my health.

Xeroderma pigmentosum--XP for those who aren't able to tie their tongues in knots--is an inherited genetic disorder that I share with an exclusive club of only one thousand other Americans. One of us per 250,000 citizens. XP renders me highly vulnerable to skin and eye cancers caused by exposure to any ultraviolet radiation. Sunshine. Incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. The shining, idiot face of a television screen.

If I dared to spend just half an hour in summer sun, I would burn severely, though a single searing wouldn't kill me. The true horror of XP, however, is that even minor exposure to ultraviolet radiation shortens my life, because the effect is cumulative. Years of imperceptible injuries accrete until they manifest as visible lesions, malignancies. Six hundred minutes of exposure, spread one by one over an entire year, will have the same ultimate effect as ten continuous hours on a beach in brightest July. The luminosity of a streetlamp is less dangerous to me than the full ferocity of the sun, but it's not entirely safe.

Nothing is.

You, with your properly functioning genes, are able routinely to repair the injury to your skin and eyes that you unknowingly suffer every day. Your body, unlike mine, continuously produces enzymes that strip out the damaged segments of nucleotide strands in your cells, replacing them with undamaged DNA.

I must exist in shadows, while you live under exquisitely blue skies, and yet I don't hate you. I don't resent you for the freedom that you take for granted-although I do envy you.

I don't hate you because, after all, you are human, too, and therefore have limitations of your own. Perhaps you are homely, slow-witted or too smart for your own good, deaf or mute or blind, by nature given to despair or to self-hatred, or perhaps you are unusually fearful of Death himself. We all have burdens. On the other hand, if you are better-looking and smarter than I am, blessed with five sharp senses, even more optimistic than I am, with plenty of self-esteem, and if you also share my refusal to be humbled by the Reaper...well, then I could almost hate you if I didn't know that, like all of us in this imperfect world, you also have a haunted heart and a mind troubled by grief, by loss, by longing.

Rather than rage against XP, I regard it as a blessing. My passage through life is unique.

For one thing, I have a singular familiarity with the night. I know the world between dusk and dawn as no one else can know it, for I am a brother to the owl and the bat and the badger. I am at home in the darkness. This can be a greater advantage than you might think.

Of course, no number of advantages can compensate for the fact that death before the age of consent is not uncommon for those with XP. Survival far into adulthood isn't a reasonable expectation--at least not without progressive neurological disorders such as tremors of the head and hands, hearing loss, slurred speech, even mental impairment.

Thus far I have tweaked Death's cold nose without retribution. I've also been spared all the physical infirmities that my physicians have long predicted.

I am twenty-eight years old.

To say that I am living on borrowed time would be not merely a cliché but also an understatement. My entire life has been a heavily mortgaged enterprise.

But so is yours. Eventual foreclosure awaits all of us. More likely than not, I'll receive my notice before you do, though yours, too, is in the mail.

Nevertheless, until the postman comes, be happy. There is no other rational response but happiness. Despair is a foolish squandering of precious time.

Now, here, on this cool spring night, past the witching hour but with dawn still far away, chasing my sherlock hound, believing in the miracle of Jimmy Wing's survival, I cycled along empty alleys and deserted avenues, through a park where Orson did not pause to sniff a single tree, past the high school, onto lower streets. He led me eventually to the Santa Rosita River, which bisects our town from the heights to the bay.

In this part of California, where annual rainfall averages a mere fourteen inches, rivers and streams are parched most of the year. The recent rainy season had been no wetter than usual, and this riverbed was entirely exposed: a broad expanse of powdery silt, pale and slightly lustrous in the lunar light. It was as smooth as a bedsheet except for scattered knots of dark driftwood like sleeping homeless men whose limbs were twisted by nightmares.

In fact, though it was sixty to seventy feet wide, the Santa Rosita looked less like a real river than like a man-made drainage channel or canal. As part of an elaborate federal project to control the flash floods that could swell suddenly out of the steep hills and narrow canyons at the back door of Moonlight Bay, these riverbanks had been raised and stabilized with wide concrete levees from one end of town to the other.

Orson trotted off the street, across a barren strip of land, to the levee.

Following him, I coasted between two signs, sets of which alternated with each other for the entire length of the watercourse. The first declared that public access to the river was restricted and that anti-trespassing ordinances would be enforced. The second, directed at those lawless citizens who were undeterred by the first sign, warned that high water at a storm's peak could be so powerful and fast-moving that it would overwhelm anyone who dared to venture into it.

In spite of all the warnings, in spite of the obvious turbulence of the treacherous currents and the well-known tragic history of the Santa Rosita, a thrill seeker with a homemade raft or a kayak-or even just a pair of water wings-is swept to his death every few years. In a single winter, not long ago, three drowned.

Human beings can always be relied upon to assert, with vigor, their God-given right to be stupid.

Orson stood on the levee, burly head raised, gazing east toward the Pacific Coast Highway and the serried hills beyond. He was stiff with tension, and a thin whine escaped him.

This night, neither water or anything else moved along the moonlit channel. Not enough of a breeze slipped off the Pacific even to stir a dust ghost from the silt.

Orson trotted to a wide concrete access ramp that descended along the levee wall to the Santa Rosita. In June and July, dump trucks and excavators would use this route when maintenance crews removed a year's worth of accumulated sediment and debris from below, restoring a flood-preventing depth to the dry watercourse before the next rainy season.

I followed the dog down to the riverbed. On the darkly mottled concrete slope, his black form was no more substantial than a shadow. On the faintly luminous silt, however, he appeared to be stone solid even as he drifted eastward like a homeward-bound spirit crossing a waterless Styx.

Because the most recent rainfall had occurred three weeks in the past, the floor of the channel wasn't damp. It was still well compacted, however, and I was able to ride the bicycle without struggle.

At least as far as the pearly moonlight revealed, the bike tires made few discernible marks in the hard-packed silt, but a heavier vehicle had passed this way earlier, leaving clear tracks. Judging by the width and depth of the tread impressions, the tires were those of a van, a light truck, or a sports utility vehicle.

Flanked by twenty-foot-high concrete ramparts, I had no view of any of the town immediately around us. I could see only the faint angular lines of the houses on higher hills, huddled under trees or partially revealed by streetlamps. As we ascended the watercourse, the townscape ahead also fell away from sight beyond the levees, as though the night were a powerful solvent in which all the structures and citizens of Moonlight Bay were dissolving.

At irregular intervals, drainage culverts yawned in the levee walls, some only two or three feet in diameter, a few so large that a truck could have been driven into them. The tire tracks led past all those tributaries and continued up the riverbed, as straight as typed sentences on a sheet of paper, except where they curved around a punctuation of driftwood.

Although Orson's attention remained focused ahead, I regarded the culverts with suspicion. During a cloudburst, torrents gushed out of them, carried from the streets and from the natural drainage swales high in the grassy eastern hills above town. Now, in fair weather, these storm drains were the subterranean lanes of a secret world, in which one might encounter exceptionally strange travelers. I half expected someone to rush at me from one of them.

I admit to having an imagination feverish enough to melt good judgment. Occasionally it has gotten me into trouble, but more than once it has saved my life.

Besides, having roamed all the storm drains large enough to accommodate a man my size, I've encountered a few peculiar tableaux. Oddities and enigmas. Sights to wring fright from even the driest rag of imagination.

Because the sun rises inevitably every day, my night life must be conducted within the town limits, to ensure that I'm always close to the safely darkened rooms of my house when dawn draws near. Considering that our community has a population of twelve thousand and a student population, at Ashdon College, of an additional three thousand, it offers a reasonably large board for a game of life; it can't fairly be called a jerkwater burg. Nevertheless, by the time I was sixteen, I knew every inch of Moonlight Bay better than I knew the territory inside my own head. Consequently, to fend off boredom, I am always seeking new perspectives on the slice of the world to which XP confines me; for a while I was intrigued by the view from below, touring the storm drains as if I were the Phantom prowling the realms beneath the Paris Opera House, though I lacked his cape, cloche hat, scars, and insanity.

Recently, I've preferred to keep to the surface. Like everyone born into this world, I'll take up permanent residence underground soon enough.

Now, after we passed another culvert without being assaulted, Orson suddenly picked up his pace. The trail had gotten hot.

As the riverbed rose toward the east, it gradually grew narrower, until it was only forty feet wide where it passed under Highway 1. This tunnel was more than a hundred feet long, and although faint silvery moonlight glimmered at the farther end, the way ahead was dauntingly dark.

Apparently, Orson's reliable nose didn't detect any danger. He wasn't growling.

On the other hand, he didn't sprint confidently into the gloom, either. He stood at the entrance, his tail still, his ears pricked, alert.

For years I have traveled the night with only a modest amount of cash for the infrequent purchases I make, a small flashlight for those rare instances when darkness might be more of a enemy than a friend, and a compact cell phone clipped to my belt. Recently, I'd added one other item to my standard kit: a 9-millimeter Glock pistol.

Under my jacket, the Glock hung in a supple shoulder holster. I didn't need to touch the gun to know that it was there; the weight of it was like a tumor growing on my ribs. Nevertheless, I slipped one hand under the coat and pressed my fingertips against the grip of the pistol as a superstitious person might touch a talisman.

In addition to the black leather jacket, I was dressed in black Rockports, black socks, black jeans, and a black long-sleeve cotton pullover. The black-on-black is not because I style myself after vampires, priests, ninja assassins, or Hollywood celebrities. In this town, at night, wisdom requires you to be well armed but also to blend with the shadows, calling as little attention to yourself as possible.

Leaving the Glock in the holster, still straddling my bike but with both feet on the ground, I unclipped the small flashlight from the handlebars. My bicycle doesn't have a headlamp. I have lived so many years in the night and in rooms lit mostly by candles that my dark-adapted eyes don't often need assistance.

The beam penetrated perhaps thirty feet into the concrete tunnel, which had straight walls but an arched ceiling. No threat lurked in the first section of that passage.

Orson ventured inside.

Before following the dog, I listened to the traffic roaring south and north on Highway 1, far above. To me, as always, this sound was simultaneously thrilling and melancholy.

I've never driven a car and probably never will. Even if I protected my hands with gloves and my face with a mask, the ceaseless oncoming headlights would pose a danger to my eyes. Besides, I couldn't go any significant distance north or south along the coast and still return home before sunrise.

Relishing the drone of the traffic, I peered up the broad concrete buttress in which the river tunnel was set. At the top of this long incline, headlights flared off the steel guardrails that defined the shoulder of the highway, but I couldn't see the passing vehicles.

What I did see--or thought I saw--from the corner of my eye, was someone crouched up there, to the south of me, a figure not quite as black as the night around him, fitfully backlit by the passing traffic. He was on the buttress cap just this side of the guardrails, barely visible yet with an aura as menacing as a gargoyle at the corner of a cathedral parapet.

When I turned my head for a better look, the lights from a dense cluster of speeding cars and trucks caused shadows to leap like an immense flock of ravens taking flight in a lightning storm. Among those swooping phantoms, an apparently more solid figure raced diagonally downward, moving away from me and from the buttress, south along the grassy embankment.

In but a flicker of time, he was beyond the reach of the strobing headlights, lost in the deeper darkness and also blocked from view by the levee walls that towered twenty feet above me. He might be circling back to the edge of the channel, intending to enter the riverbed above me.

Or he might not be interested in me at all. Though it would be comforting to think that galaxies revolve around me, I am not the center of the universe.

In fact, this mysterious figure might not even exist. I'd gotten such a brief glimpse of it that I couldn't be absolutely certain it was more than an illusion.

Again I reached under my coat and touched the Glock.

Orson had padded so far into the passageway beneath Highway One that he was almost beyond the reach of my flashlight.

After glancing at the channel behind me and seeing no stalker, I followed the dog. Instead of riding my bike, I walked beside it, guiding it with my left hand.

I didn't like having my right hand--my gun hand--occupied with the flashlight. Besides, the light made me easy to follow and easy to target.

Although the riverbed was dry, the walls of the tunnel gave off a not unpleasant damp odor, and the cool air was scented with a trace of lime from the concrete.

From the roadbed high above, the rumble-hum of passing cars and trucks translated all the way down through layers of steel, concrete, and earth, echoing across the vault overhead. Repeatedly, in spite of the screening thrum of the traffic, I thought I heard someone stealthily approaching. Each time I swung toward the sound, the flashlight revealed only the smooth concrete walls and the deserted river behind me.

The tire tracks continued through the tunnel into another open stretch of the Santa Rosita, where I switched off the flashlight, relieved to rely on ambient light. The channel curved to the right, out of sight, leading east-southeast away from Highway 1, rising at a steeper grade than before.

Although houses still stippled the surrounding hills, we were nearing the edge of town.

I knew where we were going. I had known for some time but was disturbed by the prospect. If Orson was on the right trail and if Jimmy Wing's abductor was driving the vehicle that had left these tracks, then the kidnapper had fled with the boy into Fort Wyvern, the abandoned military base that was the source of many of Moonlight Bay's current problems.

Wyvern, which covers 134,456 acres--far more territory than our town-is surrounded by a high chain-link fence supported by steel posts sunk in concrete caissons, topped with helixes of razor wire. This barrier bisected the river, and as I rounded the curve in the channel, I saw a dark-colored Chevrolet Suburban parked in front of it, and at the end of the tracks we had been following.

The truck was about sixty feet away, but I was reasonably sure no one was in it. Nevertheless, I intended to approach it with caution.

Orson's low growl indicated a wariness of his own.

With Orson at my side, I approached the Suburban. No driver or passenger waited inside. The hood was still warm with engine heat; the truck had been parked here only minutes.

Footprints led from the driver's door around to the front door on the passenger's side. From there, they continued toward the nearby fence. They appeared to be similar--if not identical--to the prints in the planting bed under Jimmy Wing's bedroom window.

The silver-coin moon was rolling slowly toward the dark purse of the western horizon, but its glow remained bright enough to allow me to read the license plate on the back of the vehicle. I quickly memorized the number.

I found where a bolt cutter had been used to breach the chain-link fence. Evidently, this was accomplished some time ago, before the most recent rain, because the water-smoothed silt was not heavily disturbed, as it would have been by someone doing all that work.

Several culverts also link Moonlight Bay to Wyvern. Usually, when I explore the former army base, I enter by one of those more discreet passages, where I have used my own bolt cutter.

On this river-spanning fence--as elsewhere along the entire perimeter and throughout the sprawling grounds of Wyvern--a sign with red and black lettering warned that although this facility had been shut down at the recommendation of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, as a consequence of the end of the Cold War, trespassers would nevertheless be prosecuted, fined, and possibly imprisoned under a list of relevant federal statutes so long that it occupied the bottom third of the notice. The tone of the warning was stern, uncompromising, but I wasn't deterred by it. Politicians also promise us peace, perpetual prosperity, meaning, and justice. If their promises are ever fulfilled, perhaps then I'll have more respect for their threats.

Here, at the fence, the kidnapper's tracks were not the only marks in the riverbed. The gloom prevented me from positively identifying the new impressions.

I risked using the flashlight. Hooding it with one hand, I flicked it on for only a second or two, which was long enough for me to figure out what had happened here.

Although the breach in the fence apparently had been made well ahead of time, in preparation for the crime, the kidnapper had not left a gaping hole. He'd created a less obvious pass-through, and tonight he had needed only to pull the loosely hanging flap of chain-link out of his way. To free both hands for this task, he had put down his captive, ensuring against an escape attempt either by paralyzing Jimmy with vicious threats or by tethering the boy.

The second set of tracks was considerably smaller than the first. And shoeless. These were the prints of a child who had been snatched barefoot from his bed.

In my mind's eye, I saw Lilly's anguished face. Her husband, Benjamin Wing, a power-company lineman, had been electrocuted almost three years ago in a work-related accident. He'd been a big, merry-eyed guy, half Cherokee, so full of life that it had seemed as if he would never run short of it, and his death had stunned everyone. As strong as Lilly was, she might be broken if she had to suffer this second and even more terrible loss so soon after the first.

Although she and I had long ago ceased to be lovers, I still loved her as a friend. I prayed that I'd be able to bring her son back to her, smiling and unharmed, and see the anguish vanish from her face.

Orson's whine was filled with worry. He was quivering, eager to give pursuit.

After tucking the small flashlight under my belt once more, I peeled up the flap of fence. A soft twang of protest sang through the steel links.

I promised, "Frankfurters for the brave of heart," and Orson shot through the gap.

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Table of Contents

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Interviews & Essays

On Friday, January 8th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Dean Koontz to discuss SEIZE THE NIGHT and ^%=ucase(title2)%^.


Moderator: Welcome, Dean Koontz! Thank you for taking the time to join us online this evening. How are you doing tonight?

Dean Koontz: I'm alive, and that's as good as it gets.


Hanne Skovby from Denmark: Don't you ever make yourself paranoid by writing these sick -- though absolutely amazing -- books? You're the best -- but you scare me...!

Dean Koontz: My job is to make you paranoid. My own madness is more complex than that.


Cindy Fichthorn from Kittanning, PA: Reading a transcript of an earlier chat, it seems you have quite a sense of humor, which is not always evident in your books. The exception being TICKTOCK, which had me laughing out loud. Will we be seeing more of this side of you in the future?

Dean Koontz: Well, I think FEAR NOTHING, and especially SEIZE THE NIGHT, have quite a lot of humor in them. And most of my arguments with former publishers had to do with the humor in such books as LIGHTNING, THE BAD PLACE, MR. MURDER, and DARK RIVERS OF THE HEART. There is a myth that suspense and humor don't mix. If that were true, I would be working as a plumber instead of a writer.


Karagen from Keizer, Oregon: What is STORM FRONT going to be about? I heard that it was a reprint of an old book of yours. Is this true, and why did the publishers push the release date on it?

Dean Koontz: Against my wishes, the publisher announced the book. It is not even written yet. And I don't know when it will be. But, like TICKTOCK, it isn't a revised old book; it would be a new book of a shorter length, done as a paperback original.


Chris Fraker from Orlando, FL: What type of books do you read?

Dean Koontz: Anything in English.


Amy from Bourbonnais, IL: Hi, Dean. (May I call you that?? :) ) Although my sister and I think that Ralph Fiennes would make a wonderful Stefan if LIGHTNING were to become a movie, we believe that Dolph Lundgren would do a great job, too. We think he has the looks, can do the accent, and can be "tough" -- yet gentle and trustworthy -- without seeming "mean." Does that make sense? Thanks. Take care!

Dean Koontz: First, yes, please call me Dean. It would be odd if you called me Bob. I stay out of casting fantasies for movies, because I know that when it's finally filmed, the male lead will probably have been transformed into a role that can be played by Anne Heche.


Steve from Tacoma: Hello, Mr. Koontz. You are a master at creating the most believable characters. How do you go about fleshing out your characters? (You include so many details about them, so I'm wondering if you develop them from extensive character sketches.) Also, do you develop your stories in outline form before you begin them? Thanks.

Dean Koontz: Story outlines are too limiting for me. I start the book with a premise, and one or two central characters, then start to write with no idea where I'm going. I never use character profiles, but I do spend time thinking about character before starting page one. If the character comes alive, he presents to me details of his life that I would never have come up with by creating an artificial profile.


Kat Chilly from Salisbury, MD: Which authors frighten you?

Dean Koontz: Do you mean their work, their personal appearance, or their general attitude?


Rotenhausen from Gropfurt: How can one subscribe to Useless News other than to write to you consistently?

Dean Koontz: If you are an American, you get on a mailing list by writing once and receive every issue. The cost of sending it overseas is so great that we only send it once each time that an overseas fan writes. However, only insane people really want to know so much about me that they need to see every issue.


Susan K. Cherepon from Oswegatchie, NY: I really admire your books because you have such strong female lead characters. I was wondering if there were any women on whom you have based your characters?

Dean Koontz: Most of the female leads in my books have a considerable basis in my wife, Gerda. There have been other strong women in my life, my mother principle among them. So I do write out of example.


Cindy Fichthorn from Kittanning, PA: How do you determine who to ask for help when writing a story? The resuscitation scene in HIDEAWAY was right on the button (from a paramedic standpoint). It's not something a layman knows. Your writing is so varied -- how do you find the right people to assist? What kinds of research do you do...are you a library kind of guy?

Dean Koontz: I am amazed that I have become such a fussbudget about research. In high school and college, I was a slacker's slacker. Now I absolutely must get every detail right. A high percentage of what I need to know, I can find from books and other research sources, but I also have lots of cards on my Rolodex of readers who have written me, offering their expertise in a lot of exotic subjects. So, of course, I diligently exploit these fans.


Michelle from Oak Island, NC: Did you have an overactive imagination as a child, or did all your story ideas come after you were older?

Dean Koontz: I had an overactive imagination in the womb.


Marcia B. Payton from Carmel, California: What inspired this latest novel? Was there a particular instance of kidnapping that got you thinking about it?

Dean Koontz: The inspiration for SEIZE THE NIGHT is really the same one as for FEAR NOTHING. I was fascinated by two things: XP, the condition with which the lead character is afflicted; and surfing culture. The kidnapping plot and everything else in these books of a suspense nature really just serves my obsessive interest in these two subjects.


Noah from New York: In your afterword to "A Mouse in the Walls of the Global Village," you discuss your now-obscure mainstream novel, HUNG, calling it a variation on the global village theme. If the novel is a take on "Fall of the Dream Machine" without the sci-fi element, why do you have such a desire to prevent this book from ever surfacing again? Despite your own opinions of them, I thoroughly enjoyed all of your early works, even the AP/Cameo/Oval books, and was overjoyed to see the reappearance of an early theme, that of the alternate probabilities, in Seize The Night.

Dean Koontz: Listen, I know when an early piece of mine stinks. And on a couple of the titles you mentioned, the very thought of them requires me to pinch my nose shut.


JWC901@aol.com from NJ: Do you feel mounting pressure with each novel to maintain the expected Dean Koontz excellence?

Dean Koontz: Oh, my, you are sweet! The only pressure I feel is to push the envelope farther each time. That is not because of other people's expectations, but because of my own. If I weren't pushing harder each time, I would get bored. I bore easily. More easily than a three-year-old.


Chris Fraker from Orlando, FL: My mother introduced me to your writing about six years ago after I moved from southern California to Florida. I enjoy your stories because most of them are based in Orange and L.A. counties and you use real places and roads. So when I become homesick, I like to pick up a Dean Koontz book and remember how wacky California is and then come back to reality. Kinda. So thank you for reminding me why I moved from Los Angeles.

Dean Koontz: Thanks, Chris. But please don't tell me that Florida is a paradise of sanity.


Margaret Smith from Choctaw, Oklahoma: Dean, could I have the address so I could receive the mailing of Useless News?

Dean Koontz: The address to write to me is the same one printed in recent books: P.O. Box 9529, Newport Beach, California 92658


Gareth from Adelaide, Australia: Do you already have a working title or even a story line in mind for the last in the Christopher Snow trilogy?

Dean Koontz: The story is coming along nicely, but I'm still choosing between several titles. It won't be called MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO.


Laura Wyatt from Waco, Texas: Who is your favorite female lead out of all your wonderful books?

Dean Koontz: Chyna Shepherd in INTENSITY. Number two, Laura Shane in LIGHTNING.


Arthur from Seattle, WA: Christopher Snow is a fascinating character. What intrigues you most about him? What part of him is the most difficult to write?

Dean Koontz: What intrigues me most is that he has such tremendous limitations because of his XP, but turns his limitations into advantages. Nothing about Chris has been difficult to write. Chris, Sasha, and Bobby have become so real to me that I've been setting three extra places at the dinner table.


Steve Peart from Bakersfield, CA: Do you believe we will ever have the technology to communicate with dogs, à la WATCHERS?

Dean Koontz: I just had a lovely two-hour conversation with my golden retriever. Isn't this technology available where you live?


Chris Fraker from Orlando, FL: A couple of your books have been made into movies. Why do you think that a good book does not necessarily make a good movie?

Dean Koontz: 'Cause Neanderthals run too many of the studios. There is also a problem with complexity of story line and theme in a lot of my books. What translates easiest to the screen are simple stories about haunted houses, gangland murders, or alien destruction of the earth. If I could write simpler stories, they would more easily translate to film, because film is essentially a short story. But I do what I do, and I don't wish to change.


Hanne Skovby from Denmark: I love it when you write hypnosis scenes. Are you into that stuff yourself, or is it all research?

Dean Koontz: It's all research, although when I was a kid, teachers often accused me of being in a trance.


Kevin Poore from Madison, MS: I got my first exposure to your work when I saw the TV movie of INTENSITY. What did you think of their adaptation?

Dean Koontz: I thought it was terrific. I had sufficient control to pick the writer, Stephen Tolkin, who is enormously talented. And as executive producer, I saw that all of my notes throughout the production were addressed. The actors were also superb.


Chris Fraker from Orlando, FL: A lot of your titles are one word -- is there a reason?

Dean Koontz: I used to have a publisher who insisted that all titles be one word after WHISPERS was such a success. I would often put different titles on the book only to see them shortened into one word. That no longer applied. But once in a while, even these days, one word still is best, as with INTENSITY.


Christine Garber from Mount Joy, PA: I read some time ago that ODDKINS was going to be made into an animated film. I think it is a lovely, touching story...although I had to dig through the local library for over an hour to get my hands on a copy. Is this still in the works?

Dean Koontz: For a while, Tim Burton was developing this at Warner Bros. But then, like so many things, it all fell apart.


Tom Allen from Chattanaooga, TN: Mr. Koontz. I haven't read all of your books, but I have a good leg up on them. In TICKTOCK, you use a repeated phrase, such as "tick, tock, tick, tock," and I have noticed in other works, including the one I just read, SEIZE THE NIGHT...you use "tick, tick, tick." Is this a signature phrase, since it appears so often? No adverse comment, just curious.

Dean Koontz: I am completely unaware of my tendency to tick.


Ray and Dolores from Wheeling, IL: Are you planning any tours that will include the Chicago area? My wife and I are big fans. Our favorite is WATCHERS. After that we differ -- I like THE BAD PLACE and she likes PHANTOMS. We read SEIZE THE NIGHT in four days.

Dean Koontz: I hope eventually to get out of California for signings, but that isn't going to happen until we make it safely through the millennium, and I can be sure that I won't find myself on the road during Armageddon.


Temi from New York: Who are your favorite horror writers?

Dean Koontz: I don't like to answer such questions, because I'm sure to inadvertently leave out the name of a friend and wake up in the morning to find all my tires slashed.


Niki from Niki_palek@yahoo.com: I really think your books would carry over well to the big screen. Do you currently have any projects in motion?

Dean Koontz: Currently MR. MURDER is finished as a two-night miniseries for ABC airing in April. It is flat-out terrific. We're working on other miniseries, a one-hour series, and a series of two-hour TV movies, details to be announced later. But no feature film is in the works at this time, largely because I've been made wretchedly ill by most previous feature films. In TV I seem to be able to get more control.


Chris Fraker from Orlando, FL: SANTA'S TWIN is a bit of a departure in style for you, and now a Christmas classic. Are there plans to do any more books similar?

Dean Koontz: Phil Parks and I are working on a very unusual book that would probably be published in the year 2000, unless we're all dead.


Jenny from Chicago, Illinois: I'm actually writing to thank you for all the responses you have written to me and my former students. I wrote to you about five years ago when I was teaching English in Louisiana, and you responded. Following that, dozens of my students wrote to you after reading your books, and they all received responses. For some who considered themselves nonreaders, your books (and your letters) inspired them to read -- some for the first time in their lives. I no longer teach English in Louisiana -- I moved to Chicago. But I still continue to read everything you write. And when I visit Louisiana and see former students, they always tell me which book of yours they have recently read. Thanks.

Dean Koontz: I used to be a teacher myself, so I have a soft spot in my heart for other teachers. I'm glad I could help.


John Gugie from Bethlehem, PA: Do you ever go online and find web sites about you and your books? I belong to a Dean Koontz mailing list, and I recently created a web site about your books with a copy of your Useless Newsletter for everyone to read.

Dean Koontz: I am an obsessive person. Consequently, I do not go online. I know that if I did, my obsession would ultimately lead to having my keyboard jacked directly into my cerebral cortex.


Pam from Chicago: What kind of writing schedule do you hold yourself to? Do you work on one book at a time or several?

Dean Koontz: I sit down at the keyboard at 7:30 in the morning, 8:30 if it's my turn to walk the dog, and I stay there until dinner, without taking lunch. I like long work sessions, because the characters become more real to me when I'm with them for long periods of time. I rarely can work on two novels simultaneously, but I can work on a novel and a screenplay at the same time, because they are such totally different forms.


Sally Garber from Mount Joy, PA: My daughter talked me into reading LIGHTNING. I was very moved by it, until you killed Danny. Why did you have to go and do that? I've never finished the book....

Dean Koontz: LIGHTNING is really three love stories. One is a tragic love story. One is a story of love but with great anguish -- that would be the one between Laura and Stefan. And the third is the love story of two friends, Laura and Thelma. Because the book explores all the variations of loving relationships, I could not conceivably have all three of these turn out happily. But you might like to know that I am tentatively developing this book with a movie producer, and we've come up with a version in which Danny lives.


Cindy Fichthorn from Kittanning, PA: Most people tend to hide a difficult past. You seem to have risen above it. Do you feel you would be where you are today without all the sum parts of your existence? Could you have done it without the strong partner you chose?

Dean Koontz: The dark parts of my childhood are key factors that have motivated me to do what I've done. Though there has been darkness in my childhood and adolescence, I've always been happy. I've always believed that happiness is a choice, and that you can choose to be happy even when bad things are happening to you. But it sure has helped that Gerda came along. The hardest thing in life to deal with is not abuse, not death, not illness, but loneliness.


Moderator: Thank you, Dean Koontz! Best of luck with SEIZE THE NIGHT. Do you have any closing comments for the online audience?

Dean Koontz: I would just warn everybody never to take a vacation in Moonlight Bay.


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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 177 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(98)

4 Star

(47)

3 Star

(15)

2 Star

(11)

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(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 177 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 14, 2011

    Recommended!

    Be sure to read both books in the Christopher Snow series! There was supposed to be a 3rd, but Koontz apparently never got around to writing it! Wish he would!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2011

    Monkey Armaggedon

    Chris Snow just trying to save the world here, monsters, insanity, deadly government project, and evil monkeys, the perfect concotion that takes the easy out of the end of the world. Grab yer glock and lets go save the world everyone.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Outstanding

    One of the most enjoyable books I've read by Dean Koontz, the interaction between characters is quite entertaining.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2000

    VERY DISAPPOINTING !!!!

    I'm sorry but this book was very boring. The story just dragged and dragged. I've also read False Memory, which I thought was one of the best books ever. Seize The Night doesn't come near it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2000

    THE THRILLING SEQUAL TO FEAR NOTHING!

    FOR YEARS NOW I HAVE BEEN A GREAT DEAN KOONTZ FAN. THIS MAY BE WEIRD SINCE I STARTED READING HIS BOOKS IN THE 6TH GRADE. ALL HIS BOOKS CATCTH MY ATTENTION AND MY MOM HAS TO YELL AT ME TO PUT THE BOOK DOWN AND DO HOUSE WORK! IN SEIZE THE NIGHT YOU GET TO SEE WHAT HAS PROGREESED IN THE YOUNG MAN'S LIFE SINCE THE FIRST BOOK .ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS THAT IT IS VERY WELL WRITTEN AND EXCEPTIONALY THRILLING!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2000

    Boring Sleeper

    While I am an avid Dean Koontz fan, and have read all his books to date, I find Seize The Night a boring sequal to Fear Nothing, which was equally boring. It has taken me a week to read 150 pages. I start to fall asleep everytime I read this book. Too much irrelevant detail and so far, nothing has transpired that has even made my heart skip a beat. I hope he doesn't write a third novel in this trilogy. I will, however, finish this book because I finish everything I start....no matter how boring!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2013

    Flameember's story: chapter one.

    Flamekit followed Snowflakekit into the woods, and kept his blind eye closed. Snowflakekit was weaving through, blue eye glowing. "Hurry! We have to stick together." Flamekit sped up. As they approached the tundra, an arctic fox attacked them. Snowflakekit clawed its eyes and ran. The fox blinked and pinned Flamekit. Flamekit squirmed. The fox went to bite him, and got his good eye, ripping it out. "Cat... we'll see what Snowy does with you." Snowy was the alpha female of the wolves and other outcasts. As the fox brought the kit in to her, she growled. "A trespasser? A kit nontheless?" The fox nodded. "He was with another, but I lost it." Snowy looked at him. "Frost, you lost a kit?" Frost looked. "Yes..." Flamekit woke up. "Aww... hes awake. Kill." Frost shook his head. "No."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2013

    Great author

    I love Dean Koontz

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2013

    So far ...GREAT

    I am half way through the book and i am reading it every minute i have available. Where Dean comes up with this stuff, i don't know. but it always has a way of grabbing my attention and keeping it. This book has NOT let me down yet, and i seriously dought it will.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Couldn't Stop Reading

    Christopher Snow is an unforgetable character and Dean Koontz is an amazing storyteller.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    Great great great

    Need I say more?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    Loved it!

    My very first Dean Koontz book. Been reading him ever since!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 13, 2011

    Wonderful!!!

    Love Christopher!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2011

    Highly Recommended this book.

    Will there be of this Christopher Snow Series? Loved the story, the character and would love more. I just couldn't put this book and Fear Nothing down. Read both of them in three days. MORE PLEASE.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 19, 2011

    Thoroughly enjoyable.

    This primary character is wonderfully likeable and the storyline is such a good read, I found myself wishing it could be a TV series. Would love to return to the characters week after week.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 21, 2011

    this book is an adventure

    I read this years ago. It is unforgettable...full of intrigue. i love it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2009

    Seize the Night

    Seize the Night is a great discriptive novel. Its about christopher snow searching for moonlight bay's deepest secrets. along the way he brings two of his best friends and they try to find out why strange things have been happening in their town. its a great book and i highly reccommend.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2005

    Riveting From The Beginning

    From the very start, when Christopher Snow is compelled to search for the lost son of a former lover, to the very last page when he and his friends take a well deserved surfing adventure in the sea, this book held my interest. I loved the relationships between Snow and his closest friends. I loved Snow's sense of humor even in the face of adversary, and thought that the plot line was extremely entertaining. Christopher Snow takes the reader along with him to discover the reason behind several mysterious kidnappings along with the dissappearance of his beloved dog. Along the way, he faces several difficulties including a pack of murderous monkeys, a club wielding assasin, and deranged members of law enforcement. Some of the town's members are slowly 'becoming' something so sinister, so vile, that even they cannot stand themselves and eventually commit suicide. What they are changing into eludes Chris at first, but as he slowly unviels the horror, he also discovers something not so honorable in his own past. This book is full of mystery and suspense. The way Koontz describes scenery, objects, and people is phenomenal. He leaves you yearning for more and turning each page as though you were standing right beside Snow and virtually feeling evil breathing on the back of your neck.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2005

    Least Favorite

    This was my least favorite of all the Dean Koontz books I have read. The ending was horrible. It was also a little confusing if you think about the whole Bobby situation, but he is still a good author even though I didnt like this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2004

    Loved both books, still waiting for the third.

    I have been a fan for a number of years. Loved all of Koontz books. Amazing story line, page turner, couldn't put it down. Finished it in one sitting. Recommended it to all my friends.

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