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Seize the Night

Seize the Night

4.2 179
by Dean Koontz

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There are no rules in the dark, no place to feel safe, no escape from the shadows. But to save the day, you must...Seize the Night.

At no time does Moonlight Bay look more beautiful than at night. Yet it is precisely then that the secluded little town reveals its menace. Now children are disappearing. From their homes. From the streets. And there's


There are no rules in the dark, no place to feel safe, no escape from the shadows. But to save the day, you must...Seize the Night.

At no time does Moonlight Bay look more beautiful than at night. Yet it is precisely then that the secluded little town reveals its menace. Now children are disappearing. From their homes. From the streets. And there's nothing their families can do about it. Because in Moonlight Bay, the police work their hardest to conceal crimes and silence victims. No matter what happens in the night, their job is to ensure that nothing disturbs the peace and quiet of Moonlight Bay....

Christopher Snow isn't afraid of the dark. Forced to live in the shadows because of a rare genetic disorder, he knows the night world better than anyone. He believes the lost children are still alive and that their disappearance is connected to the town's most carefully kept, most ominous secret—a secret only he can uncover, a secret that will force him to confront an adversary at one with the most dangerous darkness of all. The darkness inside the human heart.

Editorial Reviews

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
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.
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.
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.
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

Product Details

Bantam Books
Publication date:
Christopher Snow Series , #1

Read an Excerpt

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, thetrunks 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 pine 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 the 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 air 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.


"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?"

From the Audio Cassette (Unabridged) edition.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"His masterwork."—Publishers Weekly

"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."—New York Post

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, Elsa, and the enduring spirit of their goldens, Trixie and Anna.

Brief Biography

Newport Beach, California
Date of Birth:
July 9, 1945
Place of Birth:
Everett, Pennsylvania
B.S. (major in English), Shippensburg University, 1966

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Seize the Night 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 177 reviews.
DeanKoontz-Fan More than 1 year ago
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!
binks More than 1 year ago
One of the most enjoyable books I've read by Dean Koontz, the interaction between characters is quite entertaining.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
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Christopher Snow is an unforgetable character and Dean Koontz is an amazing storyteller.
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Need I say more?
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My very first Dean Koontz book. Been reading him ever since!
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Maggie02SK More than 1 year ago
Love Christopher!
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