By the Light of the Moon

By the Light of the Moon

by Dean Koontz

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On the road, on a hot Arizona night, Dylan O’Conner is overpowered by a stranger who injects him with an unknown substance. All he’s told is that he’s the “carrier,” not of a disease but of something wondrous that will transform his life in remarkable ways—if it doesn’t kill him in the next twenty-four hours. Now Dylan, his autistic brother, Shep, and another “carrier,” a young woman, are swept into a desperate search for the shattering truth of what they are and what they might become. But first they must elude those sent to destroy them. Their only chance to survive is to discover the meaning of the messages that Shep, with precious time running out, begins to repeat, about a man who does his work by the light of the moon.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553593273
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/29/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 152,135
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.50(d)

About 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.


Newport Beach, California

Date of Birth:

July 9, 1945

Place of Birth:

Everett, Pennsylvania


B.S. (major in English), Shippensburg University, 1966

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By the Light of the Moon 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 149 reviews.
Calebsmumma More than 1 year ago
This book took me forever to get through, I think it has something to do with all the detail in it. I like how the story starts with action off the bat but it tends to get kind of boring and long in the middle. Ending was not what i expected. Not one of Dean's best.
DeanKoontz-Fan More than 1 year ago
This is the Dean Koontz I like! Story is, of course, slightly "out there" with weird stuff being injected to people and them obtaining superhuman powers, but at least it follows a flow of happenings, no jumping around from character to character, here, there and back again (Like 77 Shadow Street)! It follows a young man, his autistic brother and a young woman injected by a weird man with something that will make each of them unique and powerful in wonderful ways, not typical scary Dean Koontz ways! It is a little over-involved I think in dealing with Shepherd, the autistic brother, a few less pages could be devoted to these parts of the story and Shepherd would still be a well-told character. But now I hope there is a sequel to see what goes on in the life of these 3 plus 1.
SDOgre More than 1 year ago
I have the hard copy and an ereader version now. I enjoy the book. Read it over and over every couple of months.
Book_Reader_222 More than 1 year ago
(Originally written September 6, 2005) Back when I read books on a regular basis, I was a huge Dean R. Koontz fan. Now that I've returned, I see that Mr. Koontz has dropped the "R," improved his already impressive writing style, and kept the same basic characters types that he's always used. Again, I do consider myself a Koontz fan. When I decided to get back into reading, I made sure to include a couple of Koontz books in my splurge. "By the Light of the Moon" starts fast and maintains that same pace from start to finish. The fictional science behind the plot is just realistic enough for suspension of disbelief, and the side-effects of the villain's wicked "stuff" are clever and become increasingly inventive as the story moves along. Koontz starts off with your standard, generic, run of the mill "psychic" powers, but then he gets more creative. The only drawback about this book, and many other Koontz books I've read: The characters. This is NOT to say that they are "two dimensional" or "unbelievable." Taken on their own, they are fine. If this were the ONLY Koontz book you ever read, you would have no idea that this is his short coming, and for those single time readers, I would say this book is actually 5 stars. BUT, for those of you who have read Koontz before or intend to read him again, you will find that he has once again brought us the same characters: The withdrawn man with a sad background; the hardened, withdrawn woman with a terrible background; and the third party (in this case, a brother), usually related to the man, who is deficient or handicapped in some way (in this case, autistic). And, against all odds, this lonely man and lonely, disgruntled woman somehow manage to find their mutual lights at the end of the tunnel ... you see where I'm going. In some ways, Koontz would have been better off just making all of these books ABOUT the same characters, and turning them into a series of sequels. Character wise, that's what we end up with, anyway. But again, setting that aside, I really enjoyed this novel. I don't want to give anything away, but this books ends on a PERFECT note to set it up for a sequel. I don't think Koontz does them, but I wish he would in this case. I would LOVE to read it, and after all, in a sequel, the characters are EXPECTED to be the same.
krobs More than 1 year ago
I actually listened to this one on tape. The characters come to life a bit more when the book is being listened too. I got annoyed with one of hte characters, but that just shows how well he was written. LOVED this, it was adventurous, touching and shocking all in one. Definately a Koontz novel!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am surprised at the number of good reviews on this book. I began skimming at about page 300 and then eventually had to give up. The story was slow the character development was overdone and should never, at such an exascerbating extreme, be a replacement for decent story development.
readingrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My first Koontz book. I enjoyed the characters and the fast pacing. A little disappointed by the ending though.
LouCypher on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dylan, Jilly, and Shepard are attacked and injected with some "stuff". What is this injection going to do and who are the people trying to kill them now? Once again a well written and fast paced novel by Dean Koontz. I liked the characters and overall pace and plot. But the story never seemed to get to that "point" of great book, just kinda maintained at good through the whole story.
AnnThatcher on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Powerful title and typical tripped-out Koontz material. First paragraph, and you find out that this guy named Dylan gets mugged brought together by chance and circumstance and injected with an evil substance of God knows what by a mad scientist type of man. Research has to be done to find out what they've been injected with -- also what's at store in their future. Only to learn that they have developed some type of supernatural-like abilities which will come in handy later on. However, Dean Koontz is a master of suspense and story-telling... feeling been far better if the author had cut out fluff-- and stuck to the compelling story. The end was a disappointment.
Todd_Russell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
By The Light of The Moon starts strong. The first 100 pages are Koontz firing on all cylinders. We¿ve got this creepy genius doctor injecting Dylan O¿Conner with a strange substance that he calls ¿stuff.¿ Koontz does a great job reminding us readers that this stuff could be killing Dylan or it could be doing amazing things. Dylan¿s 20 year old autistic brother Shepard is a faithful, sympathetic sidekick. Shep¿s heartbreaking condition makes him talk like a thesaurus rambling different definitions of words and constantly repeating phrases, particularly to do with the title of the novel. The relationship between Shep and his brother is strong, poignant and pokes readers square in the chest. A few times Koontz had me hoping by the end of the book maybe, just maybe, there might be some miraculous cure for Shep¿s condition. I wanted a cure for Shep¿s autism. Bad. And then there is the traveling comedian, Jilly. She¿s tough and doesn¿t get along with Dylan at first. Jilly was also kidnapped by the creepy genius doctor for long enough to inject with the same mysterious stuff. Dylan, Jilly and Shep are on the run from bad people who want to kill them because of what they might do on the stuff. Don¿t get on me for all the italics, I¿m borrowing from Koontz. If/once you read the book you¿ll be stuck doing that every time you type the word too. So that¿s the first 100 pages of By The Light of the Moon and it¿s good. The setup sucked me in. I was hooked, compelled to see what this trio would do and where they would go on their adventure. Enough to work through the next 200 pages which, unfortunately, don¿t have the equal swift pacing and energy of the beginning. Sure, there¿s a ton of character expansion and conflict between the trio and readers aren¿t sure whether or not to like Jilly. And let¿s not forget poor Shep. What about Shep? I asked myself one too many times in the middle of the story what if Shep wasn¿t in By The Light of The Moon? Yes, he has these cryptic repeating messages which add the eerie factor but was he necessary to the overall story? What if Koontz had left Shep on the cutting room floor of his first draft editing? Would that much of the story have been lost or changed? I won¿t spoil the ending but will admit that Koontz proves why he¿s a master storyteller in the final 100 pages. He puts the car back in gear and goes full throttle and by the ending readers are left wanting a sequel. You can see on the Koontz website readers have been asking him as repeatedly as Shep would ask: will there be a sequel? This is how the great authors like Koontz roll. I¿ve been reading Dean Koontz for over 20 years and I¿ve seen him change as a writer. His strongest horror writing was in the eighties (The Watchers, Phantoms, Whispers, Strangers era), when he first made it big on the scene. Back then Koontz was tenacious, hungry, willing-to-chew-up-the-reader writer smashing his keyboard like guitarist at the end of the concert. That was Dean R. Koontz, remember him? It isn¿t quite the same author of Dean Koontz books today. Maybe the `R¿ that was dropped stood for `R¿aw? Koontz was never as unhinged as some of the other popular horror writers (Barker, McCammon, King) but his stories were scarier than they are today. To summarize: By The Light of The Moon. would have been a better read for me at about half the words. Maybe the sequel that I¿m sure Koontz will write someday and sell a ton of copies (and yes, I¿ll probably buy one too), will be a better replacement for the middle section of this book.
DavidLErickson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
With the exception of 'One Door Away From Heaven' this Koontz novel is the best he's created. I was taken by the uniqueness of not only the plot, but the characters and incredible scenes. Wouldn't we all love the ability to move through time and space, making the kind of incredible decisions that would try even the stoutest soul.The final confrontation with the bad guy, utterly ruthless and yet with a compelling gift, was a totally unexpected thrill, despite the fact that we all know it had to happen.If I could give more than 5 stars, I would.
ggannell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. A great mix of suspense, action and humor.
jlouise77 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As always, I loved Dean Koontz's story, but his writing in this book was very different than most of the ones Ive read by him. There was WAY too much discription and I could almost read the whole book by skimming for the 1 sentence in each paragraph that was important to the story. Some descrition is good, but taking a whole paragraph to describe a tree and the majority of the words being 7 letters or more is a bit overboard. Especially when the next paragraph is more of the same describing the sky over the tree and so on and so forth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I greatly enjoyed reading "By the Light of the Moon." Great read.. Another plus for Koontz fans like me !
amacmillen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
illy, Dylan, and Shep have been injected with nonorobots by a Dr. Powell. They have developed exta powers and can not see into the future and visit the past. Shep is autistic and is the first to be able to "fold himself and others to other locations and into the past. Mr. Lantern in the end has been given powers, too. This leads them to be freek like and in the end they agree to use there powers for the good of mankind.
ct.bergeron on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On the road, on a hot Arizona night, Dylan O'Connor is overpowered by a stranger who injects him with an unknow substance. All he's told is that he's the «carrier» not of a disease but of something wondrous that will transform his life in remarkabler ways - if it doesn't kill him in the next 24 hours. Now Dylan, his autistic brother, Shep, and another «carrier» a young woman, are swept into a desperate search for the shattering truth of what they are and what they might become. But first, they must elude those sent to destroy them. their only chance to survive is to discover the meaning of the message that Shep, with precious time running out, begins to repeat about a man who does his work... by the light of the moon.
KevinJoseph on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the hands of a lesser author, this novel's unlikely heroes (Rainmanesque brothers with DC Comics-style abilities earned through childhood tragedy) might come across as silly. But in the hands of the metaphor-spinning Dean Koontz, arguably the most talented suspense writer working today, these unlikely elements congeal into a wondrous thriller that explores the ageless themes Koontz is so fond of: good and evil, the natural and the supernatural, the deep scars of a fractured family life, and the wonders and perils posed by futuristic technology (in this case nanotech). While this book would warrant five stars from any other author, I gave it four because the first half of the novel lacked some of the pulse-racing plot points of his best books (like "Odd Thomas") and because the senseless act of violence that his heroes must thwart lacked a real connection to the rest of the story. Even an A-minus effort from Koontz is a worthwhile read, however, and we can only hope that this author continues his work by the light of the moon, spinning his brilliant tales.-Kevin Joseph, author of "The Champion Maker"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yet another riveting story told by a master! I have been a big fan for years, and look forward to each new story with great anticipation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed looking for sequel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a mom of an autistic ..... loved it and a must read thank you for writing this one!
Buttnuggets More than 1 year ago
This was the first Dean Koontz book that I have read. I really enjoyed this book. and compared to some of the other books, By the Light of the Moon remains one of my favorites by him. Highly recommend reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By the Light of the Moon by Dean Koontz Koontz traps the reader within the lives of a uniquely related trio in a search for supernatural identity. Dylan O’Conner is an average man, living an average life, save the foreign substance coursing through his veins. On a work-related journey towards New Mexico, Dylan and his notably autistic brother Shep find themselves taken hostage in an Arizona hotel room by an eerie “Dr. Frankenstein.” Both injected with a mysterious yellow fluid and left only with a vague knowledge of what is contained within them, they flee the scene in search for answers. Along with the help of a certain Jillian Jackson, another victim of the Doctor’s game of life and death, they will discover the truth behind their past, their future, and their mutual connection as they delve into the realities of “playing God.” A haunting literary prize that explores the nature of humankind, beginning with the characters, and evolving towards the readers. Genre: Fiction/Mystery Age Recommendation: 15 & up Pub Date: December, 2002 Page Count: 460 Review Date: June 2, 2013 Reviewer: Turner
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