Midnight – Dean Koontz

I think Midnight is the second Dean Koontz novel I ever read, after Watchers. I’m pretty sure that the copy I read was my dad’s or possibly my stepmom’s; I’m also pretty sure that it’s that same copy that’s now in my possession. Whoops. Yeah, I steal books. Don’t lend me books because you’ll have a tough time getting them back if I like them enough. But anyway.

Midnight tells the story of Moonlight Cove, a small coastal town in California. Sam Booker, an undercover FBI agent, is stationed there to learn the truth about the mysterious deaths—and subsequent cover-ups—that have been taking place in Moonlight Cove. At the same time, Tessa Lockland arrives in Moonlight Cove to personally investigate the supposed “suicide” of her sister, Janice Capshaw.

What they discover is stranger and more terrifying than either of them could have imagined: the town is connected by an elaborate computer network (remember, this was published in 1989, a few years before the internet really became a commonly accessible thing) stemming from New Wave, a computer company based in Moonlight Cove. New Wave is owned by the local evil genius, Thomas Shaddack, who has created a way to convert the townspeople into “higher” beings—that is, he gives them the ability to willingly evolve. But these newfound abilities come at a steep price: the ability to feel love, joy, tenderness, or any emotion other than fear.

Like many of Koontz’s books, this novel takes place over the period of only about a day, which makes for fast-paced, page-turning action. This one in particular relies pretty heavily on suspense and the “I can’t see what’s pursuing me therefore it’s terrifying” factor. What was really interesting to me, though, was the fact that the converted people could choose to evolve, but they could also choose to devolve. These “regressives” are the perpetrators behind the series of gruesome murders that have been happening all over the town, but they are almost impossible to stop due to their incredible strength and their ability to heal almost instantly.

I’ve always enjoyed this book. The characters always seemed slightly more unrealistic than most fictional characters (Chrissie, the 11-year-old girl in this book, is supposedly “mature” for her age but I don’t think any 11-year-olds are that mature), but not so much so that suspension of disbelief was completely impossible. There was a dog, of course, but he wasn’t magical or superhumanly intelligent—just regular doggie intelligent (since he was a guide dog/helper dog for a crippled veteran).

If you like Dean Koontz, it’s probably a safe bet that you’ll like this one.

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