By the Light of the Moon by Dean Koontz
Mass market paperback, 460 pages
Bantam Books, 2002
Synopsis from cover:
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.
I really enjoyed this Koontz novel. I haven't read him for several years and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed him. The writing is descriptive, and quite humorous at times. I must say I also enjoyed his vocabulary. Any author who can write the following sentence has me hooked: "He smiled at Mrs. Claus and thanked her, lest otherwise he ensure an anthracite Christmas." (see quotes below) I also appreciated the characterization of Shep (Shepherd), Dylan's autistic brother, and how deftly Koontz handled his dialogue and mannerisms. There was plenty of suspense. This is not a horror novel - it is more suspense with a bit of science fiction thrown into the mix. It was interesting to see what the injection does to the characters and how that evolved. I was surprised at the abruptness of the ending, but it still was a satisfactory conclusion.
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. opening
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. pg 3-4
In the parking lot, in the Coupe DeVille, as Jilly ate a chicken sandwich and French fries, she and Fred listened to her favorite radio talk show, which focused on such things as UFO sightings, evil extraterrestrials eager to breed with human women, Big Foot (plus his recently sighted offspring, Little Big Foot), and time travelers from the far future who had built the pyramids for unknown malevolent purposes. This evening, the smoky-voiced host - Parish Lantern - and his callers were exploring the dire threat posed by brain leeches purported to be traveling to our world from an alternate reality. pg. 11
He didn't like movies in which evisceration and decapitation were the primary themes; if nothing else, they were certainly popcorn spoilers. pg. 15
"They'll be here in half an hour, maybe less," Doc warned. "I'm going to make a run for it, but there's no point kidding myself. The bastards will probably get me. And when they find even just one empty syringe, they'll seal off this town and test everybody in it, one by one, till they learn who's carrying the stuff. Which is you. You're the carrier." pg. 25
So you're driving to an arts festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where in previous years you've sold enough paintings to pay expenses and to bank a profit, and you stop for the night at a clean and respectable motel, subsequent to which you purchase a bagged dinner of such high caloric content that it will knock you into sleep as effectively as an overdose of Nembutal, because all you want is to spend a quiet evening putting your brain cells at risk watching the usual idiotic TV programs in the company of your puzzle-working brother, and then spend a restful night disturbed by as little cheeseburger-induced flatulence as possible, but the modern world has fallen apart to such an extent that you wind up taped to a chair, gagged, injected with God knows what hideous disease,targeted by unknown assassins.... And yet your friends wonder why you're becoming a young curmudgeon. pg. 26-27
She had practiced bulimia for two miserable days, when she was thirteen, before deciding that daily volitional vomiting was worse than living two thirds of your life in stretchable ski pants, with a quiet fear of narrow doorways. Now she pinned all her hopes on dry toast for breakfast and wizardly advances in plastic surgery. pg. 33
Nevertheless, although she understood the danger when she'd been in the motel room shy of two seconds, she couldn't react fast enough to save herself from the salesman. He came from behind her, locking one arm around her neck, pressing a rag over her face. pg. 36