“By the Light of the Moon” by Dean Koontz (Bantam, 2003)

By the Light of the Moon

It’s quite interesting to discover that with the publication of each of Dean Koontz’s books, there is a formula at work: each year the stories improve, while the writing suffers.  By the Light of the Moon is no exception, with a writing style that often annoys, with its stupidly open manner and constantly inane similes that force the reader to question why bother?  The trick is to stick with it to the end, and By the Light of the Moon eventually pays off.

The story is an average one that seems to be all the rage at the moment: three characters (one an autistic man of twenty) are injected with an unknown golden liquid by a mad scientist subdues them, ties them up, and then sticks in the big needle.  There is the warning from the doctor that the effects of this liquid can be both good and bad, and then he flees.

So the three characters are irrevocably brought together to fight for their survival.  Fortunately, it turns out that the mysterious liquid does good for all of them: one gains the ability, by touching objects, to know who last touched it and if they are evil, and is unable to stop himself from ending that evil.  Another has visions of the future that actually will happen somewhere at some time.  While the autistic man has the great ability to be able to fold time and space, transporting him and anyone else to anywhere and at any time, whether it be the past, present, or future, presumably.

One would think this a great story, but the simplistic and annoying writing keeps getting in the way, as well as the plot that has very little depth.  But ultimately, By the Light of the Moon is worth working through for the amusing ending.

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Originally published on May 12th, 2003.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.