The Key to Midnight by Dean Koontz


The Key to Midnight, Dean Koontz, 1979

Favorite quote: “The room was rapidly shrinking to the size of a coffin, and she foresaw the conditions of the grave so clearly that she could actually feel the cold, damp embrace of eternity.”

Characters: Joanna Rand, the woman without a past; Alex Hunter, the love interest; Oni Inamura, the doctor; Mariko, Joanna’s friend

Most memorable scene: When Joanna woke from a nightmare at six in the morning and Alex came in and started making out with her before she even had a chance to rinse with Listerine. 

Strengths: The climax

Standout achievements: The absence of Koontz’s trademark super-smart golden retriever and unrealistically precocious child (I call it an achievement because, come to find out, his books are better without them)

Fun Facts: Key to Midnight is the first novel written under the Leigh Nichols pseudonym

Other media: N/A

What it taught me: While I’m a believer in following the rules of English, there’s such a thing as trying too hard — and there’s a lot of that in this one. Should you choose to give this book a gander, brace yourselves for such clunkery as “Joanna sat at the small rosewood desk on which stood the telephone.” Is it correct? Yes. Is it how people talk? No, and that’s why I’m listing this as one of the books that taught me the importance and power of conversational tones over semantic technicality. The goal, after all, is to reach the reader, not impress the scholars

How it inspired me:  Aside from his tendency to get a bit too linguistically punctilious at times (see what I did there?) few writers understand the beauty of the language like Koontz. His ability to make anything pretty inspires me to dig deeper, to seek better, stronger ways of wording things — and every time I finish one of his books, I come away a little more informed  

Additional thoughts: From her failed suicide attempt to her chronic state of angst, the character of Joanna is a drama queen of the highest kind. I get that she was brainwashed amid some government conspiracy and all, but holy eff, ya’ll. She kind of ruined the book for me

Rating: 3.5 of 5 

Haunt me: alistaircross.com

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: http://alistaircross.com ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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