inspirethoughts

Book Critique – Seize The Night (Moonlight Bay #2)

For review of all books in this series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

My Recommendation: A mix of sci-fi and paranormal mystery with a touch of dystopian quality on the edges, the book does keep you hooked.

Seize The Night is the second book in the proposed Moonlight Bay Trilogy by Dean Koontz, first published in November of 1998. The stories revolve around the mysterious happenings in the town of Moonlight Bay investigated by the main protagonist Christopher Snow.

Christopher "Chris" Snow suffers from a very rare inherited genetic disorder - Xeroderma pigmentosum "XP" - that would make it very difficult for him to live in any kind of light other than soft candle lights. His life essentially is restricted to nights and thus inadvertently gets the front seat in any kind of mysterious happenings in the town of Moonlight Bay; eventually leading to be investigated by him. For the law enforcement in Moonlight Bay is as crooked and corrupted as any other gang organization. It all hinges on Snow's shoulders to find the truth.

Jimmy Wing, a five-year old boy, is taken from his home one night. Chris Snow happens to be on the scene of crime after the fact. With his dog Orson's help he sets out on finding what happened to Jimmy. In the process he uncovers more secrets of Fort Wyvern, closed military base near Moonlight Bay; and also finds answers to some very personal questions - some shocking; some heartbreaking; and some very unexpected curves.

I remember reading a Dean Koontz novel some ten years ago. The title of a book that I fail to remember but I know it gave me so many chills that I didn’t pick another Koontz book again. However in a social distancing outdoor book sale at our local library I found this book and somehow was drawn to it. Hence my read and thus my review.

For more than two decades, Dean Koontz has put this trilogy on a hiatus, with his third book, Ride the Storm, still "in progress" mode. When Koontz left his previous publisher Knopf over a contract dispute, he took this third book also with him. But looks like it never was finished and never published as well. Wonder if Koontz will ever bring this back to surface.

Interestingly enough the book opens with a foreword by the protagonist, Christopher Snow, which almost gives it a feeling that perhaps this book would have been the last or close to a finale. So perhaps that is why Koontz never picked this unfinished trilogy again.

The plot is divided into two parts, each with a title that would let readers know what they should be expecting the author to showcase in that part - Part One The Lost Boys; Part Two Neverland. Koontz infuses the plot with a lot of black humor; sarcasm to replace fear in the characters in a given situation

He takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride starting with a kidnapping situation taking them to exploring the dark caverns of the military base to government conspiracy and unsanctioned experiments to paranormal elements to futuristic machines and medicines; and to time traveling.

It might be a coincidence, but this is the fourth book I have read this year that focuses on some kind of contagion or virus that spreads or will spread among all living beings causing death, genetic change and more. The other three books were Eric Van Lustbader's 2004 The Bourne Legacy, the fourth book in the Jason Bourne series; Nalini Singh's 2019 Archangel's War, the 12th book in the Guild Hunter series; and Christine Feehan's 2020 Dark Song, the 34th book in the Dark Series. Should I be worried about the next book I pick up? I wonder. 

Koontz left a lot of questions unanswered; plots unexplained; and quite a few sub-plots that could potentially become bigger plots. I wonder if he will ever pick this up again. A mix of sci-fi and paranormal mystery with a touch of dystopian quality on the edges, the book does keep you hooked.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Media, Books & Cooking references:

i. Books - Kenneth Grahame's 1908 children's novel The Wind in the Willows; Wallace Steven's 1917 poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird; 1900 book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and characters from the stories; references to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll; lines from To Flush, My Dog poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning; Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 1798 poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner; Edgar Allan Poe's 1842 short story The Masque of the Red Death; lines from Burnt Norton, the first of the Four Quartets by T. S. Elliot in the 1930s; A. A. Milne's 1926 Winnie The Pooh; 1870 Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea;

ii. Movies - 1941 Citizen Kane; Indiana Jones movies references; 1955 Rebel Without a Cause; 1960 Psycho; Boris Karloff as Imhotep in 1932 The Mummy; 1965 That Darn Cat!; 

iii. Music - 1960 Elvis Presley's A Mess of Blues; Frank Sinatra's 1965 It Was a Very Good Year; 1961 Patsy Cline's I Fall to Pieces; 1994 Elton John's Can You Feel The Love Tonight; 

iv. Other references - Curious George; HBO TV Series Tales from the Crypt; 

b. The conversation between Sasha and Chris that takes place with regards to the Steven's poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird intrigued me a lot. Particularly about the fact that he doesn’t use the word "wing" at all when in fact he talks about blackbirds all over the poems. 

c. The concept of transferring genetic material from one species to another reminded me of the various experiments that Christine Feehan highlights in her GhostWalker series conducted by the evil Dr. Peter Whitney on several men and women in the hopes of creating super soldiers. My review of all her books so far written in that series can be found here.

d. If the entire Wyvern facility is dismantled and the place is made to look like before Wyvern ever occurred by changing the past, how come the virus strain still existed; the copied confession of one of the characters remains; how come the memories of Wyvern remain; and why didn’t Snow's mother remain alive since there was no Wyvern anymore. So many questions that seemed confusing and chaotic for a reader, left unanswered.

e. After Wyvern is removed from the past, Snow's cap with the title "Mystery Train" changes to "Tornado Alley". The primary antagonist Dr. Randolph Josephson still remains alive at a different location.

f. A U.S. Naval ship docked at the bay that has suspicious vibes all around it. 

2. Sub-Plots: 

a. Christopher Snow's friends & family: his dog Orson, also a product of experiments by his Mother; Wisteria Jane Snow, his mother worked at Fort Wyvern, an abandoned military base near Moonlight Bay, as a scientist before she died, likely killed by whoever ran Fort Wyvern before its shutdown two years ago; Father, died a month ago of cancer, likely not naturally caused; Bobby Halloway, a surfer friend, his parents also own the Moonlight Bay Gazette, local newspaper; Sasha Goodall, girlfriend who works at local radio station; Pia Klick, Bobby's girlfriend; 

b. People residing in Moonlight Bay: Doogie Sassman, radio engineer at the local radio station; Manuel Ramirez, current Chief of Police & his son Toby; Roosevelt Frost, Mungojerrie, a cat; Charlie Dia, senior reporter & associate editor of Moonlight Bay Gazette, his wife Nora, a retired colonel; Del & Judy Stuart, their twins Aaron & Anson; Mary & Frank Dulcinea, their daughter Wendy; Deputy Frank Feeney; Deputy Harry; Lily "Badger" Wing, her son Jimmy, mother-in-law Jenna & father-in-law Louis;

c. Sasha has a secret shared past with her friend Doogie.

d. Fort Wyvern had been evacuated and permanently closed nineteen months prior to when this plot was set. It was a seat of several experiments, both legal and illegal: animals and birds behaving with higher brain and functionality like humans; transferring genetic material from one species into another; some creatures enclosed in large cocoons hanging from roofs of some of the abandoned houses; a potential time machine.

e. People in Moonlight Bay are "changing", courtesy of designer strain of a retrovirus that got out of the labs in Fort Wyvern.

3. Grammatical / Character / Plot / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:

a. On Pg. 114, the character Manuel Ramirez was introduced as "the current chief of police". While on Pg. 211, he is mentioned as "acting chief of police".

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