Midnight (Koontz novel)
|Cover artist||Don Brautigam|
|Publisher||G. P. Putnam's Sons|
Midnight is a novel by American writer Dean Koontz. It was published in 1989. The book is a cross-genre novel. It includes aspects of suspense, science fiction, love story, and horror.
As with many Koontz books, Midnight is divided into parts. Part One: Along the Night Coast, contains chapters one through fifty-seven. Part Two: Daybreak in Hades, contains thirty-seven chapters, but is similar to Part One in that it begins with its own 'Chapter One'. Part Three: The Night Belongs To Them, follows suit, begins with its own Chapter One, and has forty-one chapters.
Midnight includes a mixture of two classic plots- the great 50's film Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the classic H.G. Wells tale, The Island of Dr. Moreau. And, indeed, Koontz cleverly mentions both of these later in the novel.
The book opens with four separate stories that quickly weave themselves together and become different viewpoints of one overarching plot. First: Janice Capshaw, a nighttime jogger, is pursued and then killed by a pack of mysterious and nightmarish beasts while she is jogging along the beaches of a coastal town named Moonlight Cove. Second: Twenty-two days later, Sam Booker, an undercover FBI agent, arrives in Moonlight Cove to investigate the suspicious deaths of Janice Capshaw and eleven other people. Third: Chrissie Foster, an eleven-year-old girl, witnesses her parents in a physically altered state- part human and part beast- and then must flee for her life, narrowly escaping death at the hands of her 'beast parents'. And fourth: Tessa Jane Lockland, sister of Janice Capshaw, arrives in Moonlight Cove to uncover the secret of her sister's unexplained death.
The search for the truth begins. Sam is searching for an all encompassing explanation for everything strange and deadly that is taking place in Moonlight Cove. Tessa is searching for the reason behind the cover up of her sister's death. And Chrissie is searching for someone, anyone, who can save her from her parents and any other creature that might be trying to kill her.
At the very beginning, Sam, Tessa, and Chrissie are all hunted- albeit separately- by the mysterious beasts and each survives their encounter. Chrissie believes the creatures are aliens invading the earth and taking over the bodies of humans. Sam has no idea what they are, but discovers that Thomas Shaddack, a brilliant computer scientist, is converting the citizens of Moonlight Cove into something unexplained. He also learns that the local police are involved in a massive cover-up of the strange and deadly events that are happening in Moonlight Cove.
Early on in the story, Sam and Tessa meet and realize that in order to survive they must work together. However, they find it nearly impossible to discover what is going on, because they are being pursued non-stop by both the police and the beast-humans. Because of a letter sent to the FBI by a resident of Moonlight Cove- Harry Talbot- offering information about the deadly events in town, Sam knows that he must find Talbot. Harry is a Vietnam vet, who was terribly injured during the war, and now uses a wheelchair. He has not yet been converted into one of the beasts. Because he spends most of his time watching the people of Moonlight Cove- through his telescopes- Harry has learned what is going on in town and also learns that Thomas Shaddack and the local police are behind it all.
Regardless of numerous attempts to kill them, Sam and Tessa learn the full story behind the secret of Moonlight Cove. Thomas Shaddack had created a means whereby a person can be converted into a super-human no longer susceptible to illness, injury, fatigue, or emotion. But the conversion has an unforeseen side-effect. From their super-human form, many of the people begin to regress into the deadly human-beasts that are prowling around the town. These creatures exist for no other reason than to kill others and to stay alive, themselves.
In the end, Shaddack descends into complete madness, his plan goes terribly wrong, most of the townspeople revert into super-creatures, and death fills the streets and homes of Moonlight Cove. The town has literally become a place of 'kill or be killed'. Seeing that nothing can stop the town's descent into chaos, the Chief of Police, Loman Watkins, vows to kill Shaddack, which will automatically and simultaneously kill every converted person in the community. As part of each 'conversion' Shaddack has placed a microchip inside each person that will kill them should Shaddack's heart stop (i.e. should he be killed).
The novel concludes quickly and very dynamically. Shaddack is killed, most of the town dies, Sam, Tessa, and Chrissie survive and the FBI is sent in to clean up the mess.
- Sam Booker: A forty-two-year-old, FBI agent, who has lost his wife and is now a single parent
- Tessa Jane Lockland: a documentary film maker and the sister of an early victim of Shaddack's regressive citizens.
- Chrissie Foster: an 11-year-old girl who escapes from her parents after they try to convert her to become one of Shaddack's regressive citizens.
- Loman Watkins: Chief of Police for Moonlight Cove. A good police officer who cares about the well-being of his community. He is one of the first people converted by Shaddack, but he is converted without his consent.
- Thomas Shaddack: the primary antagonist. He is a sociopath with no remorse whatsoever. He has no ability to understand, or care about, the lives of others. He became a murderer at a very young age when he killed both of his parents. He sees his purpose in life as nothing less than the complete subjugation of the human race which would enable him to do anything and everything that his twisted mind desires.
- Harry Talbot: a disabled Viet Nam veteran who observes the changes in the town through his telescope and alerts the FBI to the problems.
- Moose: Harry Talbot's intelligent service dog.
- Janice Capshaw: a late night exercise enthusiast and the widow of a Lutheran minister. She is an early victim of Shaddack's regressive citizens. Her sister Tessa, or T.J., comes to town to investigate her death.
- Mike Peyser: a regressive citizen.
- Bell, James Scott. "Plot & Structure". Writes Digest Books, 2004, p. 53.
- Bell, James Scott. "Plot & Structure". Writers Digest Books, 2004, p. 54.
- Koontz, Dean. "Midnight". Berkley Publishing Group, 1989, p. 11, p. 29.
- Koontz, Dean. "Midnight". Berkley Publishing Group, 1989, p. 29.
- Bell, James Scott. "Plot & Structure". Writers Digest Books, 2004, p. 53.