Any writer who is willing to revise an earlier book, especially a successful one, deserves a lot of respect, and I read this book because I saw the writer’s own explanation that he revised The Key to Midnight, one of his earliest novels, by cutting 30,000 words and adding 5000 thousand.
The Key to Midnight may be a different type of a Koontz novel, but it is just as exciting and suspenseful as his later work. It is very well written with skillful character drawing, internal and external conflicts, and car chases galore. The pacing is impeccable, for it makes the reader devour each word with the thrill increasing as the plot progresses.
The story begins with the introduction of the owner of the nightclub Moonglow Lounge in Kyoto, Joanna Rand, and her recurring nightmare that terrifies her. The nightmare is about a man with metallic fingers, appearing from somewhere in Joanna’s background or haunting her mind like her fake name and identity, making Joanna act irrationally at times.
When the private detective Alex Hunter while vacationing in Kyoto is attracted to Joanna, the knots start coming undone. Alex Hunter determines Joanna’s memory is a fake one and her mind is controlled by a formidable enemy using hypnosis. Alex starts helping Joanna, only to find out at the end , he too is manipulated by the rival side. The ending, however, is a happy one, and Alex and Joanna find solutions to their problems by outsmarting the international intelligentsia that still keeps fighting as if the cold war never ended.
The author, Dean Ray Koontz, was born on July 9, 1945 in Everett, PA. The child of an alcoholic father, Koontz took solace in books and in writing. He sold his first book at the age of 23, at first using a variety of pen names. After his first success with “The Key to Midnight,” Koontz created many suspenseful stories and attracted many followers. Although his writing is sometimes pushed into the horror genre due to the thrillers with supernatural overtones, Koontz should not be considered a horror writer. Koontz is a prolific, innovative suspense writer whose talent is highly respected.
Koontz influenced many writers with the quality of his work and fascinated his readers with his productivity, which never imitates itself. In other words, every book has unique characters and an exciting plot that grips the reader in a different way.
A few of his numerous books are: Odd Thomas, The Mask, Intensity, The Eyes of Darkness, Mr. Murder, Hideaway, One Door Away from Heaven, The House of Thunder, Dark Rivers of the Heart, Winter Moon, Fear Nothing, From the Corner of His Eye, The Face, The Book of Counted Sorrows, By the Light of the Moon, Velocity, Forever Odd.
The Key to Midnight, 1995 edition, is 419 pages in paperback with ISBN: 0425147517.
Once you start reading it, The Key to Midnight is a book you can not close easily.