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Book Title: The Key to Midnight|
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Reader ratings: 4.2
The author of the book: Leigh Nichols
Date of issue: June 1st 1995
ISBN: No data
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 22.59 MB
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(UPDATE: I first uploaded an unedited version of this review. Everything should be fixed now. My apologies for the slip up.)
Buddy read with De-to-the-lee. While this is not one of Koontz's Black/Neon Berkeley books, it is one of his earliest novels. It was first published in 1975 under one of his more popular pen names, Leigh Nichols.
Koontz-Alert Checklist (Every Dean Koontz book has at least one of the following ten things.)
1. Blond lead/love interest - Yup
2. Dog(s) - Nope
3. Government conspiracy - Yup
4. Aliens - Nope
5. Serial Killer - Kinda (Will discuss in review)
6. Bougainvillea plant - Nope
7. Sodium-vapor streetlight - Nope
8. Precocious child - Nope
9. Town gone crazy - Nope
10. Psychic(s) - Nope
While The Key to Midnight does not have a serial killer, it does have a madman who likes to kill. He plays a very small part, but if you've ever read a Dean Koontz book, you'll know that any male character who enjoys killing is a) the sexiest man alive, b) a rapist, and c) a complete ego maniac. I'm talking about Carrera here, because we have two madmen running around this book, although the other one (Rotenhausen) is completely off camera until its time for our blond heroin to enact her revenge.
This book starts out great. The first hundred pages are a refreshing change of scenery and Koontz tropes. Everyone in the book loves Jazz, because that style of music is the only kind Koontz thinks exists in life, but for the most part, there were no Koontz-alerts. I'm curious to see how many Koontz-alerts were in here before he rewrote the book. Did he take them away when he rewrote the book to make it less Koontz-y, or did he add more of them to make it more Koontz-y?
(I like that word: Koontz-y. Sounds like a pet name you'd call a really cute Pomeranian or ferret.)
In the afterword, Koontz said he removed 30,000 words from the Leigh Nichols version and added about 5,000. I cannot imagine this book being 100 pages longer, which is the average length of 25,000 words. I was bored for the vast majority of this novel, and to think it was once packed full of 30k worth of (according to Koontz) unneeded material blows my fucking mind. Of course, Koontz also says in the afterword that (I'm literally chuckling right now because I find the quote I'm about to type laugh-out-loud funny) "None of my other books is in the genre or the style of The Key to Midnight, but lurking in these pages is the Dean Koontz you know." Nailed it! Even when Koontz tries to branch out, Koontz is still Koontz.
There are numerous unforgivable sins in this book, but none so bad as Koontz's need to beat his reader over the head with his man-about-the-world knowledge. This book was written first in 1979, and then rewritten in 1995. Both dates are before the rise of the internet. Meaning that, upon first publication, home computers didn't even exist, much less the internet. Secondly, not everyone owned an entire set of Encyclopedia Britannica, so the Japanese dialogue and motherfucking French cuisine mostly fell on deaf ears. He goes into great detail while describing places we're only going to be for one or two pages, but he can't be bothered to translate every line of dialogue, or write the dialogue in English and then tell us that it was said in Japanese? And what the fuck is oie rotie aux pruneaux? Sure I can Google that shit nowadays, but back when this book was first published and then reissued, what were my options? The library, that's what. This might seem like small potatoes to you guys, but to me it's a big deal. I don't want to have to be an expert in international cuisine to understand what the characters are eating. What makes this especially annoying is the lengths Koontz then goes into to explain the history of cockney, the hows and whys of its use for us to only read a single three-page scene where a character is speaking in London slang-speech. I'm talking about inconsistencies that took me out of the story. Pissed me off, it did.
In summation: The story's nice and convoluted and I appreciated all the explanations for things that seemed like bullshit coincidences earlier in the book. Koontz seemingly gave a shit about the plot here, and I dig that. I just wish more stuff had actually happened instead of page after page of circular dialogue and food I cannot pronounce and will likely never have a chance to eat. I'm a basic bitch. I don't need fancy food to maintain this girlish figure. Recommended to people who like to stop reading to Google the names of food dishes.
Final Judgment: I'll take some Good Plot with a side dish of Go Fuck Yourself.
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Read information about the authorLibrarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
Leigh Nichols is a pen name of Dean R. Koontz / Dean Koontz.
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