You really shouldn’t talk to strangers.
No. of pages: 60
There once was a killer who knew the night, its secrets and rhythms. How to hide within its shadows. When to hunt.
He roamed from town to town, city to city, choosing his prey for their beauty and innocence. His cruelties were infinite, his humanity long since forfeit. But still . . . he had not yet discovered how to make his special mark among monsters, how to come fully alive as Death.
This is the story of how he learned those things, and of what we might do to ensure that he does not visit us.
Spotting a review for ‘Darkness Under the Sun’ just before I was about to pick up ‘What the Night Knows’ was kismet. I quickly added this novella to my e-reader ready to submerge into a scary and thrilling prelude, set the tone to whatever paranormal force is to feature in the main novel. And what I read was sufficiently spooky, it reminded me of Roald Dahl or Edgar Allen Poe. I got an unnerved sense straight away about how the protagonist, a thirteen year old Howey Dugley meets a mysterious adult drifter new friend (Alton Turner Blackwood) back in 1989. And I think it’s meant to be on purpose. Red flags start to wave and the reader is meant to notice them… all to set them up for the twist. A twist that gave me a shiver.
I’ve been scared by some of Koontz books, afraid to step out of bed in the dark, too chicken to investigate noises outside my window at night. This tale didn’t do that. It left me feeling creeped out. That prickling of hair at the back of your neck.
I appreciated how Howie develops as a character and commits to paying recompense for his actions (fingering fellow school student Ron Bleeker as a bully who deserves recompense to Alton, whom he knows is dangerous) – which in turn takes on a philosophical significance of the story. Not before jumping forward in time to Howies 32nd year, and events begin to re-emerge mirroring the past he’s tried to forget and pay penance for. Leaving us set up for the novel ‘What the Night Knows.’ There is definite dark and supernatural things at work here. And ‘Darkness Under the Sun’ is the perfect teaser.
It’s a quick easy novella to read, Koontz’s usual colourful descriptive style marrying both lush beautiful landscape and brutal gore of a murder scene. Another favourite to add to my collection, you can be assured it is as good as Koontz vintage best. I’m even more keen to read ‘What the Night Knows’ and find out where this all leads and get answers to the mythology. A compact plot with a spiritual message.
Overall feeling: I think I thought I heard someone whispering my name in the dark… eep!
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