Johnny's Reviews > The Key to Midnight

The Key to Midnight by Leigh Nichols
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's review
Nov 19, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: own-it

** spoiler alert ** There's a whole different atmosphere surrounding "The Key to Midnight" which is absent in earlier Koontz novels. It’s like we have a whole new genre of story than we’re used to, yet with clear elements of what we recognize as being Koontz’s work. A new level of maturity, bigger characters, lots of inner dialogue.

Alex Hunter is a private detective with a suitable last name for that profession, who stumbled upon the victim of a twelve year old kidnapping case. Yet the woman in question has no recollection of her past. They work together to break through her false memories and discover the reason behind the conspiracy.

A favorite topic in Koontz novels, some kind of form or other of memory modification also appears in “Night Chills”, “Strangers”, “False Memory” and “The House of Thunder”. (In fact, that’s not the only comparison “The Key to Midnight” has with “The House of Thunder”: the whole “Russian spies living as Americans” thing is an exact duplicate plotline.) While not every story handles the topic in quite the same fashion, the similarities are there. No doubt it’s an intriguing subject, great for use in fiction.

The basic man/woman formula is very much integrated in the plot. Point of view changes for each chapter, switching back and forth between Alex and Joanna/Lisa, though sometimes Koontz forgets through whose eyes he’s telling the story and adds an inner dialogue of the other character.

Halfway through the book, we’re pulled even deeper into the conspiracy by reading chapters about the conspirators themselves. Doing this as a writer is always a gamble: you need to explain a few things so that what happens to the main characters makes more sense, and to avoid having the villains appear out of thin air at the end without us knowing anything about them, but you also have to be careful not to explain too much. After all, it’s still a mystery.

To me, “The Key to Midnight” is the first milestone in Koontz’s collective work. With this book, we reach a new, more character oriented type of story.
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Brittany Don't forget the similarities that "Russians" have with Lightning, as well... not the same, albeit, but similarities are present, nonetheless.

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