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Servants of Twilight Hardcover – March, 1988
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From Publishers Weekly
Previously issued as a paperback original under the pseudonym Leigh Nichols, this is one of Koontz's better thrillers. Single parent Christine Scavello and her young son Joey find themselves confronted by a madwoman, Grace Spivey, who fancies she discerns the Antichrist in Joey's cherubic visage. Spivey is the charismatic leader of a religious cult whose fanatic members do her every bidding, including murdering the little boy, and everyone who stands in their way. After the police fail to provide adequate protection, Christine turns to private detective Charlie Harrison, whose business and home are soon firebombed by the cultists, and two of his men murdered, even as he finds that he is falling in love with Christine. The narrative moves along briskly until the last third, at which point a frantic chase sequence goes on too long. Nevertheless, this is a better than average adventure with supernatural overtones. The possibility of Joey's actually being the Antichrist is a deftly handled (and unresolved) tease.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Praise for Dean Koontz
“Dean Koontz is a prose stylist whose lyricism heightens malevolence and tension. [He creates] characters of unusual richness and depth.”—The Seattle Times
“Tumbling, hallucinogenic prose....‘Serious’ writers...might do well to examine his technique.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Lyrical writing and compelling characters...Koontz stands alone.”—Associated Press
“In every industry there exist ‘artists’ that are not only unforgettable, but know their craft better than the rest. Dean Koontz...is among these artisans.”—Suspense Magazine
“[Koontz] has always had near-Dickensian powers of description, and an ability to yank us from one page to the next that few novelists can match.”—Los Angeles Times
“Perhaps more than any other author, Koontz writes fiction perfectly suited to the mood of America...novels that acknowledge the reality and tenacity of evil but also the power of good...[and that] entertain vastly as they uplift.”—Publishers Weekly --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's an average size read as far as Koontz books go, but entertaining and thought-provoking to the end. It was actually released under one of Koontz' then many aliases "Leigh Nichols", and re-released in 2011 under his real name and an afterword from him.
This novel is a good social experiment as to the possibilities of "what might happen" in a situation like this.
A mother and her young son about to go home after a shopping run are confronted by an elderly woman in the parking lot. Seemingly innocent at first, it becomes clear that this older "crone" is crazy. She believes the boy is the heralded Antichrist, and in no uncertain terms tells Christine, Joey's mother that he must die to prevent hell on earth for 1000 years. Crazy old crone.
...or is she? Christine goes home with her son and it becomes apparent that this crone will not let them go this easily.
Christine gets no help from the police when things escalate out of control from events that unfold, she seeks help from Charlie, a PI of repute (and a possible love interest, perhaps?). The roots run deep as the reader finds out just how far The Servant's of Twilight are really willing to go for their (Christian?) faith.
It's a chilling insight into the world of religious zealots and how they can become all-powerful to their followers. It delves into the heart of humanity and questions the very actions one believes to be the right ones. This is taken not from only the "good-guys" perspective, but also the antagonists. You can really see why they are doing this and feel a certain amount of pity for "Mother Grace", but not enough to lose sight of who you're really cheering for in this book.
The characters are well-rounded, not too many like in his failed "77 Shadow St" (my opinion only) and each adds to the story in their own way. Koontz even has us believing at times, "Who is really right?" and I think that's one of the charms with this book. Although the storyline is at times a little predictable, it always keeps nagging at the back of your mind, "Who is really on the right team?"
The book had me from the first few pages and from there it became a rollercoaster ride to its gripping conclusion. I recommend picking up a copy and checking it out. It shows Koontz' writing style from yore ago, which I much prefer to his recent books. Yes, there's a Golden Retriever in the book. He almost ALWAYS sneaks one into his novels somewhere! I gave this 4½ stars.