Books: Winter Moon

I pick up Dean Koontz books when I find them at yard sales, which is how I came to have a copy of Winter Moon. It’s not one I would have bought new (I do buy his Odd Thomas books once they come out in paperback), but it was a reasonably good read.

I’m not surprised to find out that, like Icebound, this is a rewrite of a book written earlier (at least according to a customer review at amazon.com, the original was published in 1975 as Invasion). The same review mentions similarities between Winter Moon and The Taking, which also deals with an alien invasion. I thought of The Taking while I was reading this, and decided that The Taking was much better (though its customer rating at amazon.com is lower – my taste in books is evidently somewhat atypical). It’s much more recent, too, and shows how much Koontz has developed as a writer.

Another customer review describes this as “one of the last traditional Koontz ‘creature-features’.” I’ve never greatly cared for that genre, and probably wouldn’t have looked for another Koontz book if this had been the first one I read. It’s not particularly scary, at least to me, but I can imagine that a reasonably scary movie could be made from it. It would have to leave out some of the detail that makes the first half of the book slow going (it also consists of two apparently unrelated storylines until more than halfway through, which seems a bit late to tie them together). But with today’s CGI capabilities, the alien and animated corpses could be very disturbing.

The emphasis on the importance of family, friends, and neighbors is good, but it would help if the McGarvey family had been developed more, as Eduardo was. The boy Toby plays such a small role in the first half, that it seems strange how large a role he plays in the second half. And I’m not convinced the McGarvey family’s move at the end of the book is supported by the storyline up to that point.

Still, it is an interesting exploration of the ideas of order versus chaos, and the ways an alien invasion might be very different from most book and movie versions.

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