Koontz, Dean R. What the Night Knows

ISBN 13: 9780007326938

What the Night Knows

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9780007326938: What the Night Knows

Something is waiting in the dark...The stunning new thriller from the bestselling author of Velocity and Breathless. Billy Lucas confesses to a shocking crime. He's only fourteen years old but he's a sadistic killer and proud of it. He's in the secure wing of the state hospital but ...he seems too wise for his age, not crazy, too knowing. About the nature of evil, and whether it lives on beyond death. Too knowing about other crimes that took place before he was born ...Other murders from twenty years ago surface in the mind of Detective John Calvino as he interviews young Billy Lucas. Calvino carries away a signed confession ...and a sense of great danger. That night he feels that somehow Billy has come home with him, to his family. Over the next weeks, this haunted feeling does not go away. It only gets worse. Then another killing spree happens, just as and when John Calvino dreaded it would. Billy is safely locked away, but not the ghost, if the ghost exists, that links these murders with past crimes, and with John Calvino. Anything could happen, and surely will ...again.

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In the late summer of a long ago year, a killer arrived in a small city. His name was Alton Turner Blackwood, and in the space of a few months he brutally murdered four families. His savage spree ended only when he himself was killed by the last survivor of the last family, a fourteen-year-old boy.

Half a continent away and two decades later, someone is murdering families again, recreating
in detail Blackwood’s crimes. Homicide detective John Calvino is certain that his own family—his wife and three children—will be targets in the fourth crime, just as his parents and sisters were victims on that distant night when he was fourteen and killed their slayer.

As a detective, John is a man of reason who deals in cold facts. But an extraordinary experience convinces him that sometimes death is not a one-way journey, that sometimes the dead return.

Here is ghost story like no other you have read. In the Calvinos, Dean Koontz brings to life a family that might be your own, in a war for their survival against an adversary more malevolent than any he has yet created, with their own home the battleground. Of all his acclaimed novels, none exceeds What the Night Knows in power, in chilling suspense, and in sheer mesmerizing storytelling.

A Letter from Author Dean Koontz

Villains and Vegetables
Readers ask certain questions over and over again. Such as, "How often have you been institutionalized?" and "How does your wife sleep at night, knowing what kind of stories spring from your mind?" and "If you could be any kind of vegetable, what vegetable would you be?"

Because I found most schoolwork tedious, I felt as if I had been institutionalized for fifteen years--throughout grade school, high school, and college. In the grim institution called high school, as a kid in a small town, my therapy consisted of reading novels and listening to rock-and-roll on tower-of-power radio stations in distant cities. In college, my therapy was all-night pinochle tournaments. I cut more classes than Sweeney Todd cut throats.

My wife sleeps peacefully, thank you. She knows I'm basically a pussycat. We have been together since high school, and in all those years, the only living thing she has seen me cut is myself; any time I pick up the simplest tool or kitchen implement to do some minor household task, my blood will inevitably flow. I've been known to cut myself accidentally with something as seemingly safe as a rolling pin.

Sugar snap peas.

Another frequently asked question is "How do you create such bizarre yet convincing and terrifying villains." The glib answer is to say I watch the evening news. In fact, however, the antagonists in my novels create themselves, just as do the protagonists. I conceive a character around a seed of truth, some essential fact that lies at the core of him, then I give him free will, and I discover more about him as the story unfolds. Sometimes, when characters surprise me with their revelations, it seems as if they are indeed real, that I am writing in a kind of dream state that allows me to bridge this world with some parallel reality and tap the consciousness of people living

Alton Turner Blackwood, the villain of Darkness Under the Sun and of the forthcoming novel What the Night Knows, literally appeared to me in one of those exceedingly vivid dreams that are peculiar to many of us who, suffering allergies, take two or three Benedryl every night for too many weeks. Benedryl dreams are, in my experience, never flat-out nightmares. They generally do not have much in the way of storylines, but the people in them are so dimensional and so exquisitely detailed that they seem as real as anyone you would meet in real life. They are sometimes strange, as well, and menacing, though these are for the most part dreams without action, so their menace is implied.

The morning after the Benedryl dream in which Alton Turner Blackwood appeared (though he had no name in the dream), I wrote down a physical description of him, which I used word for word in the finished novel:

He stood six feet five, scarecrow-thin but strong. His hands were immense, the spatulate fingers as suctorial as the toe discs of a web-foot toad, large bony wrists like robot joints, orangutan-long arms. His shoulder blades were thick and malformed, so that bat wings appeared to be furled under his shirt.

As for how his face looks and as for the explanation of how and why such a specimen might be born: I'll let you discover those things in the novella and the novel.

Of the scores of evil characters I have created, none has so affected me as Alton Turner Blackwood. In spite of all his physical and mental strangenesses, I would not be surprised to see him one evening, walking along a lonely highway or perhaps standing under a lamppost across the street, still and watchful. Of all the eerie characters met in Benedryl dreams--many of them like people you might expect to see in Tim Burton movies--he is the only one who has made a second appearance in my sleep. And he's appeared three times. I don't know what to make of that. If his repeated appearance means anything, I guess I'll find out eventually.

Baby carrots are also cool.

From the Author:

A Letter from Author Dean Koontz

Let's Call It "The Turn of the Phillips-Head Screw"
I was happily working on a novel titled What the Night Knows, the premise of which was already described on various web-site postings, when an idea for a ghost story slammed into me with as much force as an exuberant 60-pound golden retriever playing bowl-dad-off-his-feet. When I picked myself up from my office floor, I didn't need a sticky roller to remove the dog hair from my clothes, but the story I had been working on was entirely Swiffered out of my head to make room for the ghost story. After alerting my editor and my publisher of my intentions, I put aside What the Night Knows and set to work enthusiastically on the new idea.

Over the next few months, as the manuscript pages piled up, I occasionally sent lists of possible titles to my editor and my publisher, and they sent lists of titles to me. None of us liked the same title. We didn't argue. We just quietly declined to be enthusiastic about one another's suggestions. We are a genteel bunch. The only one of us to wake with the severed head of a horse in his bed was me, and that was unrelated to the disagreement about titles. I'm not even sure who sent the horse's head, although I did fail to renew my subscription to Oprah magazine, and their circulation department does play hardball.

Anyway, one day, when I was deep into the still untitled ghost story, I suddenly realized that the title of the novel I had set aside, What the Night Knows, would be a perfect title for the novel I was writing. In fact, it was more suited to the ghost story than to the novel to which it had been previously attached. I emailed my publisher suggesting that I steal this title from myself, and as I sent that email, I simultaneously received one from her--which made the same suggestion. This seemed like destiny at work, and if not destiny, then something even stranger, something with which a wise person would not screw around.

Now, the ghost story, What the Night Knows, is scheduled to land in bookstores on 28 December, and the book I set aside--but to which I will return--doesn't have a title. So here we go again. Sometimes I think that life is nothing but a never-ending series of problems and crises, a dark journey of frustration and anxiety and despair, and I really just want to hijack a gasoline tanker truck and drive it at high speed over a cliff. But then I eat a couple of Reese's peanut-butter cups, and everything's swell again.

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Koontz, Dean R.
Published by HarperCollins Publishers (2011)
ISBN 10: 0007326939 ISBN 13: 9780007326938
New Paperback Quantity Available: 3
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)

Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110007326939

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