Winter Moon by Dean Koontz
Montana is a beautiful place. It has mountains, forests and rivers. It’s a wilderness where a man can go to find himself if he has been so careless to have lost himself in the first place. But it can also be somewhere that is so isolated that, sometimes, no one can hear you scream. It is here that Winter Moon is set.
LA cop, Jack McGarvey, gets caught up in a gun attack during which he sustains life-threatening injuries. His wife, Heather, and young son, Toby, are beside themselves with worry. But Jack’s a fighter who pulls through, yet finds a long and daunting road of rehabilitation ahead of him.
Eduardo is a widower living on a large ranch in Montana. With his wife and son dead, he has little to live for yet stubbornly persists. But Eduardo is snapped out of his apathetic existence by strange occurrences on his property. Mysterious noises and lights emanate from the woods as Eduardo becomes fearful for his sanity and life. Eventually, it all reaches a crescendo. A disc-like door appears one night and the lonely retiree is certain that something alien has entered his world. Noises at the door force him to confront whatever is there. But when Eduardo opens the door, the sight before him is too much and his heart gives out, mercifully killing him.
Jack McGarvey gets a letter from a lawyer notifying him that he has inherited Eduardo’s ranch. It emerges that Eduardo’s son was a colleague and friend of Jack’s before being shot dead on duty. As Jack and Heather have been struggling to pay bills, they view the lifeline in Montana as the perfect opportunity to start afresh in a less violent area. But what scared Eduardo to death is still there, and it’s getting stronger. The McGarvey family are soon to discover just how powerful and vile the alien presence is as they fight for their lives in remote Montana.
Winter Moon is a decent novel. The plot is good. The characters are reasonably consistent and the setting is glorious. It is a little like a poor man’s Under The Dome. But even a weak facsimile of the King classic can be enjoyable. It should be noted that Winter Moon was first released in 1975 under the title, Invasion. Koontz was using the pseudonym, Aaron Wolfe at the time. It was re-released in 1994 as Winter Moon. King’s book was released in 2009. On this occasion, Koontz appears to have gotten there first.
Koontz has managed to show some restraint in his usual dog-worship with this book, although there is a heroic canine in it. However, he does not engage in his ritualistic eulogizing of our four-legged friends to the same extent that he does in other tomes. There are weak points in the plot, with some of the character’s decision-making being highly questionable. But, all-in-all, it holds up and proves to be fairly entertaining.
Although this is not one of Koontz’ best, Winter Moon is still good enough to attract and hold the reader’s attention. It is also set up so that a sequel might follow. Rebel Voice doubts that any movie adaptation will be even remotely like the 1982 movie, The Thing, with Kurt Russell. In that one, an alien bursts out of a dog. Such imagery would be enough to make Koontz spew pea soup before exploding all over southern California. Like Jaws, Winter Moon might spoil the reader’s enjoyment of the more simple pursuits to be found in life. Hiking in Montana may not be so attractive after reading this. It will also make you hate space aliens. Fortunately, Trump is in the process of creating a Space Force, so… we’re safe… hooray… perhaps he will construct a space wall to keep them out… and abduct the children from any space alien parents who try to get to Earth…
Sult scale rating: 7 out of 10. It’s not King, but sometimes even King is not King. This is still a fairly good book. It’s slow to start, but frantic when in full flow.