Excerpt from Seize The Night by Dean Koontz, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Seize The Night

by Dean Koontz

Seize The Night
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 1999, 401 pages
    Nov 1999, 443 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Although slender, she is mighty. Only five feet four, she appears to tower over any adversary. She is as formidable, fearless, and fierce as she is graceful and good-hearted.

This night, however, her usual grace had deserted her, and fright had tortured her bones into unnatural angles. When I spoke, she twitched around to face me, and in her jeans and untucked flannel shirt, she seemed to be a bristling scarecrow now magically animated, confused and terrified to find itself suddenly alive, jerking at its supporting cross.

The beam of her flashlight bathed my face, but she considerately directed it toward the ground the instant she realized who I was. "Chris. Oh, God."

"What's wrong?" I asked again as I got off my bike.

"Jimmy's gone."

"Run away?"

"No." She turned from me and hurried toward the house. "This way, here, look."

Lilly's property is ringed by a white picket fence that she herself built. The entrance is flanked not by gateposts but by matched bougainvillea that she has pruned into trees and trained into a canopy. Her modest Cape Cod bungalow lies at the end of an intricately patterned brick walkway that she designed and laid after teaching herself masonry from books.

The front door stood open. Enticing rooms of deadly brightness lay beyond.

Instead of taking me and Orson inside, Lilly quickly led us off the bricks and across the lawn. In the still night, as I pushed my bike through the closely cropped grass, the tick of wheel bearings was the loudest sound. We went to the north side of the house.

A bedroom window had been raised. Inside, a single lamp glowed, and the walls were striped with amber light and faint honey-brown shadows from the folded cloth of the pleated shade. To the left of the bed, Star Wars action figures stood on a set of bookshelves. As the cool night sucked warmth from the house, one panel of the curtains was drawn across the sill, pale and fluttering like a troubled spirit reluctant to leave this world for the next.

"I thought the window was locked, but it mustn't have been," Lilly said frantically. "Someone opened it, some sonofabitch, and he took Jimmy away.

"Maybe it's not that bad."

"Some sick bastard," she insisted.

The flashlight jiggled, and Lilly struggled to still her trembling hand as she directed the beam at the planting bed alongside the house.

"I don't have any money," she said.


"To pay ransom. I'm not rich. So no one would take Jimmy for ransom. It's worse than that."

False Solomon's seal, laden with feathery sprays of white flowers that glittered like ice, had been trampled by the intruder. Footprints were impressed in trodden leaves and soft damp soil. They were not the prints of a runaway child but those of an adult in athletic shoes with bold tread, and judging by the depth of the impressions, the kidnapper was a large person, most likely male.

I saw that Lilly was barefoot.

"I couldn't sleep, I was watching TV, some stupid show on the TV," she said with a note of self-flagellation, as if she should have anticipated this abduction and been at Jimmy's bedside, ever vigilant.

Orson pushed between us to sniff the imprinted earth.

"I didn't hear anything," Lilly said. "Jimmy never cried out, but I got this feeling...."

Her usual beauty, as clear and deep as a reflection of eternity, was now shattered by terror, crazed by sharp lines of an anguish that was close to grief. She was held together only by desperate hope. Even in the dim backwash of the flashlight, I could hardly bear the sight of her in such pain.

"It'll be all right," I said, ashamed of this facile lie.

"I called the police," she said. "They should be here any second. Where are they?"

Personal experience had taught me to distrust the authorities in Moonlight Bay. They are corrupt. And the corruption is not merely moral, not simply a matter of bribe-taking and a taste for power; it has deeper and more disturbing origins.

Copyright © 1998 Dean Koontz.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    News of the World
    by Paulette Jiles

    Exquisitely rendered and morally complex--a brilliant work of historical fiction.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.