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*Starred Review* A glowing rain begins falling at one a.m. in the San Bernardino Mountains of California, where productive but hardly best-selling novelist Molly Sloan and her ex-priest husband, Neil, live outside a small town. Besides being luminous, the downpour smells like rancid semen, Molly thinks, and it brings with it a feeling of oppression. Animals cower from it, as Molly grasps when she sees a pack of coyotes huddling on the porch. The little wolves seem to be appealing to her for help, and when she walks out to them, they seem to expect her to lead them. She goes to wake Neil, rescuing him from a nightmare, and to wash--no, scour--her hands where the rain hit them. The torrent continues, taking out the power, but then appliances come on spontaneously, and the hands of clocks run wildly in opposite directions. The Sloans conclude they must leave after an interior mirror reflects the house as invaded by ghastly vegetation--but doesn't reflect them at all. Opening sequences come no creepier than this one, and the rest of Koontz's version of the extraterrestrial attack scenario so well lives up to it that the revelation, painstakingly apprehended by Molly, of who the aliens really are comes as no surprise. Nor do Koontz's authorial insertions about modernity and social degeneracy seem anything but explanatory in the context of this gripping, blood-curdling, thought-provoking parable. Ray Olson
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