Winter Moon. By: Dean R. Koontz

Winter Moon. By: Dean R. Koontz

Winter Moon. By: Dean R. Koontz


The City of the Dying Dy.

Beaches, surfers, California girls. Wind scented with fabulous


Bougainvillea, groves of oranges. Stars are born, everything gleams.

A weather change. Shadows fall. New scent upon the wind–decay.

Cocaine, Uzis, drive-by shootings. Death is a banker. Everyone


the Book of Counted Sorrows.


Death was driving an emerald-green Lexus. It pulled off the street,

passed the four self-service pumps, and stopped in one of the two

full-service lanes.

Standing in front of the station, Jack McGarvey noticed the car but not

the driver. Even under a bruised and swollen sky that hid the sun, the

Lexus gleamed like a jewel, a sleek and lustrous machine. The windows

were darkly tinted, so he couldn’t have seen the driver clearly even if

he had tried.

As a thirty-two-year-old cop with a wife, a child, and a big mortgage,

Jack had no prospects of buying an expensive luxury car, but he didn’t

envy the owner of the Lexus. He often remembered his dad’s admonition

that envy was mental theft. If you coveted another man’s possessions,

Dad said, then you should be willing to take on his responsibilities,

heartaches, and troubles along with his money.

He stared at the car for a moment, admiring it as he might a priceless

painting at the Getty Museum or a first edition of a James M. Cain

novel in a pristine dust jacket–with no strong desire to possess it,

taking pleasure merely from the fact of its existence.

In a society that often seemed to be spinning toward anarchy, where

ugliness and decay made new inroads every day, his spirits were lifted

by any proof that the hands of men and women were capable of producing

things of beauty and quality. The Lexus, of course, was an import,

designed and manufactured on foreign shores, however, it was the entire

human species that seemed damned, not just his countrymen, and evidence

of standards and dedication was heartening regardless of where he found


An attendant in a gray uniform hurried out of the office and approached

the gleaming car, and Jack gave his full attention, once more, to

Hassam Arkadian.

“My station is an island of cleanliness in a filthy sea, an eye of

sanity in a storm of madness,” Arkadian said, speaking earnestly,

unaware of sounding melodramatic.

He was slender, about forty, with dark hair and a neatly trimmed

mustache. The creases in the legs of his gray cotton work pants were

knife-sharp, and his matching work shirt and jacket were immaculate.

“I had the aluminum siding and the brick treated with a new sealant,”

he said, indicating the facade of the service station with a sweep of

his arm. “Paint won’t stick to it. Not even metallic paint. Wasn’t

cheap. But now when these gang kids or crazy-stupid taggers come

around at night and spray their trash all over the walls, we scrub it

off, scrub it right off the next morning.”

With his meticulous grooming, singular intensity, and quick slender

hands, Arkadian might have been a surgeon about to begin his workday in

an operating theater. He was, instead, the owner-operator of the

service station.

“Do you know,” he said incredulously, “there are professors who have

written books on the value of graffiti? The value of graffiti? The


“They call it street art,” said Luther Bryson, Jack’s partner.

Arkadian gazed up disbelievingly at the towering black cop. “You think

what these punks do is art?”

“Hey, no, not me,” Luther said.

At six three and two hundred ten pounds, he was three inches taller

than Jack and forty pounds heavier, with maybe eight inches and seventy

pounds on Arkadian. Though he was a good partner and a good man, his

granite face seemed incapable of the flexibility required for a


His deeply set eyes were unwaveringly forthright. My Malcolm X glare,

he called it. With or without his uniform, Luther Bryson could

intimidate anyone from the Pope to a purse snatcher.

He wasn’t using the glare now, wasn’t trying to intimidate Arkadian,

was in complete agreement with him. “Not me. I’m just saying that’s

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Categories: Koontz, Dean