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Title: Fear Nothing
Series: Moonlight Bay #1
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
Christopher Snow was born afflicted with (insert really long medically sounding name), otherwise known as XP. His body can’t heal from UV damage and something like a flashlight can take years off his life or make him go blind in months. He is now 28 and his parents have sacrificed a lot to give him as much freedom as possible. He roams the night, writes successful novels and surfs.
Several months ago his mother died in a car accident. The book opens with his father expiring from cancer in the local hospital. Everything Chris ever starts to go sidewise as he sees the local mortician replace his father’s body with some hitchhiker’s. His father’s body is loaded into a van and taken away to Wyvern, a supposedly closed military base.
During the next 2 days Chris uncovers a lot of secrets hiding in Moonlight Bay. His mother was involved in genetic experimentation with the aim of helping cure Chris’s XP. Chris’s father’s cancer might have been caused by a rogue genetic experiment gone awry. Chris finds out that the experiments have been successful, but not in the way his mother intended. The politicians and top army brass have used it to enhance intelligence in animals and to transfer animal characteristics to humans. Unfortunately, the carrier evolved and people began becoming infected unknowingly and spreading it even outside of Moonlight Bay.
Several of the solid citizens of Moonlight Bay have already fallen to the gene therapy. The Chief of Police dreams of raping and killing little girls. He tries to kill Christopher to keep his secret but dies in the attempt. A troup of bloody thirsty enhanced monkey’s attack Chris, his girlfriend and his beach bum friend one night. The troup is led by a court-martialed sociopath who has been hiding his own “becoming” from all his superiors.
To top it all off, it turns out that Chris’s own dog, Orson, is the product of the tests and is just as intelligent as a human. Orson, however, shows no sign of the psychopathic murderous tendencies exhibited in almost all the other patients that Chris has seen.
The book ends with Chris realizing that he simply can’t fight this end of the world as we know it.
I actually read the sequel to this 18 years ago. I wasn’t reviewing per se, so I didn’t remember any details and so nothing was spoiled for this book. Just an anecdote, that is all.
In the character of Chris Snow are the seeds that will, 5 years later, turn into Odd Thomas and that much more successful series.
I found the scene between Chris and the Chief of Police to be as horrific as Koontz intended without it being offensive. There is nothing graphic in what Koontz writes and yet when the Chief is talking to Chris about his nightmares and his plans and his descent into animal savagery, I was horrified. It walked the line of talking about something absolutely evil without crossing that line into being voyeuristic about it. More authors should take note, as it takes real skill to write that way.
I enjoyed this but once again, like his Frankenstein series, Koontz is actually only telling one story and splitting it up into “books” to satisfy publishing demands. This book ends with Chris and Co surviving the attacks by various infected creatures, human or otherwise but the threat is so big that it IS the end of the world as humans know it. If I hadn’t known there was another book, I would have assumed this was a standalone with the Big Ending (ie, the end of the world) left up in the air for the readers to imagine.
Considering how proto-Odd Thomas Chris Snow is, I was figuring that Snow’s girlfriend was going to die the whole book. Color me pleasantly surprised when she made it through almost unscathed. That’ll teach me to be cynical.
The other thing I’m learning about Koontz seems to be that he likes to write about short time periods. The first ¾’s of the book only took 12hrs and the final ¼ was the next 24. Thirty-six hours for a 450 page book. I’ll have to remember that so I don’t expect dramas drawn out over the years.