“Never leave a friend behind. Friends are all we have to get us through this life–and they are the only things from this world that we could hope to see in the next.”
I love this book. I really do. I’m not certain why, really. Dean Koontz is a schmaltzy writer. He overuses analogies and some of them are rather bizarre. Many of his books have similar details — bad ass chicks, unlikely heroes, a golden retriever or two. They start to blur together after a while. But when I was in middle school and high school, I read every single thing Koontz had published. This book (and its sequel, Seize the Night) always seemed to stand out. I reread it every few years, and I’ve also listened to the audiobook a few times. This time was the audiobook, mostly at the gym. It’s just a good, solid story with a very likable lead (and a black lab).
Fear Nothing is about a 28 year old man named Chris Snow. I am now 28. I think I read this book for the first time when I was 12. I feel old. Chris suffers from a condition called xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) that prevents his cells from being able to repair themselves after exposure to light. As a result, he has lived his life in a dimly lit house during the day. At night, he explores the small town of Midnight Bay, where he lives.
This novel begins in the evening, as Chris gets a phone call that his father has passed away from cancer. A fluke event at the hospital leads Chris to see someone do something strange with his father’s remains. He investigates, and stumbles upon a mystery that affects his whole town. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’ll say one thing: genetically modified monkeys. Yeah, that’s right.
The events of the novel take place primarily over a 24 hour period, as Chris explores his town and visits friends and enemies, trying to find the truth about his father’s death. I think one of the things I loved so much about this novel was the romantic idea of having a whole town to yourself in the dark; just you, your dog and your bicycle.
Fear Nothing ends abruptly, with few questions answered. Koontz published a sequel, Seize the Night, the following year. Supposedly he’s working on a third. 13 year old me can’t wait.