Unexpected endings can take you by surprise.
Dean Koontz is afflicted with a problem which some genre writers encounter and overcome with ease but most do not. Koontz overcomes it with Fear Nothing but the question is will the audience follow. The problem is that he is a more florid writer than the genre demands and the tendency towards long exposition and internal meanderings of his main character are the kind of thing which can frustrate horror fans.
Fear Nothing is a science fiction horror, but it is a near future kind of science fiction and not of the hard science kind. Koontz crafts a rich story with undertow reaching out for the reader and the protagonist Christopher Snow from the first chapter to the last. A central aspect to the story in Fear Nothing is the genetic disorder xeroderma pigmentosum – XP. It is important that the reader understand the XP and there is much effort to explain the disorder and the way in which it formed the way he was raised. The disorder is not a character in the story but it is so integral a part of Chris Snow that it has a profound effect on everything he does.
A defining feature of Fear Nothing is how clear and well drawn all the characters are. There are a few cardboard cut out characters through the story to move the plot along but for the most part all the characters are interesting and intelligently drawn. As with previous work Koontz has a very clear and easy to follow plot. He is a gifted storyteller with a talent for taking the reader exactly where he wants them to go with all the ease of someone in total mastery of their craft. If there is a weakness in Dean Koontz’s writing it is in the assumption that readers have a vocabulary which includes three syllable words. Effective use of language is not a weakness, it is a pleasure to those who enjoy language to wrap themselves around descriptive passages which take advantage of the richness of the English language. Some readers can find a rich use of words to be off-putting preferring instead that novelists keep things at the grade eight level.
The bulk of the story in Fear Nothing takes place in a single night. The balance of the story takes place the following night. It is a brutal pace for the Chris Snow to keep and the gradual revelation of the essence of what is going on fits snugly with the development of Snow whose understanding of his own world and his place in it grows with each successive revelation. Fear Nothing is about growth and change which in the tradition of the horror genre is not necessarily a good thing nor a bad thing but more a question of how you greet it. The reader does not expect things to end where they do in Fear Nothing, but maybe that is where Koontz expects us to grow.
Fear nothing is a good quick read and well worth the time.