Seize The Night by Dean Koontz
This is the final Rebel Voice review of a Koontz novel in what has been a binge. Seize The Night is a good one to finish on.
Christopher Snow suffers from the rare condition of xeroderma pigmentosum, a debilitating disease in which the carrier is extremely sensitive to light, usually leading to cancer and an early death. But Chris is not deterred and so eagerly embraces the night.
His home in Moonlight Bay on the coast of California is the site of an ostensibly closed military base encompassing many square miles of abandoned warehouses, bungalows and various facilities. But Chris knows that the Wyvern base is not empty. His mother was part of a secret project there that tampered with animal DNA, increasing the intelligence of a variety of animal species. Although both his parents are dead, Chris is consistently drawn to the base as he seeks for answers to what his mother was involved in and perhaps why she was murdered.
As twenty-something Chris encounters an ex-girlfriend one night, he learns that her 5 year old boy, Jimmy, has been abducted. Together with Orson, his augmented dog (yes, Koontz is at it again) he follows the kidnapper’s trail all the way to Wyvern where they encounter all manner of mutant horrors.
Chris’ friend, Bobby, an uber-wealthy surfer-dude, arrives on-site to give Chris a hand with the search. They uncover a strange construction that they believe to be a time-machine left behind by the scientists but now reactivated by the unwelcome presence of our two intrepid adventurers. Their discovery raises yet more questions with precious few answers available, and brings them no closer to finding Jimmy.
As day approaches, Chris must retreat home – like a vampire – to await the arrival of the next night. His girlfriend and great love, Sasha, joins their little Scooby Gang as they plan a second assault on the base. They are further strengthened by the presence of Doogie – Sasha’s colleague at the radio station they run, and possibly her former CIA comrade – and Roosevelt, a massive former footballer who can speak with Mungojerry, a mutant cat with bouts of prescience. This skill may explain why Roosevelt is very wealthy. Mungojerry would be a great cat to have at the horses.
It all sounds ridiculous but, strangely, it works. The fantastical plot is stretched one way and then the other but never snaps. Instead, the steady pace keeps the reader engaged as the team searches frantically through the warrens of the base, looking now for 4 children reported as missing.
They also have to contend with the realization that an alien virus has been introduced into the local population of Moonlight Bay by errant scientists, causing many residents to ‘become’ as they undergo some physiological and psychological changes, all negative. Toss in a troop of enlarged, more intelligent and highly organized Rhesus monkeys, a freak ape, and infected animals that behave strangely and become suicidal, and you have a rip-roaring yarn.
Seize The Night is a good example of how well Koontz can write. The plot is wacky but holds. The setting is excellent. The characters are consistent, even if they are (like many of Koontz’ creations) sassy, and the overall feel is that of an adventure thriller.
It does have its poor points. Everyone is incredibly brave and tough – at least the good guys are – and Chris and his gang are all independently wealthy which helps when they are running around and getting into trouble. The rest of the hoi polloi are busy working to put food on the table but the Scooby gang don’t have to worry about such trivial pursuits. Perhaps that’s why so many people are trying to get into the US? Could it be that they have read books, or watched movies, where all the main protagonists are rich and so conclude that everyone in the US is of similar circumstance? We, however, know that the truth is very different.
The morality displayed by Chris and his group is often quixotic, even going so far as to be wishy-washy. The action concentrates on the Scooby Gang but ignores the plight of the children who should have been given a greater focus to add some depth. The wisecracks are a tad tiring at times, although in general the character dynamic is good. Note that Rebel Voice does not view the mutant monkeys, alien virus, infected people and possible time-machine as weaknesses. Rebel Voice is out there hanging with the cool kids.
As Chris et al prepare and then move onto the base, they learn some of the back story surrounding the covert scientific projects. Chris also discovers more about his mother’s role in them. All-in-all there’s plenty to keep the reader enthralled.
Seize The Night is the second in a planned trilogy. The first was Fear Nothing and was published in 1997. This novel was put out in 1998, and we are still waiting on the third, tentatively titled, Ride The Storm. Koontz is ripping the ass out if it with the delay, as the period of time between first and last will mean readers will have to reread the earlier books for context. Perhaps that’s the plan, extra sales?
This episode of Chris Snow’s life is suitable for those with an interest in the fantastic. If you like guys with quips who can’t keep out of trouble, or you fancy some sci-fi or puzzles or have an urge for a thriller, then this is the book for you.
Koontz is not King, not even close. But he can write a decent tale and this is one. Rebel Voice is prepared to forgive Deano for his inclusion and lauding of yet another canine. The dog-factor, however, does appear to have helped Koontz pen a good one.
Sult scale rating: 7 out of 10. Pretty good read and should make you want to take a look at the next instalment if you’re still alive by then and humanity hasn’t disappeared or regressed so that the apes control the planet like in that movie with the gun-nut who found the Statue of Liberty and then started crying like a baby.
Included below is Dean Koontz speaking about his proposed final book in the trilogy. Look at the hair on that lad! Is that thing alive? Does he know Donald Trump? If someone opened a window would his hair run away? These questions and more will be answered in the future on Rebel Voice.