In Dean Koontz’s novel, Seize The Night – a Christopher Snow Adventure – Snow suffers from an inherited genetic disorder known as Xeroderma pigmentation, XP. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, sunshine, incandescent and fluorescent light could cause skin and eye cancer. Thus, he is a nocturnal creature, and I thought that this was a fascinating premise for a character, which reminded me of the vampire craze and chronicles that have inundated literary circles, bookstores, book clubs, and movies.
When five-year old Jimmy Wing, as well as Aaron and Anson Stewart, and Wendy Dulcinea, disappear from their homes in Moonlight Bay, Snow goes out into the night in search for them. Of course, he doesn’t go alone. He enlists the aid of Orson, his dog whom he named after Orson Wells, Sasha Goodall, his fiancée and deejay at Kbay Radio, Bobby Halloway, his best friend for the past seventeen years, Doggie Sassman, a tattooed Harley Davidson fanatic, Roosevelt Frost, a friend of Sasha’s, and Frost’s cat, Munjojerrie, who like Orson possess human-level intelligence, and has the ability to track and find lost people and objects like a bloodhound. “The cat knows things,” said Roosevelt. This motley crew and their witty banter create a rather entertaining, enlightening, and satisfying read.
You’ll find the text filled with preternatural phenomena, especially when Snow and his motley crew endeavor to embark on a midnight excursion into Fort Wyvern, an old, abandoned military base, where scientists had once pursued mysterious, top-secret work in underground laboratories, where a retrovirus – created by Snow’s mother, Wisteria Jane Snow - threatened to infect the community at large – the scientists, the military population at the base, and the folks in town – forcing the government to wisely shut down the operation and laboratory experiments. However, as in most cases in real life, the government acted too slowly. Hence, Snow and his defenders of mankind find themselves confronted with preternatural phenomena, with flocks of birds, rhesus monkeys and coyotes that appear to have been infected with the retrovirus, as their strange and unnatural behavior become evident.
Moreover, Koontz ventures into areas of science and pseudoscience when he writes about genetic mutation, altered species, space travel, parallel universe, retrovirus, and times machines. He skillfully creates images of past and future events, and then conflates them in a visual montage with the present, creating flickering images that might either be projected on a screen, in your mind, or flashed within a kaleidoscope or lantern or zoetrope. And, perhaps, nothing could be scarier than the idea of the residents of Moonlight Bay “becoming.” Meaning those who are exposed to the retrovirus might eventually turn into something that is almost indescribable, although, Koontz suggests that whatever it is, it is certainly a scary, alien-like creature.
Under a collapsing, imploding structure, in a subterranean basement, Snow and his crew finally locate the children and confront John Joseph Randolph, also known as Doctor Randolph Josephson, in a nail-biting, time-is-running-out-to-save-the-children conclusion. You’ll find the read to be more than a little satisfying and entertaining. I highly recommend this book.