January 11, 1999 12:00 PM

by Dean Koontz

Interested in richly drawn characters, realistic plots and elegantly crafted prose? Go read that Tom Wolfe 10-pounder. Looking for the kind of suspense that will raise goose bumps on your goose bumps? Cozy up to the latest pulse-quickener from terrormeister Dean Koontz.

Set in an eerie California town called Moonlight Bay, this sequel to Koontz’s popular 1998 novel Fear Nothing follows the adventures of the clever Christopher Snow, who’s afflicted by a skin disorder that requires him to stay out of the sun (a conceit that allows Koontz to maximize chills by setting the novel entirely at night). After some interspecies genetic experiments go hellishly awry—producing, among other things, a rabid pack of mutant monkeys and mounds of hideous, flesh-eating worms—Snow must locate children snatched from their homes by a sadistic predator. The ludicrous plot is typical Koontz, but his vision of a full-blown biological catastrophe is undeniably spooky. What’s more, much of the action takes place in the dark, underground chambers of an abandoned and haunted military base, as terrifying a locale as Koontz has ever devised. If only the author were as crafty when it comes to creating characters: Snow and his crime-fighting cohorts are maddeningly lacking in dimension beyond the silly surfer lingo they employ. Koontz, more interested in maintaining his breakneck pace, quite literally cuts to the chase—our hero is pursuing kidnappers by page 8. Yet Koontz fans are sure to find that Seize the Night is positively dreadful—that is, full of the creepy kind of dread they’ve come to savor in his novels. (Bantam, $26.95)

Bottom Line: Chuck logic to the wind—and double-check your locks

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