If you think you've got it tough, meet Christopher Snow, the hero of Dean Koontz's novel Fear Nothing. Not only did his parents die under mysterious circumstances, but he's also being stalked by shadowy characters who want Snow to stop trying to find out how they died--or else they'll bump off his remaining loved ones (his supersmart, beer-lapping dog Orson; his best surfing buddy Bobby; and his late-night deejay girlfriend Sasha). And as if being on the lam in his own hometown, Moonlight Bay, California, isn't bad enough, Snow has to outrun his pursuers without leaving town. He has XP--xeroderma pigmentosum--a rare genetic affliction that forces him to avoid light. Cumulative exposure to sun, fluorescent lights, and the like will give him cancer eventually, and he doesn't dare leave the place where he's skillfully "done the mambo with melanoma" for all of his 28 years. Koontz makes the night-town of Moonlight Bay come alive in this sometimes pulse-pounding, sometimes funny, but mostly rather lyrical thriller. Fans of Koontz's legendary 1986 novel Watchers will love this book's similar theme: our hero and a loveable super-dog deal with a genetic engineering laboratory run amok. Horror fans will savor the evil mutant rhesus "millennium monkeys" who hunt Snow, the few scenes of eloquent gore, and the plight of certain mutating townsfolk who are, as they put it, "becoming" something very creepy. Koontz gives Snow and Bobby a lingo that does for surfer talk what Austin Powers did for the Swinging '60s, and his metaphors are almost as madcap as Tom Robbins's: "As the chains of the swinging light fixture torqued, the links twisted against one another with enough friction to cause an eerie ringing, as if lizard-eyed altar boys in blood-soaked cassocks and surplices were ringing the unmelodious bells of a satanic mass." Sometimes Koontz's style goes over the top and wipes out, surfer-style, but for the most part, Fear Nothing will have readers bellowing "Cowabunga!"