“The rain fell like dead bullets.”
It evokes a vivid imagery typical of the noir genre and subsequently follows up with similar styling’s as we’re introduced to Roland, a somewhat confused and battered man wallowing in pain and overcome by the unpredictable situation he so finds himself. From that point forward, author Scott Nicholson switches gears towards medico-thriller with all the trappings. A drug which induces memory loss, another that acts as conduit for rage and the human guinea pigs that unknowingly partake in a 10 year experiment that turns full circle exposing dark revelations and systematic evil delivered through the mind of a genius provides a mere glimpse at an all too viable tale.
Nicholson does a great job at capturing his characters confusion; be it identity or situational and subsequently pushing that onto the reader. Roland’s forgetfulness initially is disorientating, portrayed through a haze of mystery and almost drunkenness liquidity. With this theme following the course of the novel as additional characters fall in line with the effects of the treatment. Adding to that the rage inducing chemical which can only be harnessed by absorbing physical trauma, the interesting and unpredictable cast and course of action maintains a fresh perspective and continuous enjoyment.
There is a lot to like about LIQUID FEAR. It’s fiction bordering on a harsh and all too realistic reality. The villain, a brilliant and twisted scientist who dabbles in grey matter, using the minds of his guinea pigs as a sandbox is truly terrifying, not by virtue of his façade or persona, more due to the reality of a person such as this existing in real-life – its certainly not outside the realms of possibility. I also liked the way Nicholson played the characters against each other. There are many confrontations you never know how they’ll turn out. Throw in a little dirty politicking, big business drug companies, and sexual depravity and LIQUID FEAR becomes one hell of a read.
Given how this ended, I’m interested to see where Nicholson heads in the sequel CHRONIC FEAR.