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Monday, April 24, 2017


5 stars out of 5

"Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on..."

--David Bowie

When I open a new Dean Koontz book, it's always with great enthusiasm. Whether or not I'll love it isn't an issue - the only question is what he will come up with to keep me engrossed this time. As expected, there's no "oops" here - he's done it again with this, the first of a series featuring FBI agent Jane Hawk. If I had to describe the book in just a few words, it would be Sarah Connor meets Jason Bourne in a fight to protect the future of the world (and yes, it would make a great movie, hint, hint).

A  recent and still grieving widow, Jane has taken a leave of absence from the FBI to deal with her husband's suicide - which she doesn't believe for a nanosecond really happened. Setting out to find the truth, she begins with a visit to another recent military widow whose death also was deemed a suicide because she suspects the same person or persons are responsible. Further digging turns up several similar incidents - both of military and non-military people - but no apparent connection.

As she pursues her research, she soon realizes "They" are out to get her (spy drones following her is an almost-dead giveaway). After managing to escape them, she pays a quick visit to her young son, whom she wisely stashed away with friends at the start of her investigation to make sure he's safe. It matters not to the story, but for the record, I was delighted to learn that his new guardians, like me, are George Winston/Windham Hill fans. 

As she begins to make some headway, though, Jane realizes there's no one she can trust - not in the government, not among friends and relatives and most certainly not among the ranks of the FBI. Almost from the start, she's forced to go off the grid, using disguises, fake names, burner phones and switched license plates to escape what she's sure will be capture and suspects will be much worse. Because she manages to get online and, in some instances, contact others, she's considered to be in the "silent corner" (aha, such is the stuff from which a title is born).

Needless to say, her online forays mean it's hard to miss day-to-day news - not all of which, shall we say, is positive. From that springs one of my favorite quotes in the book - one with which I wholeheartedly (or more accurately, disheartedly) concur: "If you let the news spoil your appetite, there wouldn't be a day you could eat."

What Jane finds is a frightening conspiracy based on mind control. It's a concept that's a bit far afield, but given the pace of technology development these days, certainly not unthinkable. Jane's race is on, then,  determine the why, how and who - and possibly destroy the latter before "They" destroy her.

Pretty scary stuff, actually, with nary a dull moment in the action. The only downside? It's the first in a series, so expect an up-in-the-air ending. That, I assume, will be rectified with the Jan. 9, 2018, publication of the next installment, The Whispering Room, and of course it's on my calendar. That said, please, Mr. Koontz, could you hurry it up just a little?

And th-th-th-that's all folks, she writes, lest she give away too many secrets Except, that is, to say that as a long-time fan of this author, I was beyond thrilled at the opportunity to read and review an advance copy of this terrific book. Many, many thanks to the publisher (via NetGalley)!

The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz (Bantam, June 2017); 464 pp.

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