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Not Bad First Story in Nameless Series...There's a Dog

In the Heart of the Fire - Dean Koontz

Not a bad first book in the series. Just a bit too new Koontz for me. I was hoping for some horror, but this one will do. There's a damn dog, but at least it's not a golden retriever. And for once the dog didn't have super powers. I think that the flow after a bit was a bit off. And I think that Nameless felt like a hybrid of Odd Thomas and a few Koontz heroes mixed in. At least this guy doesn't seem to be a former military man with the ability to just shoot people in like five seconds. I will say that the idea behind this is intriguing and some of the beats the story takes are really good. Koontz has put out a short story collection that I thought was really good in the past, and you can see some of that still here. 


"In the Heart of the Fire" is the first book sets up the premise of a lone man with a network of allies who can see the past and future. Using that he seems to be going around to root out evil. This first book has Nameless helping a widowed woman (Jenny) with a young boy and girl. A corrupt sheriff (Soakes) and deputy seem to have a yen for young girls and Nameless knows if he doesn't get involved the whole family can be wiped out.


Not too much to say about Nameless. He can't remember his past, but has a special ability to see the past and future. And he knows sometimes he can't change what is shown to him in the future. He is working with a group/people called Ace of Diamonds and a person called Ace. I assume that Nameless's ability has been tested so they know that the people they target are evil and are fine with doing what they have to in order to ensure other's safety. I am curious how Nameless got this ability though and hope that gets shown eventually.

I liked the character of Jenny and thought her doing what she could to keep her family safe was admirable. Though there are mentions of what Soakes and his acolyte have done to young girls, it's not spelled out explicitly to readers. I am quite okay with that. Soakes reminds me a bit of Koontz villains from the past. They all seem to talk like dime store bad guys and have the most ridiculous thoughts. 


The writing is typical Koontz, low on horror for those who are hoping. This seems firmly mystery, thriller, and suspense. The flow was off a bit at the beginning, but gets interesting as you have Jenny recount her story. After that things get a bit slow again. 


The setting of this town in Texas where Soakes rules at times feels oppressive. Koontz describes the heat and the solitary nature of the homes and people. You can see quite easily how some family's can disappear. 


I thought the ending was great, but wanted more something to occur. It just seemed a bit too easy. 


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