I know Dean doesn’t like to be pegged to a particular genre, but in all the years that I’ve been reading his work, I’ve found that in most cases, each novel falls into one of five categories: Science Fiction (Dark Symphony, Demon Seed, Lightning), Suspense (Whispers, House of Thunder, Key to Midnight), Horror (Watchers, Shadowfires, 77 Shadow Street), Fantastics (Odd Thomas, From the Corner of His Eye), and Thrillers (The Face of Fear, Shattered, Dark Rivers of the Heart.) Sure, there are exceptions (Hanging On) and you can quibble with me on even some of my examples, but in the end, the horror is my favorite followed by the thrillers in a very close second. The Silent Corner is a thriller in the best Dean Koontz style, and one I finished in just a few sittings.
The thrillers don’t have monsters, nothing supernatural, aren’t preachy, and usually have someone chasing after the main character. The tech involved is real although some it may be stretched a bit into the future for dramatic effect. The Silent Corner is a thriller and the first in a trilogy all centered around FBI Agent Jane Hawk, currently on leave looking into a conspiracy that she believes led her husband, and many others, to commit suicide. Throw in drones, armored vehicles, and a form of mind control and you’ll be buckled in for the ride.
As a librarian I do have one additional praise and one criticism that I do want to get on the record. First, Jane uses public libraries on a regular basis to have untraceable Internet access. Kudos to Dean for getting this one right. However, another character, caught looking at porn in a library, defended his doing so with the following:
“Look, I work with various concerned groups in the city. We try to set things right where we can. It took a while to get libraries to block the nasty websites so kids couldn’t get on them. Now and then a librarian or somebody decides it’s a free-speech issue and opens the lid on the sewer. I was told that branch was backsliding. I had to see for myself. Today, the lid’s back on, kids are safe.”
The issue of porn on library computers just isn’t that simple and I hope Dean doesn’t actually think it is.
In the end, if you’re a fan of Dean’s thrillers you’re going to love The Silent Corner and I expect the sequels when they arrive.