Interview: Dean Koontz Takes Readers On A ‘Techno-Thriller’ Ride In His New ‘Jane Hawk’ Series

Master of suspense Dean Koontz has done it again. Written a new series, that is, a techno-thriller from the darker corners of his imagination.

Meet his latest character, Jane Hawk, introduced in “The Silent Corner” in June and continuing  now in “The Whispering Room” and in next year’s  “The Crooked Staircase” (May).

Jane, 27, is a resourceful, street-savvy FBI agent who takes a leave of absence to investigate the apparent suicide of her husband. What she discovers is a conspiracy at the highest levels of government and the tech industry—an insidious scheme involving nano brain implants that rob people of their will, turning them into virtual slaves or maneuvering them to kill themselves in the most horrific ways.

The action is fast, emotions and tension run high, and there are casualties. Soon the resolute Jane is declared a rogue FBI agent, then becomes the nation’s most wanted fugitive. Readers are right there with her as she ingeniously survives a series of close encounters in her quest to unveil the truth one piece at a time.

At this stage in his 50-year career, Koontz, 72, is writing at his most expressive and compelling as he follows Jane on her calculated yet obsessive journey. As Koontz once told me, “I give my characters free will and see where things will go.” Clearly, there is no stopping Jane Hawk.

Koontz, a former high school English teacher, is the New York Times best-selling author of more than 100 novels (16 made into movies) with 450 million copies in print in 38 languages.

That’s superstar status, yet he chooses to live under the radar (he no longer tours, for instance) in Newport Beach with his wife of 50 years, high-school sweetheart Gerda Ann Cerra, their golden retriever, Anna, and “the enduring spirit”  of their late golden, Trixie.

I asked Koontz about the new series via email. Visit him at www.deankoontz.com and follow him on Twitter: @deankoontz.

Read the full interview @ capradio.org

The various ISBNs of The Whispering Room

Full story below.

TL;DR:
There are four different ISBNs for the trade hardcover of The Whispering Room. They are:

Version 1:
Bantam Trade Hardcover, ISBN: 9780345546807

Version 2:
Target Signed Hardcover, ISBN: 9780525486428

Version 3:
Barnes & Noble / Books-A-Million Online Signed Hardcover, ISBN: 9780525486411

Version 4:
Barnes & Noble In-store Signed Hardcover, ISBN: 9780525486244

The fun part is that they all share the same copyright page with the same ISBN that matches the one on the dust jacket of the un-signed trade hardcover…

The long version:

As with other recent titles like The City, Innocence, and The Sielent Corner, there have been pre-signed copies made available through Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Target. In previous cases, the B&N/BAM copies and the Target copies have each had their own custom ISBN on the dust jackets. This time (and hopefully not previously) there was seemingly another factor: in-store vs. online and Barnes & Noble (and maybe BAM too…?)

Here’s how I cam to discover this:

I pre-ordered everything online. I managed to mistakenly order two copies of the B&N/BAM edition from B&N so when they both arrived I figured that I’d just return one of them for a refund. But, I also noticed that neither of my online-ordered copies had “signed copy” stickers on them and, for maybe the first time ever, I was disappointed in their not being a sticker on the book.

But, I had seen signed copies in my local B&N with stickers so now I wanted to return both of my un-stickered copies and get one w/ a sticker. One return, one exchange. Not wanting to try to explain all of this to my friendly neighborhood bookseller, I figured I’d make two trips, the first for an exchange, the second for a return.

But first I called one of the local stores to make sure they stll had signed copies on hand. I was told they did not, and that no other stored in town did either. Well, I guess I’d return on on this trip, then the other on another trip.  So off to B&N I went…

When I arrived, I took a chance and looked on the front-of-store octagon and found five signed copies! (Bookseller fail.) So, I’m back to my original exchange plan. Signed & sitickered copy in one hand, signed un-stickered copy & receipt in the other, I headed for the cashwrap. A simple exchange the I and the bookseller assumed. But wait! The ISBNs don’t match! (Ok, now my collector’s Spidey-sense is tingling but I’m not going to try to explain this to the bookseller. It’s already too complicated.)

Manager called & more confusion ensues. In the end I get my in-store, signed, and stickered copy and I still have a signed, un-stickered, online copy. Two different ISBNs on the dust jackets. All because I accidentally ordered to copies online in the first place.

(As a follow-up I did find a signed copy in a Target and its ISBN matched the one I ordered online.)

However, I can’t confirm that all online copies weren’t stickered, nor can I confirm that all in-store copies were, nor whether Books-A-Million stores had yet another ISBN. (Thinking no but I no longer have one within a reasonable driving distance to check.)

In the end, here’s hoping that the previous titles didn’t have a unique B&N in-store ISBN as I really don’t want to have to go hunting for copies.

If you know something I don’t about all this, please, as always, leave a comment.

Dean Koontz and the Russian on the Train

The December 2017 / January 2018 issue of Amtrak’s magazine The National contains a new essay by Dean titled “Dean Koontz and the Russian on the Train” about the inspiration behind House of Thunder.

Here’s just a sample:

On one occasion, making the journey alone, I found myself seated beside a personable Russian dressed in a sharp blue suit. I wore bellbottom jeans with decorative buttons, a psychedelic shirt and a suede jacket with fringe. The spirit of the late ’60s still inebriated the nation. A few others on the train looked as foolish as I did, and my Russian seatmate wasn’t put off by my outfit.

Leonid spoke fluent, accented English and was an excellent conversationalist. When riding a train, I usually enjoyed the scenery or read a magazine. Leonid wasn’t the first interesting traveler I’d met, but certainly the most engaging. When he learned I was a writer, he declared, “I have a wonderful story idea for you.”

Luckily, you can read the whole thing online at AmtrakTheNational.com.