In the Heart of the Fire, a Hot New Thriller by Dean Koontz

The Bottom Line: Koontz’ experiment with short-format fiction is a spectacular success.

In a departure not only for Koontz but also for the publishing industry, the legendary author has just dropped six books in the new “Nameless” series. In the audiobook version, narrated by Edoardo Ballerini, the length is just about long enough for an average commute. The first story in the series creeps up on you, starting as casual observance before dropping in to pack a serious punch.

In the story, a bloodthirsty sheriff is terrorizing a small Texas town where justice has been buried with his victims. Until Nameless arrives – a vigilante whose past is a mystery and whose future is written in blood.

Anyone who crosses Sheriff Russell Soakes is dead, missing, or warned. One of them is a single mother trying to protect her children but bracing herself for the worst. Nameless fears the outcome. He’s seen it in his visions. Now it’s time to teach the depraved Soakes a lesson in fear. But in turning predators into prey, will Nameless unearth a few secrets of his own?

While Edoardo Ballerini’s narrative style feels unemotional and distant given the intense subject matter, it also allows Koontz’ prose to shine. Highly recommended.

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