The Bottom Line: 23andMe meets X-Men. Koontz explores what happens when genetic testing data from a group of extraordinarily gifted people gets into the wrong hands.
Set in Arizona, the hero of Koontz’ latest sci-fi thriller is magazine writer Quinn Quicksilver. All he knows about his lineage is mysterious. He was abandoned at three days old on a desert highway. Raised in an orphanage, never knowing his parents, Quinn had a happy if unexceptional life.
Then a “strange magnetism” compels him to drive out to the middle of nowhere and find a rare coin. Soon, he finds himself on the run by federal agents. Initially perplexed, he has no idea why they’re after him. Through a series of action-based events, he meets beautiful and supernaturally gifted Bridget Rainking and her grandfather, Sparky. Both are also being hunted by federal agents.
Through a series of reveals, Quinn finally understands that the “strange magnetism” he feels is a genetic anomaly that was discovered by government agents after he uploaded a test to a consumer testing service. In the spirit of X-Men and other tales focused around genetic mutants, the feds consider Quinn and those like him a threat to society. What they don’t know is that they are the only ones who can see and eliminate an alien life form that poses a very real threat to humanity.
While Koontz has featured supernaturally gifted people and animals in prior novels, Quicksilver may be the first in which he explores the potential dangers of voluntary genetic testing. Even so, Koontz keeps the book’s tone relatively light, wrapping in plenty of humor and even romance along the way. Quicksilver won’t rank near the top of Koontz’ iconic canon, but it’s a fun ride as we watch Quinn discover the extent of his powers and fight for his life at the same time.