February 21, 2015

Dark Rivers of the Heart by Dean Koontz

Title:  Dark Rivers of the Heart
Author:  Dean Koontz
Pages:  487
Genre:  Thriller
Publisher:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1994
Series:  None
"..But I've always walked the line, walked that goddamned line.  It's a mean mother of a line, straight and narrow, sharp as a razor, cuts right into you when you walk it long enough."
Synopsis:  A man and a woman - she is a figure of mystery; he is a mystery even to himself - meet by chance in a Santa Monica bar.  Suddenly - first separately, and then together - they are fleeing the long arm of a clandestine and increasingly powerful renegade government agency:  the woman hunted for the information she possesses, the man mistaken as her comrade in a burgeoning resistance movement.

The architect of the chase is a man of uncommon madness and cruelty, ruthless, possibly psychotic, and equipped with a vast technological arsenal: untraceable access to the government's electronic information banks, its surveillance systems, weaponry, and material. He is the brazen face of an insidiously fascistic future. And he is virtually unstoppable.

But he has never before come up against the likes of his current quarry. Both of them - survivors of singularly horrific pasts - have lived hidden, nomadic, solitary lives. Both have learned to expect "savagery as surely as sunrises and sunsets." Both have long been emboldened by their experiences to fight with reckless courage for their own freedom. Now, they are plunged into a struggle for the freedom of their country, and for the sanctity of their own lives.

Once again, in Dark Rivers of the Heart, Dean Koontz has given us an electrifying thriller, a feat of the imagination that steers us just along the razor edge of a familiar, terrifying reality. It is the work of a master suspense storyteller writing at the pinnacle of his form.

Review:  The most terrifying part of this story is that it could so easily be true.  Asset forfeiture laws exist.  I'm fairly sure secret agencies exist within our government.  I'm positive that cover-ups take place regularly within the government, the military, the police forces, and etc.  It is not so far fetched to believe, given the right motivation, that any one of these authorities might come after innocent citizens, just to keep an especially explosive secret from becoming public knowledge.

As with most of the work by Mr. Koontz, this was fast-paced and hard to put down.  There were several intertwining story lines and all of them held my interest.  The only possible downside to what is a very good book is its age.  Some of the high tech described in the story is pretty much old and outdated news now.  We are so far past dialing into a modem that some of the technology in the story seems almost quaint, although some of it is still more advanced than the average reader would own.  And some of it, I surely hope doesn't really exist.

That aside, it was a fun read and well worth the time.  It left me feeling a little less safe in our civilized society and made me think hard about what could - and has - happened in this country.

Rating:  7.5 / 10

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