In the Heart of the Fire (Nameless Book 1)
Dean Koontz has a new partnership with Amazon.com. He has released six stories today, the Nameless series, available only from Amazon in e-book format. The stories are priced at $1.99 each unless you are a Prime subscriber in which case they are free. They are longer than most short stories but shorter than a novella. Quite similar to the story he released through Amazon last year, Ricochet Joe. These stories will be followed by five full length novels, available only through Amazon, beginning next spring. As a book collector, I am not thrilled with this trend, but the handwriting has been on the wall for a while. I have been a supporter of e-books for a long time. I like the ability to always have a huge amount of reading material on-hand in a very small and light weight format, perfect for travelling. I also appreciate the ease of reading on a high quality e-reader (I have a Kindle Oasis). I am completely spoiled with the instant access to definitions and detailed Wikipedia material. I do still cherish the feel and smell of a book in my hands and the ease of access provided by a bookshelf full of volumes. I guess this will open up an opportunity for specialty publishers to design hardcover versions of e-books, assuming there are enough dinosaurs like me who are willing to shell out money for print versions of books.
The first story in the Nameless series, In the Heart of the Fire, did not disappoint. The main character had some past trauma that has resulted in complete amnesia. He can recall none of his life before two years ago, including his name. He receives digital communications from someone called the Ace of Diamonds who he has never met and does not remember how he first came into contact. Together they form a kind of vigilante squad that seeks out the worst evil in the world and take whatever action necessary to eradicate it. Since the story is so short, there is not much character development. Nameless is a very compelling character, though, and I am hoping we will learn much more about him in the coming stories. In this one, Nameless has been sent to a rural Texas town to take on a sheriff and deputy who are pedophiles and murderers, preying on unsuspecting victims who live in their county or who are just travelling through. The story has many of the hallmarks you come to expect from Koontz. The good and evil are black and white, with the evil being inhumanly terrifying. So far there is just hint of the otherworld as Nameless has flashes of visions, not only of the future, but also of past events where he was not present. And there is a dog: this time a German Shepard. The plot moves at a fast pace and tension build quickly. I read it in on sitting in less than hour. I can imagine that it would be easy to convert these stories to one hour TV shows. It is excellent entertainment. I am looking forward to the next one.