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Dark Rivers of the Heart

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,701 Ratings  ·  330 Reviews
Do you dare step through the red door?
Spencer Grant had no idea what drew him to the bar with the red door. He thought he would just sit down, have a slow beer or two, and talk to a stranger. He couldn't know that it would lead to a narrow escape from a bungalow targeted by a SWAT team. Or that it would leave him a wanted man. Now he is on the run from mysterious and ruth
Paperback, 576 pages
Published August 1st 2000 by Bantam (first published 1994)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nov 02, 2008 Daniella rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only die hard Koontz fans
This book is made of fail.

I tried three separate times to finish reading Dark Rivers, but unfortunately, it simply couldn't hold my interest. At first, it seemed to have all the ear-marks of a fun, fast-paced, suspensful read. A man with a dark secret; a mysterious woman on the run from a secret, amoral government agency; a sociopathic serial killer cum secret government agent hot on their trail--all in all, this book could have been good. Hell, with its incorporation of high technology and cons
Nov 19, 2010 Johnny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matt Barker
Feb 28, 2010 Matt Barker rated it really liked it
Another great book by Dean Koontz. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. The books are great, the humor is welcome, and they usually keep me reading until late into the night.

Publisher's Summary

Spencer Grant had no idea what drew him to the bar with the red door. He thought he would just sit down, have a slow beer or two, and talk to a stranger. He couldn't know that it would lead to a narrow escape from a bungalow targeted by a SWAT team. Or that it would leave him a wanted man.

Jul 16, 2015 Siobhan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m a massive Koontz fan, I love pretty much every book I have read by him, yet I am of the firm belief that his older work is much better than his more recent work. I admit that the Odd Thomas series is my favourite, but collectively his older work scores higher ratings than his more recent work – for me, that is.

So, that means you’re going to hear a number of the same comments about this one as with his other work.

As always, Koontz creates a collection of great characters (yep, even those with
Adam Burton
Jul 25, 2008 Adam Burton rated it did not like it
Ugh. I tried, really tried to like this. A number of friends, whom I consider readers of taste, recommended Koontz. I listened to an audiobook of this. Bleah. I mean, the plot was interesting enough to keep me until the end of the story, but the writing was god-awful. The style kept changing between a stereotypical "taut thriller" no-frills Hemingwayesque voice and this bizarre, baroque, almost delirious pseudo-poetry. Maybe that was a conscious technique (I hope so for his sake), but I found it ...more
Feb 12, 2011 wally rated it it was amazing
Shelves: koontz
heh heh!

there's a blurb, one of many, from the orlando sentinel: "as it appears, george orwell was ten years late, and it is left to dean koontz to add the finishing touches to an orwellian future that is here and now. one of his best novels."

i chuckle because of so many takes i've read from others who flam-beau koontz for his vision...ha ha ha ha! i mean, i've often wondered if when our elected newbies get to where they're going if they're not taken into a room, w/o any windows or doors....wor
Karen San Diego
Definitely my most favorite book - Koontz or not.
Critics of this book (I have just read some of the reviews) are quite understandable.I am a Filipino,but I am also a patronizer of the American politics.Many may say I do not know much,for I don't live under the American government,but they must also remember that this novel is not based on a true story.It's fiction,and everything is real and possible in a work of fiction.They can't criticize a fiction novel using reality as a basis,it's going to
May 20, 2010 Shaun rated it it was amazing
GREAT READ! This one comes highly recommended. also check out From the Corner of His Eye Large Print and Life Expectancy After this sample you will be hooked and will surely want more. This Koontz addiction is like crack.
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
I didn't really like this when I first read it. I recently tried to re-read it with the Koontzland - Dean Koontz group when it was chosen as a group read but I just couldn't get into it so I'm putting it aside.
Rebecca McNutt
Jul 26, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it liked it
Pretty good book, Dean Koontz usually writes very interesting novels. :)
Dark Rivers of the Heart (1994)

There's really not much that could be said about "Dark Rivers" that hasn't been said. It doesn't really break any new background; if you've read Koontz before you won't be surprised by anything.

The protagonist, Spencer Grant (who of course has a haunted past) travels with his dog Rocky (who has good reasons not to dwell on the past too) in search of a woman, Valerie, whom he fell in love with...after chatting with her for 20 minutes in a bar. Spencer arrives at the
Aug 31, 2011 John rated it it was ok
Shelves: thriller
Having read the first 150 pages, I'm officially done with this novel. I usually have good luck with Koontz, but this is one of the exceptions. Reasons why I just can't bring myself to finish it are as follows:

1.) The story is so shrouded in mystery that it's hard to have a good understanding of what's happening and why. I'm sure it eventually all becomes clear, but I find it hard to get into a story when I don't even know the motivation of the main character.

2.) The cheese factor. Dean Koontz is
Dec 02, 2013 Bob rated it did not like it
Dark Rivers of the Heart is a monumental test of human endurance. It gets so boring by the halfway point that any sane reader would drink liquid cyanide before bringing themselves to finish this book. At first it seems interesting. Agency and high tech stuff, what could go wrong? Everything. I wouldn't be surprised if the editor face rolled the keyboard somewhere near page 562. The combination of this book’s terrible quality and it being a required reading, with deadlines, creates a nightmare fo ...more
Ally Atherton
Dec 20, 2011 Ally Atherton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One man walks into a bar with a red door, looking for the woman who could save his life. The same man is walking around with a scar and the weight of the world on his shoulders. Spencer Grant is trying desperately to forget his past but also to remember the one thing that is stopping him from moving on. The day he walks through the red door is the same day he finds himself being hunted by men in helicopters and on a perilous journey for his life through Las Vegas and the over stretched arms of t ...more
May 15, 2015 Jesse rated it it was amazing
I read this book several times as a teenager and it remains one of my favorite Koontz books. Tons of adventure, suspense, unexpected plot twists and two protagonists I really liked...and some antagonists who were entertainingly malicious.

The romance angle seems a bit unrealistic by today's standards, but it is admittedly realistic when it comes to the loneliness that so many people feel, going through their everyday lives, searching for someone to share it all with. That's a recurring theme in a
Carol Brannigan
I have mixed feelings on this particular Koontz novel. On the positive side it's actually a decent read (when compared to newer Koontz novels) and has a nice pace.

The negative aspects I noticed:
a) Cliche' cat and mouse chase
b) Heroes characters that are all good
c) Villain characters that are all bad
d) Repetition in novels of plot devices (i.e- a major plot element in this novel I can list about 7 other Koontz novels that use the same device)

I think that Koontz tends to lend his main characters
Aug 07, 2012 Melissa rated it it was amazing
I have not read a Dean Koontz book for years and I loved it! The story is slowly revealed bringing past present and future into play all to the end of the book with a climatic ending, and unlike many books of this nature, it is not all together predictable in what will happen. The characters are all very interesting and intriguing. I enjoyed many of the tid bits of information that were related to true events added to the story and the info at the end of the book really added to the ending, maki ...more
Mar 24, 2013 Maria rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mystery/Suspense fans
Shelves: suspense
Dean Koontz has done it again. I have a love/hate relationship with most of his books. He reaches out and grabs you by the throat and drags you through the white-knuckle adventure and doesn't let you go until the last page. His writing is so much more spell-binding than other people in his genre. The "hate" part is that I can't get anything done when I'm engrossed in his books. My business goes to pot, my house doesn't get cleaned. And after I escape, wrung-out and exhausted, I look around and a ...more
Aug 07, 2009 Raesaun rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Raesaun by: friend
I think the movement of the story was pretty cool. Though I do feel bad for the past that Spencer had. Just sad.

The good thing is that it all gets a little better in the end.

Koontz is a great writer, but after reading a few books, it gets a bit boring that he has the whole "its-almost-the-same-as-my-last-story-but-with-a-few-changes-in-character-and-situation-maybe-a-pinch-of-spirituality-for-fun-and-maybe-a-change-in-city-or-state" thing he's got going on.

But otherwise, he's awesome.

Like supe
Dec 29, 2015 J. rated it it was ok
A protagonist (Spencer Grant) who never really satisfies as a character and an antagonist (Roy Miro) who is more cartoonish than believable create a drawn-out, over explained drag of a book accented by a conspiracy-nutter plot.

Spencer Grant is, of course, an ex Special Forces, computer expert who has a very disturbing past, which the author plays with through-out the book. Unfortunately, if you have ever read a book or seen a movie in the past forty years you will figure it all out in the first
Nov 17, 2015 Bdb777 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. this one turned me on to Dean koontz, and also set the bar so high that frankly his other ones paled. What I found was this seemed atypical (though I didn't know it at the time) -- more koontz I read, it seemed formulaic, which is why unfortunately I'm not "shelving" other books of his, though I know I've read them: they all blurred together-- some creepy loner psycho stalks and kidnaps someone and its a thriller of how they find him, or how he gets away, or.. meh. I fo ...more
Dec 31, 2014 JBradford rated it really liked it
The novel is pure Koontz: a pure hero, a beautiful heroine with a heart of gold, and a more than lovable dog — all caught up in an impossible adventure as they try to get away from the forces aligned against them, with subplots from their past gradually becoming visible as explanations of how they came to wind up in this situation.

This book is unusual for Koontz in that this time there is nothing supernatural occurring in it, but there is the usual amount of tense drama as the protagonist finds
Victoria Gonzales
Dec 16, 2014 Victoria Gonzales rated it it was amazing
My family are big Dean Koontz fans and to tell you the truth I didn't think much about Koontz until I got bored and had nothing to read after I got my mom her new Koontz book Innocence and saw this one what our dogs had gotten into and decided to read it. I fell in love with this book on the first chapter and Dean Koontz is one of my favorite authors. His book was full of twist and turns to where you are caught in the book every time you will be losing interest he throws something into the book ...more
J.S. Bailey
Sep 23, 2011 J.S. Bailey rated it it was amazing
While I thought this book was off to a slow start, the pace picked up to such speed that I could hardly put it down! I especially enjoyed Spencer's flashbacks because they were described in such a way that I almost felt as if I were there while he learned the terrible truth about...Well, I won't spoil that for all of you who haven't read it yet! Overall, this was a very enjoyable read. I would recommend this for fans of suspense and government conspiracy theories. It makes you wonder...
Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount)
The best part of this book is the conspiracy theory theme. The characters are annoying, with the attractive female characters far over-described and the male characters left almost blank, as if the reader need not know what the protagonist and his arch enemy look like. There is a lot of filler- unnecessary detail, wordy and momentum-killing descriptions of every scene, and too little plot structure, so that one might easily miss the central plotline and get bogged down in the rest of the dead-we ...more
Feb 01, 2013 Corey rated it liked it
This was a pretty good book, I didn't think it was Koontz's best work, but it's worth reading if you like him. It didn't seem to be much of a horror novel but more of a chase novel, it's about a man named Spencer Grant who meets a woman who is on the run from a corrupt top secret organization who wants her dead. Spencer also starts to have memories from his dark past and he tries to remember.

In a way this book kind of reminds me of the Jason Bourne films.
Jo Ann
May 18, 2012 Jo Ann rated it really liked it
Besides a compelling plot and believable and sympathetic characters, this novel has a deeper meaning. It is a type of cautionary tale of a government gone awry, and fascists enabled by technology to control those they have promised to serve. When this was written in 1994 the Branch Davidian fiasco and the massacre at Ruby Ridge had occurred. I was starting to realize that the government was not my friend, something that Mr. Koontz knew and expressed so vividly.
Stacie Morgan
Mar 06, 2014 Stacie Morgan rated it it was amazing
I don't read a whole lot of Dean Koontz books because they often times deal with really wierd situations that give me the heebie-jeebies (and I don't like having the heebie-jeebies), so I choose his books with care. While this story did make me cringe with the demented, whacked-out sense of "compassion" held by Roy Miro, I still enjoyed the story. I really liked Spencer Grant but found it a little difficult believing his "love" and attraction for Valerie/Ellie. The "why" behind it wasn't delved ...more
Rj Roles
A solid 3.5, good not great.
Apr 13, 2016 FDeroche rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
Unlike most Koontz book's of terror, this is thriller and romance (many characters keeps second plots interesting, e.g. Penelope and Sam Bettonfield). Spencer Grant (detective) saves but then needs to find Valerie Keene, the dream woman he has always wanted. Spencer does not know why the SWAT team is after Valarie and him. Why does Special agent (murderer) Roy Miro believe killing Valarie will make the world a better place to live?
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Acknowledged as "America's most popular suspense novelist" (Rolling Stone) and as one of today's most celebrated and successful writers, Dean Ray Koontz has earned the devotion of millions of readers around the world and the praise of critics everywhere for tales of character, mystery, and adventure that strike to the core of what it means to be human.

Dean R. Koontz has also published under the na
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“They said there was no rest for the wicked. In fact, there was rest neither for the virtuous nor the wicked, nor for guys like Billy, who were uncommitted regarding the whole idea of virtue versus wickedness and who were just trying to do their jobs.” 8 likes
“Greater self-awareness,” he’d told Rocky on a night when sleep wouldn’t come, “doesn’t make a species any happier, pal. If it did, we’d have fewer psychiatrists and barrooms...” 3 likes
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