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Nameless: Season One #1

In the Heart of the Fire

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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?

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz comes In the Heart of the Fire, part of Nameless, a riveting collection of short stories about a vigilante nomad, stripped of his memories and commissioned to kill. Follow him in each story, which can be read or listened to in a single sitting.

62 pages, Kindle Edition

First published November 12, 2019

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About the author

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, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirit of their goldens, Trixie and Anna.

Facebook: Facebook.com/DeanKoontzOfficial
Twitter: @DeanKoontz
Website: DeanKoontz.com

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5 stars
19,805 (43%)
4 stars
15,880 (34%)
3 stars
7,276 (15%)
2 stars
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1,266 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,401 reviews
Profile Image for Peter.
2,493 reviews450 followers
May 10, 2020
I didn't read a Dean Koontz novella for ages and quite liked this one. Fast paced, with a shot of supernatural mystery, a psychic investor without memory (he goes by the name of Nameless) drives to Worstead County. He plans to eliminate a psychopath and child molester. What is the problem in his task? And why is the job so dangerous? Dean Koontz sends you on an intriguing journey with "Ben Shepherd" (the name Nameless uses). Will he succeed and defeat a mighty enemy? Compelling action meets crime meets clairvoyant. If you're looking for a perfect blend of supernatural and crime you should take a look at this easy and quick to read novella. Enjoyed it and will read the next novella of this six volumes series. Glad to be back with Dean Koontz. Recommended!
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,068 reviews2,666 followers
December 4, 2022
In the Heart of the Fire (Nameless: Season One #1)
by Dean Koontz, Edoardo Ballerini (Narrator)

In late November several of us learned that our very good friend, Pat, from Australia, had died in her sleep. For years Pat has been a part of my everyday life, with us becoming friends through talk of books, dogs, rural living and other things, until those things didn't matter anymore. We were friends because we were friends. So I've decided to listen to a short story series in her honor although I'm breaking from her usual habit of starting a series midway, often without knowing it was part of a series, until she was already midway into the book. There are a lot of things we call "pulling a Pat" or a "Pat-ism" and I'm glad we'll have so many ways to remember her.

I've never read Dean Koontz, behind the times that I can so often be, but I know that Pat liked this author a lot. So this review is the first of a six part series that I'm listening to (in order, sorry to be so common Pat...ha ha) knowing how much fun it would be to discuss it with Pat. It is truly possible to make good friends on the internet and I'll miss chatting with Pat during my sleepless nights that were her Aussie days.

This story shows a small town in my state of Texas in a bad light, with an extremely corrupt sheriff doing terrible things to others because he can. As far as he's concerned, he owns this this small town, the people in it, and the people who pass through it. Heck, he's decided he owns whatever he wants to take from surrounding areas, too. But now there is a man who will set the future right, even if he can't change the past. The man is literally nameless, not able to remember farther back than two years, only knowing this life of a vigilante nomad, with assignments to avenge and kill coming from another unknown person. I couldn't help wanting him to have the greatest of success because his failure would allow bad things to continue.

This six book series is called Nameless and I was able to download the audiobook with my Kindle Unlimited subscription. Edoardo Ballerini is a favorite narrator of mine and I didn't even realize he was narrating until the audiobook started. I'm looking forward to Nameless's next assignment, he was already on the way there when this first book ended.
Profile Image for Sandra.
659 reviews6 followers
March 30, 2022
“Nameless, a vigilante nomad, stripped of his memories and commissioned to kill.”

In the first story of this series, “In the Heart of the Fire”, we see Nameless visit a woman (Jennifer) who has two children. A corrupt and sleazy sheriff (Soakes) is pretending interest in Jennifer when he is really interested in her ten-year-old daughter, Seraphina. It is up to Nameless to take down the creepy cop.

I really enjoyed this short-story. I felt sorry for the victims of Sheriff Soakes and I was looking forward to Soakes getting what he deserved in the end. Nameless was an interesting and likable character. He is clairvoyant and can see the past, and the future, at times.

I’m looking forward to reading other stories in this series.
Profile Image for Kat (Books are Comfort Food).
235 reviews239 followers
April 30, 2021
I didn’t realize that this was such a quick read & listen, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s well-written and kept me interested.

“Nameless” is a character who is hired by an organization, which is as untraceable as he is.

”This is his life: confrontation with the darkness that has nothing to do with an absence of light.”

Nameless tours the US, wherever he is hired to go, rectifying the wrongs of evil. Not quite vigilante, as only the scum of the earth, is punished.

I love that justice is served on some level. And in this book, the beautiful German Shepherd, is NOT harmed. Yay for Mr. Koonz. ❤️

I’m definitely going on to the next read, Nameless: Photographing the Dead.
Profile Image for Char .
1,614 reviews1,464 followers
December 22, 2019
I was expecting a dog, a good guy and a bad guy. I got all 3- but in spite of that, I liked this short story.

The above is the reason I quit reading Koontz in the first place. It seemed to me that all of his books were the same. After WATCHERS and a few other Koontz books made me quickly fall in love with him, the re-use of that same formula over and over again made me fall out of love with him, just as quickly.

I like the mystery surrounding Nameless, and I'm in to see what happens next.
Profile Image for Constantine.
808 reviews128 followers
November 29, 2019

Rating: 3.5/5.0

Mystery Thriller + Short Story

A good start for a series. We follow a nameless character, I think he calls himself nameless too! He is a vigilante though he rejects to be called that. Ace of Diamonds (Another unknown character) gives him this mission to take down a corrupt cop.

The story is linear but has lots of mystery to it. Of course, we don't get answers to who Nameless is and why is he doing what he is doing. It makes things more intriguing to start the next book in the series. It was an entertaining short thriller. It makes one wonder where the next events will lead the main character.

Available on Kindle Unlimited
Profile Image for Tim.
2,109 reviews192 followers
July 11, 2020
Another short story that seems so. 3 of 10 stars
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,707 reviews928 followers
February 14, 2020
Not a bad first book in the series. Just a bit too new Koontz for me. I was hoping for some horror, but this one will do. There's a damn dog, but at least it's not a golden retriever. And for once the dog didn't have super powers. I think that the flow after a bit was a bit off. And I think that Nameless felt like a hybrid of Odd Thomas and a few Koontz heroes mixed in. At least this guy doesn't seem to be a former military man with the ability to just shoot people in like five seconds. I will say that the idea behind this is intriguing and some of the beats the story takes are really good. Koontz has put out a short story collection that I thought was really good in the past, and you can see some of that still here.

"In the Heart of the Fire" is the first book sets up the premise of a lone man with a network of allies who can see the past and future. Using that he seems to be going around to root out evil. This first book has Nameless helping a widowed woman (Jenny) with a young boy and girl. A corrupt sheriff (Soakes) and deputy seem to have a yen for young girls and Nameless knows if he doesn't get involved the whole family can be wiped out.

Not too much to say about Nameless. He can't remember his past, but has a special ability to see the past and future. And he knows sometimes he can't change what is shown to him in the future. He is working with a group/people called Ace of Diamonds and a person called Ace. I assume that Nameless's ability has been tested so they know that the people they target are evil and are fine with doing what they have to in order to ensure other's safety. I am curious how Nameless got this ability though and hope that gets shown eventually.

I liked the character of Jenny and thought her doing what she could to keep her family safe was admirable. Though there are mentions of what Soakes and his acolyte have done to young girls, it's not spelled out explicitly to readers. I am quite okay with that. Soakes reminds me a bit of Koontz villains from the past. They all seem to talk like dime store bad guys and have the most ridiculous thoughts.

The writing is typical Koontz, low on horror for those who are hoping. This seems firmly mystery, thriller, and suspense. The flow was off a bit at the beginning, but gets interesting as you have Jenny recount her story. After that things get a bit slow again.

The setting of this town in Texas where Soakes rules at times feels oppressive. Koontz describes the heat and the solitary nature of the homes and people. You can see quite easily how some family's can disappear.

I thought the ending was great, but wanted more something to occur. It just seemed a bit too easy.
Profile Image for Ginger.
738 reviews340 followers
January 24, 2021
Oh hello, Dean Koontz. It's been awhile.

Back in my early 20s, I was on a huge Koontz book kick. I read every Koontz book that I could get my grubby hands on.
And it's so nice to read his work again!

In the Heart of the Fire is the first book in the Nameless series.
Each book is a short story about the character Ben Shepherd. That's the name that he's given himself due to amnesia.

Ben doesn't know who he was in his past but now he's a vigilante nomad that goes after the worst of the worst. He's a contract killer who gets the job done and it looks like he's got some sort of psychic ability as well!

I thought In the Heart of the Fire was a good start to the series with this character along with who he's working for.
As a reader you have lots of questions in this first book in the series. I hope that some of them will be answered as the series progresses.

In the first book, Ben aka Nameless goes after Sheriff Russell Soake, a despicable psychopath that terrorizes a small town in Texas.
Soake is a terrible, terrible person and I was super happy with how the book finished, along with how Soake was taken care of.

And yes, avid Koontz fans, there is a dog in this first book! 😉🤣😂

I'm looking forward to getting to the next book and finishing this series!
Profile Image for Richard.
1,764 reviews146 followers
January 25, 2020
A clever idea for a protagonist.
Ace of Diamonds is an agency outside of the law, but what side of justice do they take. Nameless is their agent but is he a gun for hire or a vigilante one man army.
In a well orchestrated operation this guy alights from a bus and follows his preplanned instructions. Since this is the first in a series of short stories we do not know if he is light or dark. However, his status as an agent is bizarre as amnesia and a lack of memories makes him almost an automaton.
Fortunately he is good at following his brief and in his conversations his humanity comes through in empathy and determination to right a wrong.
So we have a hero and in this first case we have in coming up against the county Sheriff - what chance one man against the law?
Horrible crimes are uncovered with little chance of a conviction unless someone rats him out. Nameless carries out his work in a cross between the A Team, Charlie’s Angels and Mission Impossible.
Accomplished author; good route into his work. Clever base for a series. Great to see how the ‘sting’ unfolds and the psychological means deployed. The bit with the dog is both a telling moment in the final outcome and a realistic piece on the threat of animals, especially when trained by evil men.
Profile Image for Deb.
312 reviews68 followers
March 22, 2020
This is a real page turner, fast and exciting. The Dean Koontz style I love.
Profile Image for Juli.
1,859 reviews473 followers
January 14, 2020
He is called Nameless. He doesn't remember his name or his past. The man is a wanderer, a whisp of smoke, a force to be reckoned with that will be forgotten after he leaves. He is a killer....but only of those who need killing. He receives assignments from a person known only as Ace of Diamonds. And then he kills. Quick. Clean. No trace left behind.

In this first Nameless story, the target is a pedophile sheriff. He has been victimizing people for a long time, destroying the proof of his deeds. Nameless comes to town to make him pay.

There are six stories in the Nameless series. The tales are short and easily read (or listened to) in one go. The series is included with Prime Reading, Kindle Unlimited and Audible Originals. I chose to listen to the audio version. Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini, the audio is just over 1.5 hours long. It was an easy listening length to enjoy while preparing breakfast for the family and dropping everyone off at work and school. Great start to a series....I'm anxious to learn what happens in the rest of the stories!

I like these collections of Amazon Original Stories. They are perfect length for listening to in one session and there are a variety of topics...true crime, dystopian apocalypse, the future, climate change, family secrets and more. I also like the fact that the audible narration is included with the KU or Prime Reading ebook. Perfect length for casual listening.

I'm definitely going to listen to the rest of this collection. Suspenseful, entertaining and an interesting take on the vigilante assassin plot.
Profile Image for Michael Hicks.
Author 35 books430 followers
December 23, 2019
My review of IN THE HEART OF THE FIRE can be found at High Fever Books.

I used to be a voracious reader of Dean Koontz back in the 90s and early part of the 2000s, but fell off the bandwagon around the time By the Light of the Moon and a string of other clunkers came out and he traded the intriguing and unfinished Christopher Snow series for the much too-earnest and goofball comedy of Odd Thomas. Koontz was growing increasingly saccharine and annoying at the turn of the century, putting a particular emphasis on, if not full-blown worshipfulness of, dogs. It got to the point, for me, that his books became quasi-religious and overly-mystical treatises on the magic, beauty, and healing powers of dogs. It was all dogs, all the time. I had to step away from the author and his peculiar nonsense, going cold turkey after a string of disappointments. Still, every now and then, I got the urge to check in on him, see what he was up to, and maybe Google him to see if he’d started a dog worshiping cult yet. With his recent publishing deal through Amazon, and the simultaneous release of the six novellas comprising the Nameless series, it seemed like a good time to see what was going on for the first time since 2006’s The Face.

In the Heart of the Fire is mostly a solid, and surely disposable, bit of entertainment. It’s the kind of story that doesn’t ask of lot of the author, mostly because it’s a highly slimmed-down reduction of the highly formulaic stories Koontz has been telling for decades now, nor does it ask much of the reader besides an hour or so of attention and a lack of better things to read. Even then, you could mentally check out for a few pages at a time and not really miss much here. The character of Nameless, dubbed so because of the amnesia that has wiped out all but the last two years of his memory, is basically Koontz’s high-tech, supernatural version of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher or a far less engaging riff on the old Lance Henriksen show, Millennium. He’s a clairvoyant nomad, working for a secret organization that relies on superior computer hacking skills to deliver justice outside the reach of the law.

In this introduction to Nameless, he’s traveled to a small Texas town under the iron fist of Sheriff Russel Soakes, a pedophile. Soakes has targeted a single mother, intent on snatching her child for his version of fun in his underground playroom. Those who have crossed paths with Soakes have gone missing, and Nameless is in town to put an end to his predatory reign.

Coming in at only 62 pages, In the Heart of the Fire is quick and easy read, and features some of Koontz’s familiar, well-worn staples: there’s the hi-tech, cutting edge shenanigans, a supremely smart and repulsive villain, and it takes him all of 13 short paragraphs to drop in his first mention of a dog. And, of course, a dog figures into the story, but, surprisingly, not in a front heavy, scene stealing role, nor as a divine, magical, alien, or genetically engineered dog there to save humanity. Koontz also manages to keep his intrusive and goofy New Age-y Catholic sentimentality out of the plot, although his card-carrying Republican beliefs do seep in a bit early on, like when Nameless reminds a woman victimized by Soakes that the country is "crawling with psychotic gangsters from Central America" and little more than a page later the pedophile villain is described "an enlightened progressive lawman." Although these tiny instances of Koontz’s politicking are small, they were enough to get me Googling whether or not he’s a Trump supporter who went all-in on PizzaGate. I couldn’t find anything conclusive on those fronts, and despite this read not being particularly great, I suppose I’ll give book two a shot just for the hell of it, in the hopes there’s actually something worthwhile to sink into.

So, this introduction to Nameless isn’t particularly good, but it’s not entirely bad either, so it’s a perfectly middle-of-the-read, unenthusiastic three stars. It’s one of those book’s that’s just kind of there and has been done better elsewhere by plenty of other writers. If you’re looking for something you can read with your brain parked in neutral, I suppose you could do a lot worse than In the Heart of the Fire. Of course, you could also do a hell of a lot better, and frankly that’s been true of Koontz books for going on two decades now.
Profile Image for Jim C.
1,491 reviews28 followers
December 22, 2019
This book is a short story and is part of a series of short stories. In this one, we follow the main character, Nameless, as he helps a woman protect her children from a sheriff of a local county who likes little children. Nameless has the power to see the future and he is associated with an organization that gives him resources to help his mission.

I liked this first story of this series but I wasn't blown away. I think I will enjoy the subsequent books because this short story was part set up and getting into the series. I have been reading Dean Koontz for over thirty years and I believe this factored into my rating. I felt like this was nothing new and I have been here before with him. Everything was fine. The characters were fine, the dialogue was your typical Dean Koontz dialogue, a dog was involved in a scene, and you will despise the antagonist. I did like the ending which I thought was a little darker than I am use to with Koontz.

I do think this series has potential and I am looking forward to the next book. I do think it did not help releasing six of these related books as short stories and not releasing it as one novel. I believe this is only available at Amazon and it smells like something they cooked up. I am hoping the more time I spend with Nameless and find out about his mystery the more I end up enjoying these short stories.
Profile Image for NILTON TEIXEIRA.
790 reviews246 followers
December 1, 2019
Well... this short story of only 62 pages was not very well developed and It’s a bit confusing. Too many names involved in a very short time. And the story wasn’t that engaging. I thought I was reading 162 pages.
There are some good moments. Actually, the best parts are when the main character has visions of occurrences in the future or from the past.
This is the first of a series of short stories, especially for Amazon. As I’m a Amazon Prime subscriber, I have access to this series (and several other authors) at no extra charge). If I had to purchase a copy of this novella I would have felt extremely disappointed.
Although I did not enjoy this one, I’m looking forward to reading the next episode, hoping that it will get better.
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,498 reviews2,315 followers
December 4, 2019
In the Heart of the Fire
Nameless, Book 1
By: Dean Koontz
Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
Nameless deals with a corrupt Sheriff and associate. Dozens of missing people, mostly young girls, have gone missing since the Sheriff came into power. Great story and narration.

Profile Image for Henry.
611 reviews27 followers
January 4, 2020
Good Start

This is a good beginning to the "Nameless" series by the very prolific Dean Koontz. You will not be disappointed.
1,641 reviews33 followers
February 9, 2020
4.5 Stars rounded up to 5 Stars. Woo! This guy Nameless really intrigues me. Sort of a Jason Bourne type (trained assassin with amnesia) except the organization he is working for at least at this point seems to be working for good and their goal is to discharge justice against evil. There is even a Charlie handler type as in Charlie's Angels named Ace of Diamonds who texts instructions instead of calls. Okay I'm hooked onto the next installment.
Profile Image for RM(Alwaysdaddygirl).
456 reviews68 followers
June 17, 2020
5 stars.

Very short book but a page turner. It is a gruesome subject. The author unique and wonderful writing style makes this book a winner plus the ending. These were two evil villains that show proof that evil does exist in this world. I look forward to the next book in this series! I plan to reread down the road.


Profile Image for Lisazj1.
2,072 reviews146 followers
January 11, 2020
4.5 stars! If every one of these snippets *too damn short* are like this, I’m going to love this series! I really like Nameless already. I want to know more about him too but at the same time, I kind of don’t mind knowing him just as we do.

I don’t know who’s pulling Nameless’s strings but they’re kind of my heroes. Justice is sweet.

Great narration as well, and I’m already into the next one! ❤️
Profile Image for Laura.
618 reviews121 followers
December 4, 2019
Well written beginning to the Nameless series. The two main themes in my mind are absolute power corrupts and karma is a b*tch. Though the story is dark, it's not graphic in a way that horrifies.
Profile Image for ♥Sharon♥.
957 reviews143 followers
February 2, 2020
Oooh I think I’ve stumbled upon a great series of short reads! Interested in this guy Nameless. 🤔🤔
Profile Image for jenny✨.
563 reviews781 followers
October 12, 2020
There is no turning back. This is his life: confrontation with the darkness that has nothing to do with an absence of light.

After reading Kin and now In the Heart of the Fire, I've come to realize that I LOVE reading about Bermuda Triangle-esque settings—a region in which folks disappear without a trace, a predator lurking in plain sight, all of this occurring for years.

I also love when justice is served to these predators, which is certainly true for the villains in Kin and in this novella. I'm giving this 3 stars because I liked the prose and Nameless' character (his clairvoyance was a neat touch), but I felt like the stakes could've been higher (Nameless very conveniently has an omniscient secret contact who supplies him with all the info and techy gear any vigilante could possibly need).

My first Dean Koontz, but I don't think it'll be my last!
Profile Image for Armand Rosamilia.
Author 240 books2,742 followers
November 26, 2019
Gritty and slightly different from what I'm used to from Koontz, which is a good thing. I love how lately his work keeps me guessing, and he's not afraid to go really dark, which I enjoyed. On to the next one!
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