Mark R.'s Reviews > Dark Rivers of the Heart

Dark Rivers of the Heart by Dean Koontz
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Aug 27, 2011

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Read from August 27 to September 12, 2011

***1/2

I used to read a lot of books by Dean Koontz when I was a kid, probably ten or twelve by the time I was in college. As I got into more authors and different kinds of books, expanding my boundaries a bit, Koontz books more often than not spent their time on the shelf and not in my hands. But recently I’ve gone back and read a couple, and re-read Hideaway and Dark Rivers of the Heart, my two favorites of his from my teenage years.

Hideaway held up decently, but while reading Dark Rivers of the Heart, I found myself thinking about Mr. Murder or Dragon Tears or Lightning, and wondering what, exactly, I found so exciting about Dark Rivers that I’d place it at the top of the list with Hideaway. It’s a good book, to be sure, but I didn’t find it nearly as thrilling this time around. Could be because I’ve read a number of his novels since then, and am not exactly a stranger to Koontz’ familiar themes and scenarios. The book has a guy driving around in a Jeep/SUV with a goofy dog, on the run from a mysterious government agency. Naturally, he’s got a girl with him, and she’s also on the run.

I believe the sections of the book that appealed to me most as a kid were those dealing with our hero, Spencer Grant’s, connection to his past, to his father and a dark, sick secret Grant’s kept buried in the back of his mind for fifteen years. The revelations regarding that secret are great, mostly kept for the end of the book, to be used in a dark, fairly intense finale.

When the book gets into the how’s and why’s of the nameless government agency hellbent on killing Grant and his friend, Valerie (and the goofy dog, Rocky) I lose a little interest, particularly when computer programs and satellite weaponry come into play. But the darker moments of the books, the “horror scenes,” I guess, really make it, and do, I suppose, put this one ahead of many other Dean Koontz novels.

I may end up going back and re-reading Mr. Murder and Dragon Tears at some point.
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