The Silent Corner
by Dean Koontz
HarperCollins

There is more than an occasional hint of Jack Reacher in Dean Koontz’s new heroine, Jane Hawk: she is self-sufficient, excellent at fighting and off the grid, though unlike Reacher not by choice. After her husband takes his own life, leaving a cryptic note, Hawk takes a leave of absence from the FBI to investigate the case. Discovering an epidemic of “suicides”, she stashes her son with friends, buries her fear beneath righteous rage and enters the “Silent Corner”: that nearly impossible modern hiding place where technology can’t reach. Then she finds unstable techno whizz Bertold Shenneck, who has been fooling about with mind-control nano-gizmos that turn innocent humans into Manchurian Candidates (a novel that is referenced through a nice allusion to “Rayshaws”).

Koontz is a strange blockbuster author, who values humour and style almost as much as car chases (or as happens here, a chase by roller skate) and designer brands. It’s great fun, but cut with unmistakable melancholy. And Hawk – frightened, angry and very capable – may just be a heroine for our times.