Cold Fire by Dean Koontz

In December last year, I picked up the 1991 science-fiction thriller, Cold Fire by best-selling author, Dean Koontz, but I didn’t finish it till near the end of January this year. Not because it wasn’t any good, but because I found myself torn between wanting to keep reading on to know what happens next and being a little frightened to read it once it got dark!

This dark tale introduces us to Jim Ironheart, a seemingly, ordinary man, who peeks the interest of down-on-her-luck reporter, Holly Thorne after she witnesses Ironheart heroically snatch a young boy out of the road, just as a drunk driver careens over a blind hill and through a school crossing, in a quiet suburb of Portland. How on Earth did Ironheart know the boy was in trouble, when no one saw the van’s approach and it all happened in a split second?

However this quiet, humble hero, with the strikingly blue eyes, doesn’t wish to be interviewed or photographed for her newspaper, instead taking off in a hurry straight for the airport. So Holly goes digging and discovers that the uncommon name of Ironheart is mentioned in connection with the rescue of a child from an explosion in Boston and with the disarming of a gunman in Houston, too. In fact, in total, she suspects he is responsible for miraculously saving the lives of twelve people, across the country, in the last three months alone… possibly more that have gone unreported.

Tracking Jim Ironheart down to his small condo in California, Holly decides to confront him. What power could compel a man to such feats? Is it God guiding him to save important individuals for the future as Jim believes? Or is there a darker force at work, as Holly suspects, like that demon-like-creature that is trying to claw its way out of their entwined nightmares? As the pair become closer, possibly falling in love, they decide to travel back to Jim’s childhood: to his grandparents’ farm and windmill, that features so prevalently in his haunting dreams to find answers before it is too late.

What follows is a rollercoaster ride of thrills, scares and twists, that had me well and truly gripped, if not a little incey-wincey bit scared now and again. Things may start a tad slow, but by the halfway point things trip along quickly, as the narration switches equally between Jim and Holly. I must admit I personally preferred Jim’s narration, what I can say he is a likeable guy, while I found Holly could be a little grating. However with some of the shocking revelations that are to come, maybe Jim is not always the most reliable of narrators.

All in all, I thought Cold Fire was a dark and extremely gripping read, which took me out of my comfort zone a bit, but that is a good thing to do now and again. This is only my second Koontz book, I feel I need to read more by this author. Good read.

I’d love to hear from you: Have you read this? Or have you read any other novels by Dean Koontz?


This book ticked off β€˜a temperature’ category for my What’s in a Name 2019 reading challenge.

20 thoughts on “Cold Fire by Dean Koontz

  1. Thank you very much for the excellent way you described the basic plot of Cold Fire. For a long time, I have thought, someday I wanna read that one. Question: Is Koont’z book “Hideway” like a Cold Fire pt. 2? Have you read Hideaway? I haven’t. I think its about (Jim Ironheart?) some guy who had a near-death experience.

    I really like the OLD Koontz books (stuff BEFORE he wrote the Odd Thomas series). The thing about Dean Koontz is:
    When he’s Hot, he’s “on Fire!” but…..he’s had some real dud’s that were a letdown, too.
    The worst thing of his I ever read was: The Bad Place. Yuck. I couldn’t finish even half of it. It meanders and wanders all over the place. Not just slow, but annoyingly-frustrating and not making sense. I kept asking myself” WHERRRRE on Earth is he POSSIBLY going with this?? A boring waste of time. Other ones that were a letdown, for me, were Winter Moon, The Corner of His Eye, One Door Away From Heaven. But—

    There are some real GOOD and creative nail-biters, too. Definite good reads. Like: (in no particular order):
    1. THE VISION. This one reads very fast. Alot of conversation back n forth between 2 people. A lady who is psychic sits in the fron seat of a parked car with her eyes closed and her hands on the steering wheel. She gets “Visions”–flashes, pictures, glimpses of people and what happened earlier. With her eyes closed in the car its as if she is behind the killer, looking at the back of his head and…..his head is slowly rotating and turning around and sje can almost now see his face and who he is and then—it all vanishes. Darn! She almost had him. She almost knew who the killer was. But even then, how would she prove it? Aho would believe her? How could the criminal be caught? This one is loaded with edge of your seat suspense and you wont have to worry about it being “slow”. But there’s More.

    2. NIGHT CHILLS. Why would anyone drive 100 miles an hour and smash right into a concrete wall? Later, someone goes to a house, knocks, a lady answers the door and this guy says: I am the KEY” (ofr is it I am the Lock? It’s been awhile). Thje woman will answer him with “the other part” and then its as if he has control of her willpower? Will he “have his way with her?” What is “The KEY/LOCK Program” ? Who will stop it? How?

    3. LIGHTNING. Laura Shane suffers through some dangerous, depressing and highly stressful times/events. But out-of-nowhere, some unknown man arrives in the nick of time to save her from awful situations, at various times in her Life. But—not always. But why at all? And more than once. Who IS he? Why care about her? A Unique, and interesting plot.

    4. MIDNIGHT. “Janice Capshaw liked to run at night”. I think that is the opening line. I bought the big hardback for this one. Dastardly evil plot. Let’s hope it never happens. and…special Bonus book:

    Dean Koontz wrote a book under another name: LEIGH NICHOLS. The book is called: Shadowfires. Rachael and her Husband get a divorce. Her husband is involved in something called: The Wildcard Project. Soon, the man she knew, will not be the same man she knew and things go very, very bad. How will Rachael survive?

    ANY of those, are Gems. I seriously doubt you’d be disappointed. The creativity and suspense are fabulous! Random comments: I WISH that Koontz:
    1. would STOP writing stories where the main character has a Dog, or meets one. And—
    2. no more 2 or 3 part stories. 1 story, one book, is better.
    3. I wish he’d make more of an effort in his books to NOT go over 280 pgs., but thats just me. Final question: How would YOU say that Dean Koontz and Stephem King are different from each other? Is King more “blood-n-guts/gory”? Anyway, you’ve got more Koontz recommendations. πŸ™‚

    1. Hello theOwl30, thank you for stopping by and commenting. It is always nice to hear from a new face and especially one so knowledgeable on Dean Koontz. 😊 I’m afraid I haven’t read The Hideaway – The only other Koontz novel I have read is Innocence, which I liked even more than this. Thank you for ALL those recommendations – Plenty to look forward to reading. πŸ“š As for the different between King and Koontz, I believe King can be more on the horror side while Koontz is supernatural thrillers, but I have only read King’s dark fantasy series, not been brave enough to read one of his ‘proper’ horrors! πŸ˜…

      1. Hi Jessica, thanks for the kind words! πŸ™‚
        Years ago, I read Stephen King’s “Night Shift”. It was my 1st “Scary book”. It a book of about 16-18 ? SHORT scary stories. Creepy, without having to read a whole book. The kind of stories that when you finish most of them, you sit there a minute, think about it, and shudder a bit. Bbrrrrr! I still remember the names of some of the good ones, inside the book:

        1. I Am the Doorway –(something happened up there, to the astronaut.
        2. Strawberry Spring —(murders on a college campus, if i remember right)
        3. I Know What You Need
        4. Grey Matter
        5. The Lawnmower Man
        6. The Mangler
        7. Graveyard Shift
        8. The Man Who Loved Flowers…..and….3 more KOONTZ novels that alot of folks have read and liked (but I myself have not read these) are also:

        Intensity -(violent, but lives up to its name)
        Strangers (this one is very long. I would not start here, but it had its readers who liked it.
        Watchers (One of the few (only?) book that was also made into a movie. But the ones I mentioned in my 1st comment, I can definitely vouch for. Happy Reading! –Owl

        1. A short story collections sounds like a good way to dip into King’s horror writing, without committing to a lengthy novel πŸ˜… Thank you for more recommendations, Owl 😊

  2. Ooh, this sounds good! For some reason, I’ve never read a Dean Koonz book – must correct that omission! I shall make a note of this one for when my current need for cosy comfort reads wears off… πŸ˜€

  3. I remember enjoying this one very much, but honestly I’ve liked the majority of the Koontz books I’ve read. I love his Odd Thomas series as well as the two Moonlight Bay novels. I also liked From the Corner of His Eye. Some others I can recall offhand are The Taking, The Darkest Evening of the Year, One Door Away From Heaven, By the Light of the Moon, and Sole Survivor. It would be easier to list the ones I didn’t like!

    1. Oh wow, Kelly you are a Koontz aficionado! 😁 I have his Demon Seed already on my TBR shelf and I think I will have to keep From the Corner of His Eye in mind for a future read, as you’re the second reader to mention that one, thank you! 😊

  4. Ooh the premise of this sounds quite good! I like the eeriness of it and the fact that Jim might be a little unreliable as a narrator piques my interest too! Great review.

  5. I’ve read a few Deen Koontz books. The one I remember most is From the Corner of His Eye. It’s a pretty wild thriller. Great review, Jessica!

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