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 ‘a temperature’ category for my What’s in a Name 2019 reading challenge.