Book Review: The Whispering Room

Author: Dean Koontz
ISBN: 978-0-7322-9867-8
RRP: $32.99
Publisher: HarperCollins – AU
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

The months are flying away from me and reading time seems to be at a low which makes me very sad. There are so many wonderful new books and simply not enough hours but I knew that this was one I didn’t want to miss, the first in the series was quite recent and the next one is on our list for next month. I picked it up determined to get it read this month and I’m glad that I did.

The Whispering Room is the second in the Jane Hawk series and it continues the story of the rogue FBI agent on the run and determined to bring down the power-players in the bid for world domination. The playing field gets scarier by the page as Koontz explores the darkness of the human soul.

Koontz drew me straight back into the world he has built for Jane; a world where people aren’t always what they seem and there are eyes and ears everywhere. All of the law enforcement and security departments of the United States have been infiltrated by members who share the vision of the new world order and that means that nowhere is safe.

Quite often you can pick up a series and read the books as stand-alones, or you can come in and start from any point. I think you still could start with The Whispering Room because there is a bit of background seeded through the narrative to get you up to speed on what’s been going on but I think this is one where the experience is definitely enhanced by following the series through from the beginning.

Hawk is a resourceful heroine, she was a very good FBI agent until she took leave after the death of her husband. She knows the questions to ask and is very good in an interrogation. She has some invaluable contacts, come across in the line of duty I believe, that she can utilise to help her remain under the radar even with her name and photo splashed all over the media as a rogue agent wanted for murder.

In a time where she doesn’t know who she can trust Hawk manages to come across a host of interesting characters who are willing to help her, good Samaritans who don’t always believe what they see in the news or even watch the news in some cases.

The Whispering Room opens with a middle aged school teacher going out in a blaze of glory, and taking a hotel function room and it’s patrons with her. Cora Gundersun has always been a well loved community member and exceptional teacher devoted to her students. She was awarded Teacher of the Year more than once and no-one can understand why she would do this. The politicians killed in the blaze make it a federal crime, bringing in law enforcement right up to the FBI and leaving the local Sheriff an onlooker. Sheriff Tillman lost members of his community in the fire so he can’t just walk away. He does some digging and eventually finds himself embroiled in the same terrifying situation as Hawk.

I enjoyed this novel, both as a continuation of the Jane Hawk series and as a story in it’s own right. The book does just end, there’s no real closure so I’m glad book three is just around the corner. The pacing was pretty non-stop and there were a couple of twists I definitely wasn’t expecting.

Hawk managed to get information that no-one expected so for a while there she even seemed to be one step ahead but we will have to wait for The Crooked Staircase to see how that plays out.

There’s a lot to love about this story. Koontz has thrown us into a dark and disturbing reality made more terrifying by the fact that it doesn’t seem entirely out of the realm of possibility. The characters are interesting and intriguing with some unexpected allies in the strangest of places.

I even found light-hearted moments that made me want to giggle. This is a convincing psychological thriller that had me turning pages long after I should have been sleeping but it also took me through a whole range of emotions as the best of humanity was discovered just as unexpectedly as the worst.

Koontz writes with great detail and his descriptiveness waxes lyrical, sometimes dragging out into the realm of telling us his scene rather than painting it. This is quite a common element of his storytelling in recent years I have found, with the books I have read and I do admit I have missed way too many. It’s an aspect that sometimes feels a little tedious but other times the intricate detail is welcome.

I am definitely in this series for the long haul and I can’t wait to discover what’s next for Jane Hawk and Sheriff Tillman.  Koontz manages to explore the depths of darkness in humans who feel they can play god to plot a course for the future they feel is best while discovering people along the way who shine a light into that darkness and remind us that some good will always find us.

Thank you Dean Koontz for another gripping read and thanks to HarperCollins for supplying copies for me and our members to join Jane Hawk on her cross country quest.

Dean Koontz can be found on Facebook, Twitter and his Website.

The Whispering Room is available now through HarperCollins Australia, Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to HarperCollins Australia 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Whispering Room and you can read what they thought at BOOK CLUB: The Whispering Room.

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