Dark Rivers of the Heart is the 1995 suspense novel by Dean Koontz. For excessive fans of Dean Koontz you read most novels and have a good concept of where the novel is heading. This one was highly refreshing with high levels of action.

Spencer Grant is a loner who starts out the novel with no background to the reader. He lives in what appears to be solitude with his dog Rocky. The novel begins its ceaseless downhill roll when Spencer returns to the bar with the red door seeking some woman (Valerie) that he only met once. His drive begins with just questing after something that sparked an uncontrollable interest and turns into an internal need to create something with his life. The novel’s action kicks off when Spencer visits her apartment and finds himself under a ruthless assault by some sort of SWAT team. With his life obviously under extreme danger, Rocky and him take to being on the run.

Rocky, Spencer’s special dog, has a wonderful side role in this story. The dog has a very defined personality and even his own shrouded history. What pains me about this novel is sharing even minute details would rob the prospective reader of the infinite tiny surprises and rewards Koontz’s skillfully weaves into the plot. To say what I can: Rocky is squeamish yet loves Spencer. He is a dog that has such a shy personality that Spencer uses him as a detector for good people. Furthermore, Spencer’s rule “never lie to the dog” makes for excellent monologue/dialogue portions.

Now that I have gotten this far I realize how much I refuse to divulge for fear of ruining this wonderful reading experience for potential readers. Allow me to share some pros to help check your attunement to this sort of plot. The presented nemesis in the plot is highly developed, very insightful, and creates a chill that is so out of place it redefines creepy for some readers. The ending, while not as climactic as I expected, is still a wonderful surprise and almost causes some misty eyes. The action sequences in the book are the best I have ever read: so vivid and graphic. Finally, oddly enough, the decisions and tricks the heroes use are original but not too farfetched. Overall, I would recommend this top of the list to Koontz readers and a good introduction to Koontz to non-Koontz readers. This and Watchers are the only two Koontz novels I have had the experience of virgins to the Koontz experience to thoroughly enjoy.

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