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The Night Window: A Jane Hawk Novel

Review

The Night Window: A Jane Hawk Novel

I first encountered Dean Koontz in WATCHERS in 1987 on advice from a fellow book-chat club member. It remains to this day my favorite book in his hugely successful career. His Jane Hawk series, which began with the haunting THE SILENT CORNER and now culminates in THE NIGHT WINDOW, has lived up to my lofty expectations forged three decades ago. Koontz is one of those indefatigable and prolific writers who has cranked out so many bestselling series and stand-alone novels in that 32-year time span that I won’t try to count. I have read a few, enjoying some and laying aside or skipping a bunch. My husband raved about ODD THOMAS, one of my lay-asides, which led to some lively discussions. 

My book romance with Koontz had nearly flamed out until I picked up THE SILENT CORNER. Here was a subject that captured my immediate imagination and rapt attention. It lays out a compelling saga of the concept of forceful mind control over human subjects that threatens the human race. If successfully rendered, it would bring to an end free will as we know it and rings a tad too close to reality. I know, I know, it’s just science fiction. It couldn’t possibly happen in America. Or…? That’s what sci-fi is all about, right?

"The Jane Hawk series lives up to my expectations of Koontz’s ability to engage his readers in compelling storytelling and science fiction that, in today’s world, could become a horrifying reality."

Jane Hawk is the young widow of a military hero who committed inexplicable suicide. As an FBI agent and the mother of a small son, Jane begins to search for an answer. What she uncovers is the horrifying truth behind a cabal of highly placed Americans in every walk of life who have been selected to be medically altered and converted into slaves of a mad man who heads a government agency. By this fifth book, the finale of the series, Jane’s picture is on the front page of every tabloid, and she is the subject of a number of talk shows. She and her few supporters are being hunted down by every agency of the government, as well as by civilians.

A chilling quote from billionaire inventor Elon Musk heads the first chapter of THE NIGHT WINDOW: “Creating a neural [brain] lace is the thing that really matters for humanity to achieve symbiosis with machines." The brackets are Koontz's, not mine. This scary phenomenon is the concept of this series --- that a neural, injected substance that spreads a web throughout the brain in a few short hours will cause human beings to react robotically to vocal commands by their handlers.

If this sounds a bit like 1984 or even THE HANDMAID’S TALE, featuring totalitarianism and repressive regimentation, you’d be close. However, Koontz has created in Jane a dynamic, sympathetic heroine. At first, she is determined to prove that what appeared to be suicide was murder. After discovering the enormity of the horrifying truth, she attracts a small cadre of followers, both villainous and quirkily helpful, as she tracks down the perpetrators in this action-packed series.

I’ve often recommended WATCHERS to my more conventional book-reading friends, who are wary of science fiction, not to mention thrillers, as much more than that genre. It continues to stand beyond sci-fi as a heartwarming tale of scientific mind-control research gone wrong through the personality of an unforgettable Golden Retriever named Genius. It successfully converted a few dog-loving skeptics along the way.

The Jane Hawk series lives up to my expectations of Koontz’s ability to engage his readers in compelling storytelling and science fiction that, in today’s world, could become a horrifying reality.

Cautionary note: If you haven’t followed the series from book one, you’d best be advised to hunt them down. It will take you back to that charming storytelling with strong, sympathetic characters that will get you through any long, hot summer coming your way.

Spoiler alert: It wouldn’t be a Dean Koontz novel without amazing dogs.

Spoiler wish: Hello, Marvel. Hello, Netflix.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on May 24, 2019

The Night Window: A Jane Hawk Novel
by Dean Koontz

  • Publication Date: May 14, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam
  • ISBN-10: 0525484701
  • ISBN-13: 9780525484707