In the fifth installment of an ongoing story (The Forbidden Door, 2018, etc.), wrongly dishonored FBI agent Jane Hawk faces her worst fear in her lonely fight against an evil male conspiracy embedded in the halls of power: the abduction of her son, Travis.
The ruthless enemy, called the Techno Arcadians, have been scrubbing people of their memories and their identities with nanotech implants and turning many of them into robotic servants and sex slaves. To keep Travis safe while she goes after them, doing all she can to evade their sophisticated surveillance systems, Hawk has hidden him with friends in Arizona. Beautiful, brilliant, and supertough, she gains a valuable running partner in lovable pal Vikram Rangnekar, a recently resigned FBI employee who has acquired a pile of government secrets with his "back door" hacking skills. While they pursue the baddies, Jane in her latest disguise, the billionaire behind the conspiracy hunts a young filmmaker he has enticed to his Colorado spread for sport, à la "The Most Dangerous Game," only on snowmobiles. The crowded plot also features an Arcadian "missionary for the truth of random cruelty" who is after Vikram and a mob-connected misfit who has his own reasons for going after Travis. The book could stand to lose one of its narratives (and stay more with Hawk), and Koontz tends to take too long to do something with a plot point. But this is still the best installment in the series since the first. Vikram, who has an impossible crush on Hawk, is a very good addition. And there are some neat gadgets to ponder, including camera-operated facial recognition eyeglasses (though the book contradicts itself on how quickly they can establish a match).
Just when it seemed like Koontz had run out of gas with this quickly knocked-out road series (it debuted with The Silent Corner in 2017), he revs it up with entertaining encounters and offbeat humor.