After discovering that an odd surge in suicides, including that of her decorated Marine husband, was triggered by nanotech brain implants, FBI agent Jane Hawk goes rogue to root out the evil conspiracy behind the deaths.
Targeted by drones and other sophisticated technology, the grieving widow hides her young son with friends and moves stealthily across southern California tracking down the culprits—primarily mad scientist Bertold Shenneck. His implants, injected into the victims, also are being used to mind-control the escorts at a fancy brothel. Even staying off the grid by driving thirdhand cars and using burner cellphones and computers in local libraries, Jane can't elude the bad guys. But in the manner of Jack Reacher, she's capable of taking on the opposition single-handedly, with or without her trusty Heckler & Koch handgun. At the same time, she's a deep thinker, a woman who "had grown quieter in all things, as though she was preparing soon to be a ghost and silent forever." A proven specialist in action scenes, Koontz pulls off some doozies here while doing a nice job of playing down the Michael Crichton–type techno stuff. The killing of hundreds of commuters by terrorists crashing an airplane into a Philadelphia expressway is too big an event to use as background detail, but the book is full of neat touches such as calling the brain-controlled humans "rayshaws" after the name of the protagonist in The Manchurian Candidate. And the prose, as always in a Koontz novel, is first-rate.
Perhaps Koontz's leanest, meanest thriller, this initial entry in a new series introduces a smart, appealing heroine who can outthink as well as outshoot the baddest of bad dudes.