The ‘Nameless’ series, by Dean Koontz

“…In this world of computers, satellite tracking, and so many other government surveillance tools, all of them accessible to hackers outside the government, the truth can be found with enough effort. If sometimes local law enforcement doesn’t want to find it or if the courts don’t want to hear it, or if those who expose it might be ruined or killed for their efforts . . . Well, it’s now possible for justice to be delivered nonetheless.” (In the Heart of the Fire)

The man called Nameless characteristically arrives in a community to find preparations made. There’s a vehicle waiting for him, with a suitcase inside. There’s a large amount of money and necessary equipment, plus a gun. If he requires helpers, they’re waiting. He listens to a digital recording explaining his assignment. It’s always a case of some person or persons doing evil beyond the reach of the law – a serial killer, a serial rapist, an entitled psychopath. Nameless takes them down, protecting the innocent, avenging the dead.

Nameless has no memory of his past up to a couple years ago. He suspects this amnesia has been induced, and that he volunteered for it. He comes in like a classic avenging angel, then proceeds to the next assignment. That is his life. He doesn’t know who he works for, whether it’s an individual or a group or some kind of artificial intelligence.

In his previous series of novels, the Jane Hawk books, author Dean Koontz imagined a high tech dystopia, something like Skynet, where surveillance satellites and cameras were linked to super-computers to buttress the greatest tyranny the world ever knew.

In the six novellas of this new Nobody series, he turns that idea on its head. What if unlimited surveillance and data processing power were turned to the purposes of good? That strikes this reader as hubristic on a cosmic scale, but here it’s just a backdrop for the action and the mystery. Our focus is not on the shot-caller, but on the hero, a driven man haunted by premonitions and – perhaps – by inchoate memories. The reader’s questions on that subject will be answered – in a satisfying way – in the final book.

The first novella in the Nobody series is In the Heart of the Fire. I’m not going to link to the rest of the series, because you’ll want to read them in order, but here are the titles: #2: Photographing the Dead; #3: The Praying Mantis Bride; #4: Red Rain; #5: The Mercy of Snakes; and #6: Memories of Tomorrow.

Each volume is cheap, although when you buy them all (and I suspect you will), you’ll end up paying about what you’d pay for a full novel by Koontz. I found the Nobody series extremely satisfying, though the basic concept did bother me. Recommended.

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