After Death

Image of After Death
Release Date: 
July 18, 2023
Thomas & Mercer
Reviewed by: 

“Koontz is a true wordsmith, no doubt about that, crafting beautiful imagery that takes the reader on a wild ride through his prolific imagination.”

Once again the prolific Dean Koontz releases yet another book. Koontz has tackled such themes as alien invasion, horrific terrestrial life forms, time travel and the End of Days, so it should come to no surprise that he now takes a poke at the Superhero story.

He delves into The Singularity, a hypothetical future when the growth of technology is uncontrollable and irreversible, which results in drastic and unseen changes to humanity and civilization. Koontz has decided to make the Singularity a focal point in the story, using it to spawn a super-human person.

A man by the name of Michael Mace (a nice riff on Reed Richards, Peter Parker, and Clark Kent), head of security at a Top-Secret government facility (of course, is there any other kind?), suffers a tragic accident. The same accident that spares him kills everyone else in the entire facility but changes him forever, gifting him with an extraordinary power. Said power is the ability to surf the information superhighway we know as the Internet and hack into/change any server he wishes, changing data at a whim.

While such power doesn’t render him immortal or give him super strength, what it does do is allow him access to unlimited funds, any identity he may wish for, and the ability to become a ghost, a figure on the information grid no one can see.

Enter the Internal Security Agency, the evil, super-secret government group whose soul mission is to bring about swift and violent change. Their top assassin, Durand Calaphas, is tasked to take down Michael by any means necessary. Armed with unlimited funds, assistance and sociopathic focus, Durand chases Michael across California.

Michael helps his late friend’s crush, Nina Dozier, escape from her gangbanger baby daddy, Aleem wants his child John to follow in his violent footsteps. It becomes a race against time as Michael spins a web of electronic distractions, changing their identities on the fly while dodging bullets in real time.

After Death definitely reads like a super-hero origin story ready to leap out onto the silver screen to join all the other Marvel and DC blockbusters. But in the end, while a fun read, it seems incomplete, as if Koontz intended to write more Michael Mace stories but wound up tying the ending up in a pretty little bow that tells the reader to expect no more.

Koontz is a true wordsmith, no doubt about that, crafting beautiful imagery that takes the reader on a wild ride through his prolific imagination. It’s true Koontz leaves his audience wanting more, but the rather abrupt and unsatisfying ending to this story feels jarring and unfinished.