A truly compelling story from beginning to end, "Cold Fire" might win "Dean Koontz's most bizarre novel about plane-crashes, stigmatas, aliens, psychic visions, and God" award. Set in sunny California, Jim Ironheart plays the protagonist, a regular school teacher who mysteriously sees visions of people who are supposed to die and then miraculously comes to their rescue. When Ironheart flies to Portland, Oregon to save a young child from getting pummelled by a drunk driver in front of a school, reporter Holly Thorne witnesses the feat and automatically becomes intrigued by the hero.
When fate brings the two together on a flight from California to Chicago, Holly realizes that her need for the nation's top story is getting her in over her head--Jim is on board to save a mother and her child on the flight because it is supposed to crash. The events after the plane crash are superior, with Jim and Holly diving into the extraordinary abilities that our hero possesses, but also the dark secrets about his past that he is keeping locked up inside.
Koontz uses his endless imagination to twirl his characters around with superb dialogue, mixing regular human fears (such as plane crashes, murderers, being alone in the dark, and guilt) with miraculously enigmas (such as telekinesis, psychic powers, religion, and psychological terror) to create stories that do not only scratch the surface of his readers, but also explodes into the very fiber of their being. The novel does get simply too outlandish at points and does not tie up enough loose ends (mainly because they are so many intangible thoughts and questions expressed throughout the piece); however, "Cold Fire" is another haunting tale that is so outrageous that it hits extremely close to home with its audience--something that no other author has been able to do so brilliantly in the past quarer century.