Review: Jane Hawk continues quest in ‘The Crooked Staircase’
“The Crooked Staircase” (Bantam), by Dean Koontz
Jane Hawk continues her quest to bring down a vast conspiracy in “The Crooked Staircase” by Dean Koontz, a follow-up to “The Silent Corner” and “The Whispering Room.”
Hawk is the most wanted woman in America and being on the run makes it hard to rest or trust anyone. She can’t see her son, and the only people she can truly rely on are keeping him hidden and safe. When her husband committed suicide, she knew it was murder. Her investigation put a target on her back, and now she goes after the corrupt organization Arcadia, a giant octopus of a group that she pursues arm by arm until she brings the entire thing crashing down. But every move she makes is met with a counter move by her enemies who have the resources and determination to eliminate her once and for all.
While she methodically goes after the next name on the list hoping it will lead to someone higher up in the group, the novel also focuses on a brother and sister who are young writers. The material the writers have created potentially poses a threat to Arcadia and its ultimate goals. This brings urgency to the story, showing that it is more than a personal vendetta for Hawk at this point. Hawk is the one person who understands what Arcadia wants to accomplish, and the group wants to take her out while she wants to destroy the organization.
Koontz has written another stellar tale with Hawk. She’s easy to root for, and “The Crooked Staircase” is a gripping read for almost 500 pages, though in retrospect, not much really happens to propel the story too far forward. With at least two more novels coming with Hawk, hopefully Koontz will give this saga closure soon while pursuing other potential opportunities for her to shine under different circumstances.
The story line does veer a bit into the torture realm this time around, bringing up some disturbing images to go with her crusade. Even with all of this in mind, “The Crooked Staircase” is a page-turner to dive into this summer.