A Book Spy Review: ‘A Crooked Staircase’ by Dean Koontz

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The crooked staircaseJane Hawk is back in Dean Koontz’s latest novel, and she’s continuing her war against the people behind the death of her husband. 

For those not caught up on the series, Jane’s husband, a decorated Marine, was brainwashed before killing himself. . . but he wasn’t the only one. In a massive conspiracy, the government has taken to implementing nanotech technology into men and women across the country, which has caused a significant spike in the national suicide rate. Few people know the truth behind everything, but Jane is hellbent on bringing the shadowy cabal to its knees — a task that remains nearly impossible. 

Already, Jane has been in hot water and branded a traitor to her country. Forced to live on the run, Jane’s son is in hiding — though the hope of one day returning to him is a serious motivator — and she’s still adjusting to her suddenly upside-down life. 

Continuing her siege against those running the mind-control program, Jane sets her sights on Booth Hendrickson, the man behind the conspiracy. But Hendrickson, an official with the Department of Justice, is a hard man to get to, especially when you’re the most wanted fugitive in America. Jane finds a way in that requires her getting close to a woman named Petra Quist. If she can do that, she can climb the ladder to Hendrickson, who may be underestimating Jane, a woman who, at this point, has nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking chances and playing it fast and loose. 

A lot of the themes from Koontz’s first two books overlap here, though the story does take on its own shape somewhere around the half-way point. For those who’ve played the Splinter Cell games, Jane Hawke is sort of like a female version of Sam Fisher. She’s great at a lot of things, and very good at everything else. There’s no obstacle she can’t climb, no bad guy she can’t take out, and no technology she can’t crack. She’s a well-rounded heroine who will stop at nothing to meet her objective. . . and for what it’s worth, it’s a heck of a lot of fun watching her do her thing. 

Koontz understands how to play up the suspense and balance that with a quick-moving plot. The Crooked Staircase is well-written and fun, though the overall story itself does require readers to suspend their disbelief at times. 

Book Details

Author: Dean Koontz
Series: Jane Hawk #3
Pages: 512 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 052548342X
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: May 8, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 7.0/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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