Review: The Crooked StaircaseThe Crooked Staircase (Jane Hawk, #3) by Dean Koontz
Published by Bantam on May 8th 2018
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"I could be dead tomorrow. Or something worse than dead."

Jane Hawk knows she may be living on borrowed time. But as long as she's breathing, she'll never cease her one-woman war against the terrifying conspiracy that threatens the freedom--and free will--of millions. Battling the strange epidemic of murder-suicides that claimed Jane's husband, and is escalating across the country, has made the rogue FBI agent a wanted fugitive, relentlessly hunted not only by the government but by the secret cabal behind the plot. Deploying every resource their malign nexus of power and technology commands, Jane's enemies are determined to see her dead . . . or make her wish she was.

Jane's ruthless pursuers can't stop her from drawing a bead on her prey: a cunning man with connections in high places, a twisted soul of unspeakable depths with an army of professional killers on call. Propelled by her righteous fury and implacable insistence on justice, Jane will make her way from southern California to the snow-swept slopes of Lake Tahoe to confront head-on the lethal forces arrayed against her. But nothing can prepare her for the chilling truth that awaits when she descends the crooked staircase to the dark and dreadful place where her long nightmare was born.

I received this book for free from Bantam (via NetGalley) in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are solely my own. Some links in this review may be affiliate links.

Note: The Crooked Staircase is book three in the Jane Hawk series. Despite that, I found it easy to follow and didn’t feel like I had missed out on anything (although I will be going back and reading the first two!). Also, trigger warnings – violence against woman, including rape are subjects The Crooked Staircase tackles.

I have long been a fan of Dean Koontz and his genre-bending ways, and techno-thriller The Crooked Staircase is no exception. Our unwitting heroine, Jane Hawk, is one badass Mama bear, embarking on a one-woman mission to save the world. At times, she’s too good to be true – is there nothing she can’t do?

The story is told in three different timelines – we have Jane, rogue ex FBI agent going after a secret organisation known as The Arcadians. Then we have twin brother and sister, both authors, who have been targetted by the organisation and while initially escaping their fate, they are eventually forced to commit an atrocity at the command. Finally, we have the Washingtons, a married couple who have charge of Jane’s young son.

To say this is a wild ride would be an understatement. The Crooked Staircase is fast-paced, often violent, sometimes heartbreaking, always dark and terrifying.  We’re swept from one scenario to another, always with Koontz’ masterful story-telling to both immerse and guide us, and I had trouble putting it down … until the end, when I came very close to firing my Kindle Oasis across the room in frustration at the cliffhanger! Ugh! I had to convince myself that Mr Koontz hasn’t become one of “those” authors who spread a story over three or four short books instead of the one it should’ve been. Even the included excerpt from the next in the series didn’t help too much, though it did allow me to breathe again by at least offering some hope for certain characters.

If you’re into strong female leads and government conspiracies, then The Crooked Staircase is one you should definitely pick up.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be out back digging a bunker. Y’know. Just in case.

Author Links

Dean Koontz: www · Facebook · Twitter

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