Jane Hawk continues quest in Dean Koontz’s ‘The Crooked Staircase’

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This book cover image released by Bantam shows “The Crooked Staircase,” by Dean Koontz. | Bantam via AP

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 -anted 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. 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 they’ve created poses a potential threat to Arcadia and its goals.

This brings urgency to the story, showing that it’s more than a vendetta for Hawk at this point. She’s 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, here’s hoping that Koontz gives the saga closure soon, while pursuing other potential opportunities for her to shine under different circumstances.

The story does veer a bit into the torture realm this time, bringing up disturbing images to go with her crusade.

Still, “The Crooked Staircase” is a page-turner to dive into this summer.

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