Science Fiction/Thriller

The Crooked Staircase

Written By: Dean Koontz

Published By: Ballentine Books

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


               I used to love reading books by Dean Koontz, but stopped about a decade ago when I felt his writing was becoming a bit repetitive to me.  When I saw a Dean Koontz novel was available for review at, I was curious.  The description made me even more curious about the novel and so, I decided to see if I could rekindle my love for Koontz with The Crooked Staircase.

               The Crooked Staircase is the third novel in a series of books starring Jane Hawk, an FBI Agent gone rogue after the staged suicide of her husband.  Jane is waging a war against an entity known as the Arcadians who are bent on ridding the world of individuals who will weaken it or threaten their agenda of world domination.  Using nanotechnology, the group controls its victims, either turning them into their own personal army or using them to perform actions for them before instructing them to kill themselves.  Jane’s own husband was one such victim and she vows to get to the bottom of the conspiracy and take down each and every member of Arcadia if it’s the last thing she does.

               And she’s getting so close now…there is just one thing that can put a halt to her vendetta – her five-year-old son.  Hidden away with friends that most would never connect to her, even with the high-powered technology and far reaches of the members of Arcadia, Jane hopes her son will someday have a chance at a normal life, either with her, or in a free world she died to protect.  Either way, Jane has to move forward, she has one of the higher-ranking players in her sights and he can leader her to the most powerful Arcadian yet…or he can lead her down a path of destruction and into the mouth of a beast she may never survive.

               When I began reading The Crooked Staircase, I noticed a difference right away.  This was not the sort of supernatural Dean Koontz fare I was used to reading.  This was a science fiction thriller, something I have never read by Koontz.  One thing remains the same about Dean Koontz is his captivating writing and, just as when I first fell in love with his works in the early 1990s, I found myself mesmerized by the storyline and captivated by the main character of the novel.  At the time, I hadn’t known that The Crooked Staircase was part of a novel series.  In fact, once I found out, I realized that I didn’t feel like I had missed out on anything by not reading the previous two novels.  Of course, now I am interested in doing so, but I didn’t feel lost by starting out with the third novel of the series.

               There is something else about Koontz’ writing that I forgot about after all these years – his ability to create characters that you become totally invested in.  I’m not just talking about Jane Hawk – she’s the heroine of the book and you are supposed to be invested in her outcome.  I’m talking about characters that he introduces along the way.  He gets you totally invested in what is happening to them.  You root for them and then he does something to that character that actually brings about a pain in your heart.  “NO!” your inner voice cries, as you stare at the page in disbelief.  Sounding overly dramatic?  Maybe so, but that’s just the way I felt while reading The Crooked Staircase and, no, I’m not giving any more hints as to what I am talking about – you’ll just have to read the book.

               And read it, you should!  The Crooked Staircase is an excellent thriller that takes so many exciting twists and turns, you may get dizzy, but you’ll love every minute of it.  This book takes Big Brother to a whole new and scarily realistic level.  I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!


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