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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Book Review: The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz

“I thought my war was over years ago.”
“It’s all one war,” she said, “and it’s never over.”

This is absolutely the most fascinating, horrifying, deliciously twisty series! I am a long-time fan of Dean Koontz, but with the Jane Hawk books he’s really come up with something delightful – the plot lines are eerie and creepy and unbelievably believable. The characters are evil and heroic and broken and battered and unredeemable and terror- and awe-inspiring in equal measure. The action is finely tuned, interwoven with cards held – and revealed – at just the right time to keep the reader on not only the edge of their seat, but the edge of their nerves. I keep thinking that things can’t possibly get *that* much worse, and then – lo and behold! – they springboard right past worse and into uncharted territory…

Jane Hawk is perhaps the greatest, strongest, most phenomenal female heroine of all time. She is nearly super-human in her ability to stay one step ahead of the evil she’s pursuing, yet at the same time, her motivations and periodic bursts of self-reflection and concern about the configurations her mission is forcing her into keep her altogether human. She never doubts her path – she knows this is the ultimate winner-takes-all – or her love for her son. She has moved so far past self-doubt in her conviction about the destruction that the Techno Arcadians are seeding in their wake that she should, by rights, start seeming inhuman (or at least un-human) in her responses, yet she never does. She remains – odd though this will sound – an utterly humane ultra-violent, whatever-it-takes protagonist. Even when she’s forced to turn to some of the methods of her enemies, she manages to do so with just enough humility and calm recognition of the point-of-no-return corners she’s been pushed into that she remains not only likeable but unquestioningly, unfailingly, so. Koontz has her walking tightropes and she not only manages to do it with aplomb, but she does it while remaining upright – no small task, considering the forces massed against her. It is this indomitable spirit, as much as the great story-telling, that keeps this series so compelling…

This one ended with more of a cliff-hanger than I like. I love series books and don’t mind loose ends when I know more books are coming (particularly when they’re coming from someone like Koontz who is prolific, with quick turn-arounds, and who you know will follow through on those ends), but I don’t like when a major plot point/twist is introduced right at the end and then everything just stops. It feels too abrupt, a hostage situation forcing the reader to buy the next installment just to finish the story that was already read. There’s a sample chapter of the next book in this one, so you know it’s coming soon. “Soon” won’t be soon enough though – if Jane is the guts of this story, Travis is the heart and soul. And as Jane herself would happily tell you, one cannot live without one’s heart and soul. I’ll be anxiously waiting to see where this latest test of Jane’s legendary endurance takes her – my mind races with possibilities, most of which are horrible – which is a testament to Koontz’s wisdom in ending the book exactly where he did, regardless of how I feel about cliff-hanging plot developments… Perhaps that’s why he is Dean Koontz, and I’m me. ๐Ÿ™‚

My review copy was provided by NetGalley. The Crooked Staircase releases in the U.S. on May 8, 2018.

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