Book Review: The Crooked Staircase, by Dean Koontz

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_The_crooked_staircase.jpegI am a big fan of Dean Koontz so was delighted to be able to read and review this book. This is the third book in the Jane Hawk thrillers – The Silent Corner and The Whispering Room being the ones previous to this one.

Former FBI agent Jane Hawke, the central character is on the run. Her husband Nick is dead, made to look like a suicide, but Jane knew he would never have committed suicide. She is convinced he was murdered, but how to prove it? Her son Travis was in hiding staying with trusted friends. Her husband’s so-called suicide is one of many that seem to be occurring around the country which in Jane’s eyes, is too much of a coincidence.

She is being hunted by Government agents but also a rogue organisation, the vengeful Techno Arcadians, who are assumed to be behind the murder/suicides. They seem to have unlimited power and money to hunt her down. Jane’s is able to outfox them at every new development, thanks to her ability to access technology and hack into systems.

What Jane uncovers about the Techno Arcadians makes for a great read. I struggled to put this book down at times, so caught up in the story I wanted to read just another chapter. By the time I came to the end I felt a little disappointed. I was expecting a conclusion but there is none, so we will have to wait for book four.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

The Crooked Staircase
by Dean Koontz
Published by HarperCollins
ISBN 9781460756546

Book Review: Ashley Bell, by Dean Koontz

Available now in bookshops nationwide.

cv_ashley_bellDean Koontz is one of the world’s most prolific authors, and unlike many of the other prolific writers, he does not make use of other authors to continue his manuscripts. It is somewhat understandable, therefore, that one might discover something of a formula to his tales.

When reading Dean Koontz, one can normally expect a fast-paced, thrilling adventure, generally with the main character (and occasionally the main character’s potential love interest) having to run for their life from some dangerous monster/cult/person with an almost uncanny way of tracking them down wherever they go. Generally there is a golden retriever, or canine of another sort, involved. He also has the trademark cast of quirky, sometimes downright oddball, characters.

Ashley Bell contains many of these standard Koontz-tropes. It has the bold female lead, Bibi Blair, who won’t let anything get her down and who will take on any challenge life has to offer her – including a rare and fatal rare brain tumour. It has a golden retriever, Olaf, although in this case, he has been dead for 6 years. It has a dangerous cult leader in the form of a Neo-Nazi, Hitler-wannabe and murderer. And, yes, there is the love interest – in this case, Paxton, who is doing his military duty out in the field. To save herself, Bibi must find, and rescue, a girl by the name of Ashley Bell. But who is Ashley Bell?

Bibi undergoes a whirlwind, madcap journey, filled with strange coincidences and violent murders. She is hunted at every corner, and there seems nowhere will provide refuge. As tensions increase and events – and acquaintances – conspire around her, a harrowing truth will be revealed – something extraordinary and forgotten.

Ashley Bell is longer than the standard Koontz tale, more of a tome than a quick weekend read. The prose is eloquent and flowery – perhaps reflecting Bibi Blair’s career as an author. It has about it something of the familiar, and a little of the fresh and new.

Reviewed by Angela Oliver

Ashley Bell
by Dean Koontz
Published by Harper Collins NZ
ISBN 9780732298654

NB: The paperback of Ashley Bell is due out in June 2016.