Format:
Book
Author:
Title:
Edition:
First edition.
Publisher, Date:
New York : Bantam Books, [2018]
Description:
491 pages ; 25 cm.
Summary:
"Jane Hawk--who dazzled readers in The Silent Corner and The Whispering Room--faces the fight of her life, against the threat of a lifetime in this electrifying new thriller by #1 New York Times bestselling suspense master Dean Koontz. "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. PRAISE FOR DEAN KOONTZ'S JANE HAWK NOVELS "Gripping. The paranoia and mystery increase as the story unfolds. Koontz has created such a wonderful character in Jane Hawk that. readers will clamor for more. Koontz rocks it again."--Associated Press "Vintage Dean Koontz: paranoia-fueled suspense. sleek and highly realized action, developed characters, and more twists and turns than any two ordinary novels combined. as relevant to current events as it is audacious. amongst Dean Koontz's finest contemporary work."--Mystery Scene "Perhaps Koontz's leanest, meanest thriller, [The Silent Corner] introduces a smart, appealing heroine who can outthink as well as outshoot the baddest of bad dudes."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"-- Provided by publisher.
"In this riveting high-stakes novel, Jane Hawk tracks the powerful DOJ operative at the center of the murderous conspiracy that killed her husband, a decorated Marine, and now threatens others closest to her. Dark, ingenious, utterly relentless, the Jane Hawk thrillers are Dean Koontz at his celebrated best, a brilliant, deeply affecting synthesis of his singular gifts for heart-stopping suspense, unparalleled characterization and atmosphere, and twisting, chillingly topical storylines--all driven by an unforgettable, take-no-prisoners heroine"-- Provided by publisher.
Series:
Subjects:
Genre:
LCCN:
2017052704
ISBN:
9780525483427 (hardcover)
System Availability:
2
Current Holds:
0
Control Number:
193005
Call Number:
F Koo
Course Reserves:
0
# System items in:
2
Availability
Author Notes
Dean Koontz was born on July 9, 1945 in Everett, Pennsylvania. He received a degree in education from Shippensburg State College in 1967. A former high school English teacher as well as a teacher-counselor with the Appalachian Poverty Program, he began writing as a child to escape an ugly home life caused by his alcoholic father. A prolific writer at a young age, he had sold a dozen novels by the age of 25. Early in his career, he wrote under numerous pen names including David Axton, Brian Coffey, K. R. Dwyer, Leigh Nichols, Richard Paige, and Owen West. He is best known for the books written under his own name, many of which are bestsellers, including Midnight, Cold Fire, The Bad Place, Hideaway, The Husband, Odd Hours, 77 Shadow Street, Innocence, The City, Saint Odd, and The Silent Corner. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)
First Chapter or Excerpt
1 At seven o'clock on that night in March, during a thunderless but heavy rain pounding as loud as an orchestra of kettledrums, Sara Holdsteck finally left the offices of Paradise Real Estate, carrying her briefcase in her left hand, open purse slung over her left shoulder, right hand free for a cross-body draw of the gun in the purse. She boarded her Ford Explorer, threw back the dripping hood of her raincoat, and drove home by way of familiar suburban streets on which the foul weather had settled a strangeness, an apocalyptic gloom that matched her mood. Not for the first time in the past two years, she felt as if somewhere ahead of her, reality itself must be eroding, washing away, so that she might come to the crumbling edge of a precipice with nothing beyond but a lightless, bottomless abyss. Silver needles of rain pleated the darkness with mystery and threat. Any vehicle that followed her more than three blocks elicited her suspicion. The Springfield Armory Champion .45 ACP was nestled in her open purse, which stood on her briefcase, within easy reach on the passenger seat. Originally she hadn't wanted a weapon of such a high caliber, but she had eventually realized that nothing smaller would so reliably stop an assailant. She had spent many hours on a shooting range, learning to control the recoil. She had once lived in a gated community with an around-the-clock security guard, in a paid-off twelve-thousand-square-foot residence with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Now she owned a house one-quarter that size, encumbered by a fat mortgage, in a neighborhood with no gate, no guard, no view. Starting with little money, by the age of forty she had built a modest fortune as a Southern California real-estate agent, broker, and canny investor--but most of it had been taken from her by the time she was forty-two. At forty-four, though bitter, she was nonetheless grateful that she hadn't been rendered penniless. Having clawed her way to the top once before, she'd been left with just enough assets to start the climb again. This time she would not make the mistake that had led to her ruin; she would not marry. On the street where Sara lived, storm runoff overwhelmed the drains to form shallow lakes wherever the pavement swaled. Her Ford cast up wings of water in a false promise of magical flight. She slowed and swung into her driveway. Lights glowed in some windows, controlled by a smart-house program that, after nightfall and in her absence, created the illusion of occupancy and activity. She remoted the garage door and, while it rolled up on its tracks, put her open purse in her lap. She drove inside, the drumming of rain on the roof relenting as the welcome electronic shriek of the alarm system inspired a greater sense of safety than she had felt since setting out for work that morning. She did not switch off the engine. With the doors still locked, she kept her left foot hard on the brake, her right poised over the accelerator, and she shifted into reverse. She used the remote control again and looked from one of the SUV's side mirrors to the other, watching the big segmented door descend. If someone tried to slip in under it, the motion detector would sense the intruder and, as a safety measure, retract the door. If that happened, the instant the roll-up cleared the roof of the Explorer, she would take her foot off the brake, stomp the accelerator, and reverse at speed into the driveway, into the street. With luck, she might be quick enough to run down whatever sonofabitch had come after her. The bottom rail of the door met the concrete with a soft thud. She was alone in the garage. She shifted the SUV into park, applied the emergency brake, switched off the engine, and got out. The last exhaust fumes threaded the air. The Ford shed rain on the concrete floor and ticked as the engine cooled. After unlocking the connecting door to the house, she stepped into the laundry room, turned to the keypad, and entered the four-number code that disarmed the security system. At once she reset the alarm to the at-home mode, which activated only the sensors at the doors and windows, leaving dormant the interior motion detectors, allowing her to move freely through the residence. She hung her raincoat on a wall hook, where it dripped onto the tile floor. Purse slung from her left shoulder, briefcase in her right hand, she opened the inner laundry-room door and went into the kitchen, realizing an instant too late that the air was redolent with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. A stranger with a pistol stood at the dinette table on which rested a mug of coffee and Sara's copy of that morning's Los Angeles Times with its banner headline jane hawk indicted for espionage, treason, murder. The barrel of the weapon was elongated by a silencer, the muzzle as dark and deep as a wormhole connecting this universe to another. Sara halted, shocked not merely because her home had been violated in spite of all her precautions, but also because the intruder was a woman. Twentysomething, with long black hair parted mid-forehead and tucked behind her ears, with eyes as black and direct as the muzzle of the gun, with no makeup or lipstick--and no need of any--wearing wire-rimmed glasses, dressed in a black sport coat and a white shirt and black jeans, she looked severe and yet beautiful and somehow unearthly, as if Death had undergone an image makeover and at long last revealed her true gender. "I'm not here to hurt you," the intruder said. "I just need some information. But first, put your purse on the counter, and don't reach for the gun in it." Although Sara suspected that it would be foolish to hope to deceive this woman, she heard herself say, "Whatever you are, I'm not like you. I'm just a real-estate agent. I don't have a gun." The stranger said, "Two years ago, you purchased a Springfield Armory Super Tuned Champion with a Novak low-mount fixed sight, polished extractor and ejector and feed ramp, and a King extended safety. You ordered it with an A1-style trigger precisely tuned to a four-pound pull, and you had the entire weapon carry-beveled, all its edges and corners rounded so that it won't snag during a quick draw. You must have done a lot of research to come up with an order like that. And you must have spent many hours on a shooting range, learning to handle the piece, because then you applied for and received a concealed-carry permit." Sara put the purse on the counter. "The briefcase, too," the intruder directed. "Don't even think of slinging it at me." When she did as told, Sara's gaze fixed on a nearby drawer that held cutlery, including a chef's French knife and a cleaver. "Unless you're a champion knife thrower," the stranger said, "you'll never be fast enough to use it. Didn't you hear me say I don't mean you any harm?" Sara turned from the cutlery drawer. "Yeah, I heard. But I don't believe it." The woman regarded her in silence for a moment and then said, "If you're as smart as I think you are, you'll warm up to me. If you're not that smart, this will get ugly when it doesn't need to be. Sit down at the table." "What if I just walk out of here?" "Then I'll have to hurt you a little, after all. But you'll have brought it on yourself." The intruder's face--the strength of its features, the clarity of its lines, its refinement--was as purely Celtic as any face in Scotland or Ireland. But those eyes, so black that the pupils and irises were as one, seemed to belong in a different countenance. The contrast was somehow unsettling, as if the face might be a mask, its every expression unreliable, while the truth that otherwise might be read in her eyes remained secreted in their darkness. Although Sara had promised herself that she would never again be intimidated by anyone, after a brief staring match, she sat where she'd been told to sit. 2 The tropical stillness of the storm succumbed to a sudden wind that cast shatters of rain against the windows. Jane Hawk sat across from Sara Holdsteck and put her Heckler & Koch .45 Compact on the kitchen table. Sara looked weary, which was not surprising, considering all that she had been through in the past two years. Weary but not defeated. Jane was familiar with that condition. "Your Springfield Champion is a sweet weapon, Sara. But don't carry it in your purse. Change the way you dress. Get in the habit of wearing a sport coat. Carry the gun in a concealed shoulder rig where you can draw it quickly." "I hate guns. It was a big step for me just to get one." "I understand. But switch to a shoulder rig anyway. And get real about security systems like the one you had installed here." Skirling wind rattled rain hard against the glass, disquieting Sara, so that she looked at each of the two kitchen windows as if she expected to see some face of inhuman configuration, conjured by the storm. Returning her attention to Jane, she said, "Get real about my security system? What's that mean?" "Do you know that all alarm companies in any city or region use the same central station to monitor the systems they install?" "I thought each company monitored its own." "Not the case. And certain government agencies have secret--basically illegal--back doors to all those central stations across the country. Do you understand what I mean by 'back doors'?" "A way into the company's computer the company doesn't know about." "I used a back door to your security provider and reviewed your account. Learned where your alarm keypads and motion detectors are located, the password you use when you accidentally trigger an alarm and call in a cancellation, the location of the battery that backs up the system during a power failure. Useful stuff for any bad guy to know. Though he'd still need the four-digit disarming code." Two words belatedly brought a scowl to Sara's face. " 'Government agencies'? I've had enough of them. Which are you with?" "None. Not anymore. Sara, the alarm company isn't supposed to have that disarming code. It's something only the homeowner should know. You should program it yourself with the primary keypad. But like a lot of people, you didn't want to bother following the steps in the manual, so you asked the installer to program it for you. Which he did. And noted it in your account file. Where I found it." As if the weight of her mistake pressed on her, Sara slumped lower in her chair. "I've been living defensively for a long time, but I don't claim to be perfect at it." "Maybe you need to be better, but you don't want to be perfect at it. Only the insane are perfect in their paranoia." "Sometimes I think I've already gone half-crazy, the way I live. I mean, the worst happened more than two years ago. Nothing since." "But in your gut, you know . . . at any time he might decide you're a loose end that needs to be tied off." Sara glanced again at the windows. "Would you like to lower the blinds?" Jane asked. "I always do when I come home after dark." "Go ahead. Then sit down again." Having closed the blinds, Sara returned to her chair. Jane said, "I got in here using an automatic lock-picking gun supposedly sold only to police. Turned off the alarm with your code, reset it in the at-home mode, and settled down to wait." "I'll change the code myself. But, who are you?" Instead of answering, Jane said, "You were on top of the world, selling high-end houses, damn good at it, never a complaint from a client. Then suddenly you're hit with three very public lawsuits, all within two weeks, alleging fraudulent activities." "The allegations weren't true." "I'm aware of that. Then came a seemingly unrelated IRS audit. But not an ordinary audit. One conducted with the assumption of criminal intent, accusations of money laundering." The memory triggered indignation that drew Sara up straight in her chair. "The IRS agents who came to pore through my books, they were armed. As if I was some dangerous terrorist." "Armed auditors aren't supposed to flaunt their weapons." "Yeah, well, they made damn sure I knew they were packing." "To intimidate you." Sara squinted as if to focus more intently on Jane's face. "Do I know you? Have we met before?" "Doesn't matter, Sara. What matters is that I despise the same people you despise." "Like who would that be?" From a jacket pocket, Jane produced a photograph of Simon Yegg and dealt it across the table as if it were a playing card. "My husband," Sara said. "Ex-husband. The vicious shit. I know why I despise him, but why do you?" "Because of the crew he hangs with. I want to use him to get to them. In the process, I can make him profoundly sorry he did to you what he did. I can humble him." 3 Tanuja Shukla was standing in the deep front yard, in the rain and the dark, soaked and chilled and lonely and wildly happy, when the assassins arrived, although of course she didn't at once realize they were assassins. Twenty-five and obsessively creative from early childhood, Tanuja had been writing a novelette in which a rain-drenched night provided atmosphere but also served as a metaphor for loneliness and spiritual malaise. After watching the downpour from a window of her second-floor study, she seized the opportunity to immerse herself in the elements, the better to know what her lead character felt during a long journey on foot in a storm. Other writers of literary fiction with elements of fantasy found most research unnecessary, but Tanuja believed that a skeleton of truth needed to provide the structure underlying an author's muscular invention--the fantasy--and that the two must be bound together by tendons of accurate facts and well-observed details. Her twin brother, Sanjay, who was two minutes younger than Tanuja and considerably more acerbic, had said, "Don't worry. When you die of pneumonia, I'll finish writing your story, and the last pages will be the best of it." Tanuja's jeans and black T-shirt were saturated, at first clinging like one of those weighted blankets meant to alleviate anxiety, but then seeming to dissolve so that she felt as if she were unclothed except for her blue sneakers, naked in the storm, vulnerable and alone, exactly how the character in her novelette felt. As she mentally catalogued the physical details of this experience for later use in fiction, she was more content than she had been all day. Excerpted from The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Jane Hawk (Female), FBI operative, Widow, Mother, One-woman war against conspiracy; method of mind control by a scientist; strange epidemic of murder-suicides that claimed Jane's husband
Genre
Fiction
Mystery
Political
Psychological
Thriller
Topics
FBI agents
Fugitives
Scientists
Mind control
Suicide
Conspiracies
Threats
Setting
Southern California - West (U.S.)
- United States
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Yes, Jane Hawk is back. In this, her third outing-following The Silent Corner and The Whispering Room-the 27-year-old rogue agent who is on the run from her former employers, the FBI, remains intensely determined to expose and destroy the Techno Arcadians, a powerful underground group responsible for the death of Jane's husband. Like its predecessors, this volume boasts an unrelenting plot that continues to reveal new information about these sinister players who have compiled a "Hamlet" list that targets individuals they feel are prime candidates for "adjustment" through nanotechnology engineered to alter the victims' thought processes. We witness the capture of Tanuja and Sanjay Shukla by the Arcadians, then follow them through the adjustment process and on to the deadly goal for which they are programmed. But it is still Jane who rivets readers' attention with her struggle for retribution and redemption using a personal arsenal of nearly superhuman skills and abilities. Verdict Michael Crichton fans and thriller aficionados who appreciate a fierce female protagonist and have not yet done so should be urged to meet Jane Hawk. [See Prepub Alert, 12/4/17.]-Nancy McNicol, Hamden P.L., CT © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In the third Jane Hawk novel, the renegade FBI agent continues her relentless pursuit of the people behind the conspiracy that cost her husband his life. Someone has been turning ordinary men and women into puppets (à la The Manchurian Candidate), forcing them to commit murder and, then, to commit suicide. Driven by rage and an unquenchable thirst for answers, Jane risks her own life to exact revenge on the people who took her husband from her. Beautifully plotted and written with notable care and flare, the novel is a spellbinding follow-up to The Whispering Room and The Silent Corner, both published in 2017. It works just fine as a stand-alone, too, as Koontz allows Jane to bring the reader up to speed in a way that doesn't feel shoehorned into the story. Koontz has had a long and consistently best-selling career, encompassing horror, science fiction, fantasy, and straight-up thrillers, and he's rarely stumbled. The Hawk series there's a fourth one scheduled to be published in October 2018 is among his best work. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Expect all the promotional bells and whistles to be clanging and wailing at full volume as Koontz once again climbs the best-seller lists.--Pitt, David Copyright 2018 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

Former FBI agent Jane Hawk continues her no-holds-barred campaign against the mind-control conspiracy that caused the suicide of her decorated Marine husband.In past adventures (The Whispering Room, 2017, etc.), Hawk dispatched some of the baddies responsible for creating and injecting brainwashing nanotech implantsand dramatically raising the national suicide rate. With the cabal entrenched in government agencies and private industry, she got indicted for espionage, treason, and murder and is now the most wanted person in America. Continuing her mission to restore her husband's good name and nail Booth Hendrickson, the corrupt Department of Justice figure behind the conspiracy, she must evade all manner of sophisticated surveillance technology. Her path to Hendrickson is through his half brother, Simon, a mother-obsessed sociopath who tortures and psychologically breaks women. To get to Simon, Hawk must tame his nave spitfire girlfriend, the memorably named Petra Quist. For Hawk, who is as fearless as she is beautiful, no obstacle is too great, especially with the well-being of her hidden-away 5-year-old son on her mind. There is seemingly nothing she doesn't know, from intricate details about alarm systems to the functions of the three pairs of saliva glands. She's also a skilled pianist. With many pages devoted to a less compelling parallel mind-scrubbing story about brilliant young fraternal twins, the book sometimes bogs down in the padding. But writing his unusual heroine, Koontz keeps the pages alive with attitude as well as action.The third book in Koontz's lively series tends to rehash scenes from the first two, but it's still an absorbing thriller full of fresh touches. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * Jane Hawk--who dazzled readers in The Silent Corner and The Whispering Room --faces the fight of her life, against the threat of a lifetime, in this electrifying new thriller by #1 New York Times bestselling suspense master Dean Koontz. <br> <br> "I could be dead tomorrow. Or something worse than dead." <br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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 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.<br> <br> Praise for The Crooked Staircase <br> <br> "An absorbing thriller full of fresh touches . . . Writing his unusual heroine, Koontz keeps the pages alive with attitude as well as action. . . . For Hawk, who is as fearless as she is beautiful, no obstacle is too great, especially with the well-being of her hidden-away five-year-old son on her mind." -- Kirkus Reviews<br> <br> "Spellbinding . . . Beautifully plotted and written with notable care and flare . . . The Hawk series . . . is among [Koontz's] best work." --Booklist (starred review) <br> <br> "Unrelenting . . . [Jane] rivets readers' attention. . . . Michael Crichton fans and thriller aficionados who appreciate a fierce female protagonist . . . should be urged to meet Jane Hawk." -- Library Journal
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2018

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