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Locked Doors


Locked Doors

LOCKED DOORS is Blake Crouch's second novel; his first, DESERT
PLACES, somehow got by me, an error that I will begin correcting
later this afternoon. In doing my homework for this review, I
noticed that the reviews of his debut novel were mixed. Don't let
that keep you from reading this sophomore effort.

I began reading LOCKED DOORS at 10:00 p.m. on a Monday evening, and
kept reading until I was too tired to hold the book properly.
Crouch quite simply is a marvel. He changes perspective, points of
view, and tense at whim, challenging you to hang on and ride with
him. And it's easy to do. He's so good you'll want to hug him
because you love him or smack him because you're jealous; sometimes
you want to do both, simultaneously.

I'll give you an example. LOCKED DOORS involves, among other
things, a gentleman named Luther Kite who is as dangerous and
fearsome as anyone you could meet. One of the best passages in the
book concerns a visit Kite pays to a Waffle House, where he orders
pancakes. You know that either it'll turn out okay or he'll be
painting the walls, but you're not sure which. I guarantee you
though that if you read LOCKED DOORS you'll visit a Waffle House,
just once, to see if Luther Kite is there. You won't be able to
resist; Crouch's descriptive powers are that finely honed. Then
there's another scene, darn near perfect, where Kite goes into a

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. LOCKED DOORS nicely
summarizes DESERT PLACES, telling the story of bestselling thriller
writer Andrew Thomas. Thomas's idyllic existence, consisting of
money, a modicum of fame, and a comfortable residence in Davidson,
North Carolina, is shattered when he's framed for multiple murders
by his fraternal twin brother Orson and the aforementioned Mr. Kite
(and yes, if you're a Beatles aficionado, there may be a link),
causing him to flee for his life. At the beginning of the novel ---
several identity changes and location switches later --- Thomas is
living an anonymous, quiet, and isolated life in Haines Junction,
Yukon, when Kite begins a horrific killing spree that targets
everyone that Thomas ever cared for. Believing that the horror in
his life was buried by his new identity, Thomas is drawn back to
his old world as he leaves his self-imposed solitude and puts
himself onto, and into, Kite's path.

Violet King, a homicide detective of quiet but deep and abiding
faith, is put in charge of the investigation of what is believed to
be Thomas's new string of murders. She soon finds herself on a
collision course with both Thomas and Kite. Meanwhile, a hapless,
would-be writer named Horace Boone has stumbled onto Thomas's
identity. Boone, who suspects, correctly, that Thomas is going to
pursue Kite and bring his insane killing spree to an end, follows
Thomas with the hope of turning his eyewitness account into a
bestseller. Kite has a plan of his own: luring Thomas out of hiding
so that Kite might exact a twisted, long-simmering revenge upon

LOCKED DOORS is as good as anything I've read all year, a
stay-up-all-night thriller that will have you chewing your fingers
down to the nub even as you're reading its last paragraph. Highest
possible recommendation.


Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on December 30, 2010

Locked Doors
by Blake Crouch

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 0312317999
  • ISBN-13: 9780312317997