By Brent M. Jones
In Dean Koontz's book, The Crooked Staircase, the little boy Travis is hiding out in a fortified bunker, below the ground, with the "End of Times" recluse Cornell Jasperson. Cornell has no need for the world above and spends his days reading.
Cornell has just finished reading the complete works of philosopher Immanual Kant and has on his table a Nero Wolfe mystery, a fictional character created in 1934 by American mystery writer Rex Stout.
He mentions his interest in reading all one hundred andd twenty plus books of Henry James, having found "The Turn of the Screw", very screwy.
Cornell says he understands about lying low as he mentions the Wolfe stories. Gavin leans forward in his chair and says, "This is real life now, Cornell. Real bad people, a real threat, not a story by Dickens."
Cornell replies, "There is no meaningful difference, cousin. I think Plato might agree. Except he's dead. When I return to reading fiction, which I hope to do in just a minute or two, it is my real life.
Did Koontz use this dialog to shape an eccentric character or to put action novels on more of a par with the classics?