Locked Doors picks up seven years after the conclusion of Crouch's debut novel, the compulsively readable Desert Places. Having barely survived the events related in that harrowing thriller, famous writer Andrew Thomas, now one of America's most wanted criminals, has settled in the Yukon after many years on the run. Believing his ordeal over, Thomas is stunned to learn of the murder of a friend's wife and the kidnapping of a former flame. Apparently, someone is trying to send him a message that the trials that commenced seven years prior are not over, and that a reckoning must occur. Thomas travels to North Carolina and the Outerbanks island of Ocracoke to confront his adversary, setting the stage for an epic battle between the author and a man who can only be described as a relentless killing machine.
Crouch's sophomore effort, a tense, violent, fast paced work of suspense, proves the author has not lost his ability to enthrall and surprise his audience-Locked Doors is just as slick and twisted and entertaining as Desert Places, perhaps even more so. What distinguishes it from that novel is Crouch's focus on ancillary characters like homicide detective Violet King and would be true crime writer Horace Boone, which, rather than diverting readers' attention from the main battle, actually intensifies the experience once the blood starts to fly.
Crouch's chief talent lies in dropping his characters into untenable, sanity threatening situations, and then letting all hell break loose. This affinity for mayhem wreaks havoc with the reader's expectations, as neither the heroes nor the villains ever act predictably. The relentless pace of the narrative and Crouch's clean, taut prose allows for a certain suspension of disbelief, making for a book that readers will be loathe to put down once they've begun.