August 20 , 2009

Fear Itself

A Novel


Injecting fresh potency into the phrase "scared to death," the wickedly talented author of The Girls He Adored has delivered a spine-chilling follow-up, introducing an unforgettable villain who confronts his victims with their phobias.
The charmingly disheveled FBI Special Agent E.L. Pender is strapping on his nonregulation calfskin shoulder holster one last time on his last day on the job, showing the ropes to his eager successor, Investigative Specialist Linda Abruzzi.
Then a letter from Dorie Bell arrives at FBI headquarters. Last year Dorie attended a phobia disorders convention in Las Vegas. Since then, three attendees have died under suspicious circumstances. A man with fear of heights jumped from the nineteenth floor of a building. A woman with fear of blood managed to cut her own wrists in the bathtub. A third victim with fear of suffocation was found in the bathtub, with a plastic bag over her head.
"If you won't help us," Dorie begs Pender, "who will?" But it may already be too late: Dorie's friend Wayne Summers has now disappeared, too. Wayne's phobia is fear of birds. He's currently tied to a bed in a dark basement. And above his head, looms an enormous, starving barn owl.
Fear Itself pits Agent Pender, one of the more endearing sleuths in recent fiction, against a man as immune to fear as he is fascinated by it. It's a duel that will jolt you time and time again and force you to confront the inevitable question: What is your greatest fear?
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