Are You Afraid of the Dark?

( 51 )

Overview

In four cities across the world, four people die violently and mysteriously. The dead share a single crucial link: each was connected to an all-powerful environmental think tank. Two of the victims' widows-accomplished artist Diane Stevens and international supermodel Kelly Harris-may hold the key to their husbands' demise. Terrified for their lives, suspicious of each other, and armed only with their own wits and guile, they must join forces in a nightmare cycle of hunt-and-kill. At stake is the shattering truth...
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Overview

In four cities across the world, four people die violently and mysteriously. The dead share a single crucial link: each was connected to an all-powerful environmental think tank. Two of the victims' widows-accomplished artist Diane Stevens and international supermodel Kelly Harris-may hold the key to their husbands' demise. Terrified for their lives, suspicious of each other, and armed only with their own wits and guile, they must join forces in a nightmare cycle of hunt-and-kill. At stake is the shattering truth about the tragedies that robbed them of the men they loved...and about an awesome conspiracy whose ultimate target is as big as the earth and as close as the air we breathe.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Kelly Harris and Diane Stevens have two terrible things in common. The first is that their brilliant husbands have been murdered, both victims of a killer or killers unknown who target people connected to the largest think tank in the world. Their second connection is even more terrifying: Their husbands' assassins have also targeted them. Intense suspense from a master of the genre.
Publishers Weekly
Two gorgeous widows go up against a nefarious multinational think tank in this airbrushed but goofily entertaining thriller by perennial bestseller Sheldon (The Sky Is Falling; Tell Me Your Dreams; etc.). Four scientists working for the New York-based Kingsley International Group have died or disappeared within 24 hours. Wolfish top boss Tanner Kingsley vows to find the perpetrator; meanwhile, stunning artist Diane Stevens, wife of a just-murdered KIG scientist, and supermodel Kelly Harris, whose husband has likewise been killed, find themselves under attack by mysterious strangers. Diane and Kelly form an uneasy alliance, though both spend most of their time ruminating on their wonderful (now dead) husbands: "I want to feel you stroking my breast.... I want to imagine that I can hear your voice saying that I make the best paella in the world...." The plot is straightforward: people are killed, women are in peril and an evil CEO (Tanner, gasp!) has a plot to take over the world. His technique involves controlling the weather, and in an intriguing short afterword, Sheldon explains the very real possibilities of just such a scenario. The on-the-lam ladies, Kelly and Diane, escape every assassination attempt with ridiculous ease, and other characters appear and disappear simply in order to get the author out of one plot pickle after another. Still, despite (or because of) Sheldon's blithe unconcern for logic and his just-add-water relationships, this is a breezily pleasing read. Agent, Mort Janklow. (Sept.) Forecast: A heavy publisher blitz and a huge fan base guarantee that this will hit bestseller lists. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Four men connected to a major think tank die-and their wives get really suspicious. With a one-day laydown on September 14. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446613651
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/1/2005
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 221,953
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Sidney Sheldon

The novelist and screenwriter Sidney Sheldon remains one of the world’s top bestselling authors, having sold more than 300 million copies of his books. Are You Afraid of the Dark? was his most recent in a long line of huge hits on bestseller lists everywhere. He is also the only writer to have won an Oscar, a Tony, and an Edgar Award. The Guinness Book of World Records heralds him as the most translated author in the world. Sidney Sheldon passed away on January 30, 2007.

Biography

Best known today for his exciting blockbuster novels, Sidney Sheldon was the author of The Best Laid Plans, Nothing Lasts Forever, The Stars Shine Down, The Doomsday Conspiracy, Memories of Midnight, The Sands of Time, Windmills of the Gods, If Tomorrow Comes, Master of the Game, Rage of Angels, Bloodline, A Stranger in the Mirror, and The Other Side of Midnight. Almost all of them were number-one international bestsellers. His first book, The Naked Face, was acclaimed by the New York Times as "the best first mystery of the year" and received an Edgar Award. Most of his novels became major feature films or TV miniseries, and there are more than 275 million copies of his books in print throughout the world.

Before he became a novelist, Sheldon had already won a Tony Award for Broadway's Redhead and an Academy Award for The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer. He has written the screenplays for twenty-three motion pictures, including Easter Parade (with Judy Garland) and Annie Get Your Gun. In addition, he penned six other Broadway hits and created three long-running television series, including Hart to Hart and I Dream of Jeannie, which he also produced. A writer who delighted millions with his award-winning plays, movies, novels, and television shows, Sidney Sheldon reigned as one of the most popular storytellers of all time.

Author biography courtesy of Time Warner.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Sheldon:

"When I was 17, I was happy to be working in a drugstore, because I could steal enough sleeping pills to commit suicide."

"I have bi-polar syndrome and was not aware what was disturbing me until I received an Academy Award and went to see a psychiatrist."

"I have worked 7 days a week as long as I can remember. A business manager of mine gave me $25 worth of tennis lessons. I went down to my tennis court and we played once a week. I really enjoyed it. Playing with the pro one day, my teacher said to me that the money had been spent and did I want to continue. I started to say yes, then I realized that I didn't want to be out on the tennis court. I wanted to be in my office writing. That was 25 years ago and I haven't been on my tennis court since."

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    1. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 11, 1917
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Date of Death:
      January 30, 2007

First Chapter

Are You Afraid of the Dark? LP

Chapter One

In downtown Manhattan, in courtroom thirty-seven of the Supreme Court Criminal Term building at 180 Centre Street, the trial of Anthony (Tony) Altieri was in session. The large, venerable courtroom was filled to capacity with press and spectators.

At the defendant's table sat Anthony Altieri, slouched in a wheelchair, looking like a pale, fat frog folding in on itself. Only his eyes were alive, and every time he looked at Diane Stevens in the witness chair, she could literally feel the pulse of his hatred.

Next to Altieri sat Jake Rubenstein, Altieri's defense attorney. Rubenstein was famous for two things: his high-profile clientele, consisting mostly of mobsters, and the fact that nearly all of his clients were acquitted.

Rubenstein was a small, dapper man with a quick mind and a vivid imagination. He was never the same in his courtroom appearances. Courtroom histrionics were his stock-in-trade, and he was highly skilled. He was brilliant at sizing up his opponents, with a feral instinct for finding their weaknesses. Sometimes Rubenstein imagined he was a lion, slowly closing in on his unsuspecting prey, ready to pounce ... or a cunning spider, spinning a web that would eventually entrap them and leave them helpless ... Sometimes he was a patient fisherman, gently tossing a line into the water and slowly moving it back and forth until the gullible witness took the bait.

The lawyer was carefully studying the witness on the stand. Diane Stevens was in her early thirties. An aura of elegance. Patrician features. Soft, flowing blonde hair. Green eyes. Lovely figure. A girlnext- door kind of wholesomeness. She was dressed in a chic, tailored black suit. Jake Rubenstein knew that the day before she had made a favorable impression on the jury. He had to be careful how he handled her. Fisherman, he decided.

Rubenstein took his time approaching the witness box, and when he spoke, his voice was gentle. "Mrs. Stevens, yesterday you testified that on the date in question, October fourteenth, you were driving south on the Henry Hudson Parkway when you got a flat tire and pulled off the highway at the One Hundred and Fifty-eighth Street exit, onto a service road into Fort Washington Park?"

"Yes." Her voice was soft and cultured.

"What made you stop at that particular place?"

"Because of the flat tire, I knew I had to get off the main road and I could see the roof of a cabin through the trees. I thought there might be someone there who could help me. I didn't have a spare."

"Do you belong to an auto club?"

"Yes."

"And do you have a phone in your car?"

"Yes."

"Then why didn't you call the auto club?"

"I thought that might have taken too long."

Rubenstein said sympathetically, "Of course. And the cabin was right there."

"Yes."

"So, you approached the cabin to get help?"

"That's right."

"Was it still light outside?"

"Yes. It was about five o'clock in the afternoon."

"And so, you could see clearly?"

"I could."

"What did you see, Mrs. Stevens?"

"I saw Anthony Altieri -- "

"Oh. You had met him before?"

"No."

"What made you sure it was Anthony Altieri?"

"I had seen his picture in the newspaper and -- "

"So, you had seen pictures that resembled the defendant?"

"Well, it -- "

"What did you see in that cabin?"

Diane Stevens took a shuddering breath. She spoke slowly, visualizing the scene in her mind. "There were four men in the room. One of them was in a chair, tied up. Mr. Altieri seemed to be questioning him while the two other men stood next to him." Her voice shook. "Mr. Altieri pulled out a gun, yelled something, and -- and shot the man in the back of the head."

Jake Rubenstein cast a sidelong glance at the jury. They were absorbed in her testimony.

"What did you do then, Mrs. Stevens?"

"I ran back to my car and dialed 911 on my cell phone."

"And then?"

"I drove away."

"With a flat tire?"

"Yes."

Time for a little ripple in the water. "Why didn't you wait for the police?"

Diane glanced toward the defense table. Altieri was watching her with naked malevolence.

She looked away. "I couldn't stay there because I -- I was afraid that the men might come out of the cabin and see me."

"That's very understandable." Rubenstein's voice hardened. "What is not understandable is that when the police responded to your 911 call, they went into the cabin, and not only was no one there, Mrs. Stevens, but they could find no sign that anyone had been there, let alone been murdered there."

"I can't help that. I -- "

"You're an artist, aren't you?"

She was taken aback by the question. "Yes, I -- "

"Are you successful?"

"I suppose so, but what does -- ?"

It was time to yank the hook.

"A little extra publicity never hurts, does it? The whole country watches you on the nightly news report on television, and on the front pages of -- "

Diane looked at him, furious. "I didn't do this for publicity. I would never send an innocent man to -- "

"The key word is innocent, Mrs. Stevens. And I will prove to you and the ladies and gentlemen of the jury that Mr. Altieri is innocent. Thank you. You're finished."

Diane Stevens ignored the double entendre. When she stepped down to return to her seat, she was seething. She whispered to the prosecuting attorney, "Am I free to go?"

"Yes. I'll send someone with you."

"That won't be necessary. Thank you."

She headed for the door and walked out to the parking garage, the words of the defense attorney ringing in her ears.

You're an artist, aren't you? ... A little extra publicity never hurts, does it? It was degrading. Still, all in all, she was satisfied with the way her testimony had gone. She had told the jury exactly what she had seen, and they had no reason to doubt her. Anthony Altieri was going to be convicted and sent to prison for the rest of his life. Yet Diane could not help thinking of the venomous looks he had given her, and she felt a little shiver.

She handed the parking attendant her ticket and he went to get her car.

Two minutes later, Diane was driving onto the street, heading north, on her way home.

Are You Afraid of the Dark? LP. Copyright © by Sidney Sheldon. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 51 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(22)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2007

    Such a disappointment

    I can't believe the number of good reviews because this book was hugely disappointing! The writing style was so simple with the author finding ways to 'tell' the read what was going on instead of the story developing, there was no mystery, and the things happening were not realistic. This is one of the worst books I have ever read!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2012

    you cant stand the thrill of this book. read it.

    i was surprised by the twist of the story. thought its predictable at first, but it turns out to have surprising twists at the end. disclaimer: dont read it backwards.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    The usual

    True to Sidney Sheldon's style of writing. Not as good as some of his other books. Easy read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2008

    this book is amazing

    this book is amazing I read this for the very first time and I fell in love with it Sidney Sheldon. This truly is a breath-taking story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2008

    could be happening in your town

    many strange weather phenoms have been happening all over the states recently, really makes you wonder if this is all possible?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2006

    Very Dissappointing.

    I am a Sidney Sheldon fan. But this book was very very dissappointing. It's short, very predictable, contains un necessary vulgarities and obscenities and the plot looks interesting at first but in the end when the main story unfolds, its not anything new or shocking at all. If you are thinking of reading Sheldon for the first time, completely avoid this, try his previous masterpieces, they were great. It looks like he wrote this book in a hurry because he was short on money and just wanted to use his good reputation to make some bucks with this un interesting read. That's just how I felt, not worth the money at all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2005

    exciting read

    i chose to read this book on sunday, that should tell something! this book keeps reader interested and guessing and also has bits of romace that did not botter me at all... thumbs up!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2005

    Disappointing ... mystery or romance? hmmm!

    Four deaths in four locations - the link is that the victims work for the same agency -- KIG a 'think tank' institution. Global 'problem solvers' is a great premise for a plot but Sheldon does not deliver in depth. Are You Afraid of the Dark is a shallow writing. The author renders a 'script' that delivers a screenplay. The dialog exchanges are weak in content and relevance. The story would catch more attention as a lightweight, two-hour TV film. Sidney Sheldon's name attracts readers because of the reputation he has established with award-winning screenplays, and such¿ The story picks up momentum of promised intrigue but stops dead¿ off and on¿ describing character's clothing, how he/she dressed for a date, how many Armani suits hang in the closet, where they went on dates, and other trivial thinking, so that, if those aspects were removed from the story, it would not harm the writing at all. Sheldon doesn't fail on all counts¿ favorable are the technology aspects, such as business cards with microdot for tracing, the voice recording and voice impression units the two protagonists, Diane and Kelly kick butt with their brainpower to outwit the antagonists -- often, but alas all ladies are 'lovely oval face¿ lovely figures¿ etc.' -- a definite turnoff to what COULD HAVE BEEN a deeper read and a page turner. Positive is the interesting plot, albeit faltering. Is this a romance or mystery¿ I say hmm? -- The suspense and dialog are weak. The ending is strangely farcical, but you will cheer much for disabled brother Andrew Kingsley. Recommended for readers who want a lightweight read. (Based on the paperback printing)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2005

    Kept you on the edge of your seat until the end of the book.

    This book throws so many twists at you. You never know what is going to happen next. I recommend this book to high school readers and anyone above. If you like a good thriller, and a book that catches you off guard, Are You Afraid of the Dark is the book for you. This book teaches you to trust noone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2005

    TRULY REMARKABLE!!!!!!!!

    Sidney is THE BEST and there is nobody that will deny that -- this book is no exception to his long line of great novels. We wish he would writer faster! He is about 87 now though and I guess hes slowing down? Check out his website if you haven't.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2005

    Brilliant Read

    I spent the whole day captivated by this book. I love Sydney Sheldon's creative mind. He is a wonderful author and I would recommend any of his books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2005

    Ouch! Can I get a Refund?

    I bought this book at the bookstore. Remind me to pay attention to reviews! Simple. Predictable. I'm selling my used copy to the first person who offers enough for a cup of coffee.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2005

    First-time Sheldon reader

    The best I can say is that it approached being mildly entertaining... and that only because I didn't have any other fiction available at the time. I had a hard time getting to the suspension of disbelief. The characters and story seem to have been formulae driven and were not fully convincing. Since the story didn't quite represent istself as fantasy or sci-fi, the unbelievable way the heroines continued to escape danger and the absurdity of the maniacal villians just didn't work for me. It came across as kinda corny... or maybe just something a junior high school student who was only beginning the adventure of reading might enjoy. The intended suspense was predictable, the dialogue was sometimes trite, and the characters seem to be stereotypical. I don't recommend it to my reader friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2004

    Sheldon Just Gets Better and Better

    I was waiting for Sidney Sheldon to write a new book. When I found out his new one was coming out, I put myself on the reserve list at the library. It took a month to get to my turn on the list. What intrigued me was the way Sheldon wove the tale -- and he faced a deteriorating planet at the hands of one man. What is so compelling is that this can actually happen -- what with the polar ice caps melting and the greenhouse effect. The revelation of what Prima actually was was enough to make my heart beat faster. Sheldon is an author you can't put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2004

    Shelton scores another suspense novel

    This fast paced story begins with the death of three men in seperate parts of the world. How do their deaths relate? It is up to two young widows to discover the connection. Their plight takes them on a wild chase while the enemy tries to thart them at every turn. Who is the enemy? I found this to be a fun and exciting book...easy reading and hard to put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2004

    A SUITABLY SCARY READING

    Better keep the lights on (and it wouldn't hurt to make sure the doors are locked) when you listen to the latest thriller by that master of suspense, Sidney Sheldon. Actually, I'm doing him a bit of a disservice by calling him a 'master of suspense' when, in actuality, he's a master of much - from creating hit television programs to winning an Oscar to being the most translated author in the world. But, there's not room to list all of his awards and accolades, so to 'Are You Afraid of the Dark?' on audio CDs by HarperAudio. This scary story of two young women fighting for their lives is ably read by Kit Flanagan. She gives each woman equal emphasis, clearly projecting their fears and strengths. Four mysterious happenings occur - miles apart. Surely there can't be a connection. A woman disappears while on a street in Berlin; the Eiffel Tower is a take-off platform for a man; a small plane goes down in Denver; and the East River yields a body in New York. It doesn't take authorities long to discover that there can be and is a connection - the four people in question are all connected to an enormous think tank. The widows of two of the victims, Kelly Harris and Diane Stevens, are young and bereaved. They meet in New York where the head of the think tank convinces them that he's stopping at nothing to find out how and why their husbands died. Those questions almost become moot when Kelly and Diane discover that their lives are at stake. Who wants to destroy them and why? They do not know. Sheldon always delivers shivers, and he does it again. - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2004

    disappointing read

    ive read all books written by sidney sheldon and i was amazed to see how sheldon has stooped to such a low level of work. I only hope that his art revives and hes able to write as good as he used to before.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2004

    waste of time and money

    should have read the reviews before I bought this one. very amaturish and totally disappointing and that is being nice. can't believe sidney sheldon wrote this. no one with sidney sheldon's talent should even think this was a good story. shame on him...susan

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2004

    Not what I expected

    I was really disappointed with this book. I am a huge fan of Sheldon's other books, but this one was so slow--boring at times and the dialogue between the characters was unrealistic. Its a stinker.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2004

    Disappointing

    I can't believe I actually waited for this book and even finished it! Plot was preditable and slow, characters were one dimensional, and writing style was choppy and simplicitic. Not what I expected from Sheldon.

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