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Overview

Love hurts.
FBI agent Kelly Feinman knows this is true. While she is recovering from an attack by a serial killer called the "Acid Man," her husband leaves her. Physically and emotionally scarred by the murderer, Kelly feels she will never be the same. She is cut off not only from her husband and child, but also from her fellow FBI agents, who see her as a rogue for going after the Acid Man alone.

Love is hell.
Matt Connor knows this is true. His love for his girlfriend, Amy, is so intense that he feels he is in heaven when he is with her. When Amy leaves him for another man, Matt is shattered. In agony, he plans a diabolical scheme that first calls for him to disappear from the face of the earth. His revenge will make Amy wish she had never been born.

Love can heal.
Matt's act of vengeance puts him in charge of Amy's infant son. He discovers a soothing warmth in Jimmy's eyes that makes him wonder if Amy's betrayal truly merited wrecking the child's life. Yet Matt's heart cannot be made whole until he has won Amy back.

Kelly cannot be made whole until she understands the depth of evil that lurks behind the Acid Man. Ironically, to rid herself and the world of her nemesis, she must seek out Matt Connor, a wanted man she has been ordered to bring to justice.

In Falling, Christopher Pike explores the depth and breadth of human emotion through two brilliantly etched characters: Kelly Feinman, who pays a terrible price to understand the nature of true evil, and Matt Connor, a classic antihero who captures the listener's sympathy. The listener is drawn deeply into the hearts and minds of these two people, who almost against our will force us to faceour deepest fears. It is that power that makes Falling impossible to forget.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Pike's gripping thriller pays homage to Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter novels, particularly in the character of FBI agent Kelly Feinman, who fills the Clarice Starling role. An unlikely law-enforcement agent, Kelly was an academic drafted by the bureau as a consultant based on her graduate thesis on mythology. Kelly puts her expertise to use on a particularly savage case, that of a man dubbed "the Acid Killer," who has sent the Feds DVDs of his sadistic murders of women he believes have been unfaithful. Her research leads her to a promising suspect, but her desire to solve the case on her own places her life in jeopardy. Pike (The Cold One) deftly interweaves this plot with the elaborate, Edmund Dantes–like revenge scheme of Matt Connor, a California man who was himself betrayed by the woman he loved. While some of the action sequences involving Kelly strain credibility, the intricate, thoughtful plot offers enough fresh variations on the serial-killer theme to keep readers turning the pages. (Feb.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Gruesome serial killings, a faked death, kidnapping, pervy sex, mind games and a revenge fantasy-pretty sick, but pretty sensational. The Acid Man ravishes married women nationwide, then punishes them for their infidelity by pouring acid on their hearts. FBI maverick (with a Ph.D. in mythology) Kelly Feinman tracks him down, then stops him for good by rendering him paraplegic. Nothing less than lurid will do for Pike (The Blind Mirror, 2003, etc.), who concocts literary crack for adrenaline junkies jaded after too many a milder thriller. Acid trip concluded, Kelly next tracks Jimmy, an abducted infant and spawn of the bruising union of sultry, slithery Amy and hubby David, big shot and a royal pain. The marriage is the aftershock of Amy's dumping of nice-guy Matt, who's so injured by her betrayal that "everything hurt, even his hair." After seven months plotting reprisals, Matt acquires a fake beard and AKA, rents a plane, crashes it into the Pacific, scuba-dives up and lies low. He then surfaces to stalk Amy and three-month-old Jimmy (whose DNA proves to have come from him, not David). Hoisting Jimmy over his shoulder and descending a ladder, Lindberg-baby-style, Matt demands diamonds and a million in cash as ransom, gets 'em and once more disappears. Super-savvy Kelly deciphers Matt's bogus plane crash, connects the dots to Amy and sets out in pursuit. Eerie parallels mark this cat and mouse: he, the love-wounded, elusive mastermind; she, every bit as cunning, smarting from the agony of her divorce. Gussied up with Kelly's allusions to world mythology and lines from Dante, this is stylishly written, but it's the corkscrew plotting and twisted imagination that provide the (guilty)pleasures here.
From the Publisher
"Gripping . . . pays homage to Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter novels, particularly in the character of FBI agent Kelly Feinman. The intricate, thoughtful plot offers enough fresh variation on the serial-killer theme to keep readers turning the pages."—Publishers Weekly on Falling

"Eerie parallels mark this cat and mouse: he, the love-wounded, elusive mastermind; she, every bit as cunning, smarting from the agony of her divorce. This is stylishly written, but it's the corkscrew plotting and twisted imagination that provide the (guilty) pleasures here."—Kirkus Reviews on Falling

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423332794
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 3/6/2007
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 1 MP3-CD, 14 hrs.
  • Edition number: 1
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Pike is the bestselling author of The Season of Passage, The Cold One, The Blind Mirror, and many other horror novels. Pike’s young-adult fiction, which made him a household name, includes The Last Vampire, Remember Me, Chain Letter, and the Alosha series: Alosha, The Shaktra, and The Yanti.

Christopher Pike lives in Santa Barbara, California.

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Read an Excerpt

Falling


By Pike, Christopher

Tor Books

Copyright © 2008 Pike, Christopher
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780765356444

Chapter One The first sensation Matt Connor felt when he awoke that morning of all mornings was pain. For a long time he had come out of unconsciousness to a feeling of loss in his chest, and he had come to accept it as inevitable. It was ironic that the pain was quickly followed by a wave of love. Thoughts of her smile and hair caught forever in a yellow ray of sunshine. He still loved Amy Techer, always would, and he hated her more than words could say. That morning was special because it was the start of the day Matt planned to fake his death and disappear from the face of the earth. A bold plan, and he was not by nature a bold man. Yet Amy had changed him into something he was not. He had set the alarm for six but his eyes opened at five. He closed them and rolled over but sleep was lost. He felt unsettled on top of his pain. When he left his bed, he would never return to it. He would never see his apartment again—his stuff. Not that he had much. Thirty years old to the day, he thought grimly, and how little he had to show for it. The brief reflection hardened his resolve. His stomach was knotted and his heart pounded but he would go through with his plan. If he could not have love then she would not have it either. He wondered how many other men throughout history had come to thesame conclusion. Matt got out of bed and took a hot shower. Tonight, if he was not careful, he would suffer a cold bath. He was an excellent pilot but an inexperienced skydiver. Of course, not many people riding a parachute to earth were required to hit a boat at night in the middle of the sea. Yet that particular challenge did not daunt him as much as others. Those other tasks would come later, after he was dead to the world, when he could no longer be blamed. Until then he just had to be systematic—do the job and not think. Still, he thought of her, of Amy. The name alone was a curse. He had scarce food in his apartment: a carton of milk, a loaf of bread, two overripe bananas. He made toast and spread jam and butter on it and wolfed down the milk while he dialed his mother. She lived in Santa Barbara, ninety miles north of his Santa Monica apartment. His mother had always hated that he never chewed his food. He supposed he had a streak of impatience in him, along with other things. Although early, his mother answered on the second ring. She was unhappy that he wouldn’t be arriving for his birthday party until seven that night. The insignificance of that particular concern troubled him deeply. His mother would never see him again. “Why do you have to finish your scuba lessons today?” she asked after they had talked a minute. “I’ve wanted the certificate for a while. To get it on my birthday makes me feel like things are coming together for the next decade.” “You already have everything going for you, Matt. Now that Cindy’s in your life. Should I expect her early this evening?” “I’m not sure. I’m going to call her in a few minutes.” “She didn’t spend the night?” His mother was being coy. She liked Cindy, much more than she had liked Amy. None of his friends or family had cared for his ex-girlfriend. They saw what she had done to him; they thought they saw. He liked Cindy Firestone as well. A nice girl, but made of papier-mâché when touched by his wretched hands. He could not really care for her because she was not Amy. It was so unfair to her, but he continued to date her even though he saw she was falling for him. She was his insurance; she provided extra cover for his plan. He had a girlfriend, the police would say to themselves, he had a life for godsakes. His death would be seen as an accident, nothing more. “No. She didn’t spend the night,” he replied. He didn’t know what to add. At this point, the less he said, the better. “How are you two getting along?” “Great.” He had to take a breath to lie. “I care about her a lot.” “She’s excited about your party. She struggled over what to get you. You’re going to be surprised.” “I like surprises.” He added suddenly, “I told you about that bathroom I have to finish in Orange County? I better get going.” “You shouldn’t be working Saturdays. On your birthday, of all days. You have to have more fun. You won’t be young forever.” “I’ll have fun soon.” He had a lump in his throat. The last time he would hear his mother’s voice. She’d had him late, at forty, and his father had passed away the previous year. He had no brothers or sisters. He was the center of her universe. She had a weak heart—his death could kill her. He had thought about that endlessly. Yet the thoughts had not halted his plan. His pain cut deeper than blood ties. He had to say goodbye. He added, “We’ll have fun tonight.” His mother might have heard something in his voice. “Take care, son,” she said quietly. “You too, Mom.” He set down the phone and closed his eyes. His heart no longer pounded. Inside was cold. The icy sting of the ocean tonight—should he hit it—would be welcome. He deserved to suffer for the suffering he could not bear. Cindy slept late on Saturdays but did not mind being awakened. He had met her three months earlier at a coffee shop in Santa Monica. One of those late-night encounters that usually held more promise than substance. She was studying architectural diagrams, ones she had designed. They struck up a conversation about the Los Angeles skyline. Her knowledge of the city’s major buildings was impressive. He did not remember who said hello first, but when they parted she was the one to offer her number. She liked to take risks. Later, she told him she was intrigued that he might be a dangerous character. The remark had amused him. It was rare that women hit on him. Six foot and well-built—with a shock of choirboy brown hair and intense dark eyes—he supposed he was handsome enough. But he was very shy; he did not invite casual attention. Cindy was the opposite. She would find out where the busboy who cleaned the table went to school. It was important for her to connect to people. She felt they were connected. But she was still trying to understand why they had not been intimate yet. She suspected Amy was a lingering problem. Matt had been vague when describing what had happened. Like his mom, Cindy was quick to answer the phone. He could imagine her sleepy smile. Red hair and freckles, she was a lanky doll stitched together with enthusiasm. She jogged five miles each morning before going to work at a design firm in the valley. One day, she swore, she was going to build the perfect home. She saw him living in it with her. He promised to help her put the pieces together, knowing it would never happen. Sometimes being with her made him think of Amy even more. Of course, the essence of their relationship would have been obvious to a first-year psychology student. He treated Cindy as Amy had initially treated him. Their bond was a sixties pop song—he kept her hanging on. Amy had not even let him kiss her for several months. When he made out with Cindy, he kept his eyes tightly shut. He knew what he did to her was wrong and he did it anyway. “I was just thinking of you,” she said in a drowsy voice. “You were asleep.” “Then I was dreaming of you.” She yawned. “I’m glad you called. Hey, happy birthday. How does it feel to be thirty?” “Good.” Nothing felt good. “How are you doing?” “Great. Looking forward to your party tonight. Wish I could fly over to Catalina with you. Why don’t you take me?” “It’s better you get to my mom’s before me. You can keep her company.” He was glad Cindy would be with his mother when she received the news that his plane had gone down. Cindy was strong; she would get his mother through the first dark days. She groaned. “You’re so difficult. Hey, I need that guy’s number who taught you how to fly. You said he might want to come with his girlfriend. Was it Clark?” “Yeah. I can get it for you later.” He did not want Clark at the party. He did not want an expert—personally connected to him—going to the Santa Barbara Airport and studying the radar tapes that described the course of his plane before it crashed. Not that Clark should be able spot anything unusual, but one could never be sure. “When?” she asked. “I’ll call you from the road with it.” Another promise he would not keep. He did not want to contact Cindy again. If his cell phone records were later examined, they could show that he had not been in Orange County during the first half of the day. “Great.” Her voice softened. “I miss you. I wish I was there with you now, lying beside you.” They had slept together eight times and not had sex. He told her he opened up slowly—a favorite Amy line. The odd thing was that Cindy was every bit as attractive as Amy. But to lie naked beside her in bed did nothing for him. While the mere thought of being close to Amy filled him with longing. “You okay?” she asked when he did not respond. “Yeah. Just thinking about the day.” “Do you miss me?” “Sure. But I’ll see you tonight.” She hesitated. “Can I sleep with you at your mother’s house?” She wanted to make love. Normally, he would have responded with his standard, “We’ll see.” But now all his promises were moot. There was no reason not to leave her with a dream. Amy had not bothered to do the same for him. “That would be great,” he said. She sighed. “I think I could love you, Matt.” “I feel the same way,” he replied, the worst lie of all. He had to get off the phone before he caused more harm. “I better go.” He sounded too abrupt. He should not appear conflicted. “Are you sure you’re all right, Matt?” she asked. “I’m fine.” They exchanged goodbyes. Time to start the long day. Copyright  2007 by Christopher Pike. All rights reserved.

Continues...

Excerpted from Falling by Pike, Christopher Copyright © 2008 by Pike, Christopher. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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