Mortal Fear

Mortal Fear

4.1 38
by Greg Iles
     
 

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By day, Harper Cole works as a commodities trader and at night he leads quite a different life, serving as a systems operator for an exclusive erotic online service that caters to the rich and famous. But a stranger has now penetrated the network's state-of-the-art security, brutally murdering six celebrated female clients. Falsely accused of these horrible crimes,… See more details below

Overview

By day, Harper Cole works as a commodities trader and at night he leads quite a different life, serving as a systems operator for an exclusive erotic online service that caters to the rich and famous. But a stranger has now penetrated the network's state-of-the-art security, brutally murdering six celebrated female clients. Falsely accused of these horrible crimes, Harper realizes he must lure an elusive madman into the open--and place everything he holds dear directly in the killer's path!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Yet another serial killer stalks the Internet, this one courtesy of the talented Iles (Black Cross; Spandau Phoenix). When futures trader Harper Cole, who moonlights as the systems operator of an erotic online services called EROS, contacts the New Orleans police with information about the murder of celebrated author-and EROS subscriber-Karin Wheat, he immediately becomes the prime suspect in six other murders of EROS subscribers across the country. Also on the FBI's short list is Cole's eccentric friend and EROS colleague Miles Turner, who has dubbed the killer "Brahma." When Cole learns that the man he thought was Brahma was killed a year ago and that his online identity was stolen, a tense cat-and-mouse game commences. Professional hunters, like FBI psychiatric profiler Arthur Lenz, have the online tables turned on them time and again by an insanely brilliant murderer, and it's up to Cole to render justice. His digging leads to an exciting payoff when he goes online and poses as a potential victim, using as bait a secret that endangers the mother of his child, as well as his wife. While Cole's obsession over this guilty secret makes him less than likable at times, a nailbiting climax erases any doubts about his character-and any lingering questioning about the storytelling abilities of Iles, who here uses rich first-person narration and clever plotting to tell a sizzler of a thriller. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection; simultaneous Penguin Audio Book. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Successful commodities trader Harper Cole, who moonlights as a systems operator for computer sex-line EROS, works via computer from his home in Rain, Mississippi. When several EROS regulars suddenly disappear, Harper suspects foul play. His subsequent report to the police leads to a manhunt for a diabolical genius stalking his prey through the EROS network. When the FBI fails to capture the killer, Harper and friend Miles masquerade online as a potential victim, using the persona of Harper's sister-in-law as bait. Events escalate, and Harper and wife Dr. Drewe Cole become trapped in a personal struggle with the madman as his lethal attacks strike ever closer to home. Iles (Black Cross, LJ 11/15/94) scores high with this psychological thriller, easily accessible even to the computer-semiliterate. Though a bit too long, allowing for predictability at the end, it is still a chilling roller-coaster ride all the same. Recommended-Lori Dunn, Montgomery Cty. P.L., Troy, N.C.
Kirkus Reviews
An exuberant if somewhat hokey computer age serial-killer- thriller combines voyeuristic sex, Internet technobabble, tedious brain research, and southern-fried soap opera with a high degree of stay-up-all-night suspense.

Can you hate a novel that hacks off Anne Rice's head in the first chapter? Shaken by the news of the gory murder of New Orleans gothic horror novelist "Karin Wheat," Harper Cole, a self-made commodities trader and secret systems operator of EROS, an upscale Internet sex-chat service, knows that when Wheat wasn't pounding out bestselling terror tales, she was sharing her deepest erotic fantasies with other pseudonymous EROS members, six of whom have been mysteriously murdered within the last year. Fearing that the killer has gained access to EROS's secret files, Cole, who labors in obscurity from a home office hidden among Mississippi cotton fields, calls the New Orleans police and thus brings calamity on himself, his hardworking ob/gyn wife, his sexpot sister-in-law Erin, fatherly FBI forensic psychiatrist Arthur Lenz, and Cole's best friend, eccentric computer genius Miles Turner, creator of the EROS network. To lure the serial killer into revealing himself, Cole goes online pretending to be Erin, a tactic whose gender- switching eroticism is never realized as Iles (Black Cross, 1995, etc.) dumps a fishmonger's cart of red herrings in Cole's path. The villain is a typically brilliant homicidal übermensch who confounds the best efforts of the FBI but is so obsessed with computers, neurology, and obscure Hindu mythology that he can't help but talk online about how brilliant he is, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. Iles counters this tedium with expertly detailed violence, computer lore, and predictable plotting that eventually brings the killer to Cole's doorstep, where he attempts to make Cole's wife his ultimate mate.

An overlong but relentlessly readable, by-the-numbers thriller whose up-to-the-minute technology will delight net surfers and Anne Rice fans.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101209066
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/01/1998
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
720
Sales rank:
26,844
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

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Stephen Coonts
Greg Iles mixes action and suspense like a master.

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