What Comes Next

What Comes Next

3.7 19
by John Katzenbach

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When a retired academician witnesses a lovely young woman snatched off the street, he is unsatisfied by the police response and vows to find her on his own. She has been kidnapped and held prisoner by a married couple who have started an exclusive website, named “What Comes Next,” on which viewers can watch, in real time, what befalls their


When a retired academician witnesses a lovely young woman snatched off the street, he is unsatisfied by the police response and vows to find her on his own. She has been kidnapped and held prisoner by a married couple who have started an exclusive website, named “What Comes Next,” on which viewers can watch, in real time, what befalls their victims.

What befalls the pretty teenager at the hands of the depraved couple, as thousands follow every moment of her nightmare, provides one of the most terrifying novels of the year.

Editorial Reviews

Patrick Anderson
…a fiendish story, told with Katzenbach's usual skill and professionalism…[Katzenbach] offers in-depth characterizations and a gripping plot…This is an exceptional novel—and a most troubling one.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Set in a small western Massachusetts college town, bestseller Katzenbach’s impressively powerful and emotional thriller delves into dementia, teenage angst, and Internet voyeurism. After receiving a diagnosis of degenerative dementia, a slow but sure death sentence, Adrian Thomas, a retired professor alone in the world who has “spent much of his academic life studying fear,” decides to go home and shoot himself, but fate intervenes. When Adrian pulls into his driveway, he witnesses a man and a woman in an unmarked van kidnap 16-year-old Jennifer Riggins, who’s running away from home. The couple have seized Jennifer to star in Whatcomesnext.com, a Web site where viewers watch the girl’s torture in real time. Despite his failing mind, Adrian is able to use the psychological insights he gleaned as a professor to hunt for Jennifer. The tense plot smoothly shifts between Adrian, who teams with a skeptical, compassionate detective, and the captive girl. Katzenbach (The Wrong Man) avoids the clichés of dementia, while deftly showing the inner resolve that Adrian and Jennifer each discover in themselves. Agent: Moses Cardona, John Hawkins & Associates. (June)
Washington Post
What Comes Next may be Katzenbach’s best book since The Traveler and is even more relevant. . . . This is an exceptional novel—and a most troubling one.”
Washington Post
What Comes Next may be Katzenbach’s best book since The Traveler and is even more relevant. . . . This is an exceptional novel—and a most troubling one.”
Washington Post
From the Publisher
“William Roberts turns in an effective, nuanced performance in this audio edition. His evocative reading captures the horror of the dark basement in which Jennifer Riggins finds herself held hostage, and his rendition of Jennifer’s inner monologue is sincere and touching. Roberts also successfully navigates a potential minefield in his balanced portrayal of the convicted sex offender. . . . [An] entertaining listen.”
Publishers Weekly

“Roberts’ exacting voice and reading pace fit this psychological thriller. . . . [He] instinctively emphasizes certain words to increase tension or indicate possible clues while never losing momentum. . . . Don’t miss a word of this horrifying tale of depravity.”

Library Journal
Retired psychology professor Adrian Thomas, recently diagnosed with progressive dementia, witnesses the abduction of a neighborhood teen named Jennifer. Adrian reports the crime to police but also launches an independent search. Despite memory loss and frequent hallucinatory "visits" from deceased relatives, he battles to solve the crime. His investigation leads to the seedy underworld of Internet pornography and snuff pages and eventually to a popular pay-per-view website where voyeurs worldwide are consumed with what comes next for an imprisoned teen known only as Number 4. Will Adrian locate Jennifer before illness overwhelms him? Will his investigation help or deter the police? Will the fate of Number 4 continue to attract online viewers, or will her captors gain more if she dies? Spellbound readers will be turning pages quickly to see what comes next. VERDICT Katzenbach (The Madman's Tale; Hart's War) has crafted a suspenseful cat-and-mouse thriller, a perfect literary mash-up of The Truman Show and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Already an international best seller, this will be widely popular with psychological thriller devotees.—Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
Kirkus Reviews
Katzenbach (The Madman's Tale, 2004, etc.) sets an amateur sleuth living on borrowed time to hunt a kidnapped teenager whose time is even shorter in this pulp-ish re-imagining of "The Pit and the Pendulum" for the digital age. Jennifer Riggins is the fourth victim her abductors have taken, and by now they've gotten most of the bugs out of their routine. Deftly snatching her as she's running away from home yet again, the criminal lovers hood her and chain her in a basement in a Massachusetts farmhouse they've rented and put a video feed online for thousands of voyeuristic subscribers around the world who can't stop watching the ultimate reality show. There's only one fly in the ointment: The kidnapping was witnessed by Adrian Thomas, a retired psychology professor on his way home to kill himself after getting a diagnosis of Lewy body dementia, a rare illness that acts like Alzheimer's speeded up. Adrian is already prone to hallucinations and short-term memory lapses, and Det. Terri Collins doesn't find him the ideal witness. On the other hand, now that he's summoned them from the grave, his late wife, his late brother and his late son all provide him with genuinely helpful suggestions, and it doesn't hurt to have Jennifer, now known to her global audience as Number 4, sought by someone with absolutely nothing to lose. Leaning on Mark Wolfe, a registered sex offender, for help doing the unspeakable online research, Adrian slowly zeroes in on the basement where she's being held. But can he rescue her from the fiendish torments her inventive captors have lined up for her? So sadistically measured in its pace that readers will have plenty of time to ask themselves how different they really are from the perverts tuned in to Number 4's sufferings.

Product Details

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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Barnes & Noble
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1 MB

Meet the Author

John Katzenbach is the author of the bestselling In the Heat of the Summer, which became the movie The Mean Season.Two more of his books were made into films in the United States, 1995's Just Cause and 2002's Hart's War.

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What Comes Next 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
gmagus More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read by this author,but it certainly won't be my last.I read 3-4 books a week,and it has been a long time(probably "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo),that a story has effected me so much.The writing is superb,the characters believable,and the dialogue spot on.I HIGHLY recommend this book.You will find yourself standing a cheering for the characters,and be caught up from page one til the end.Well done Mr. Katzenbach,you have a new fan!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was okay but I had a hard time making myself finish it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After finishing the book I still cannot decide what is sicker, the story or the writer. I am baffled how a fairly intelligent and very well educated person can be the author of this thing. The only positive thing I can say about the book is that the rape scene is just aluded to and not described in such painstaking (pun intended) detail than everything else. How can a book like this being published is beyond me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Long and drawn out. Too many unneccesary words. Not that interesting at all. Will steer clear of this author.
Sam-C More than 1 year ago
Stopped after 45 pages.  This is so painfully overwritten that it managed to transform my positive mood into an enraged one every time I picked it up. Mostly, I was heavily editing, so much so that I completely became indifferent to the story. I just can't fathom how such a book came to be published without being placed in front of an editor, or so it seemed. Its page total is 448, which, without hyperbole, could be condensed to maybe 300 or less; I base that on the amount of editing I did during my 45-page prison sentence. I felt like I was the abducted and confined one, not the female teen character. The author writes like his readers are braindead and cannot make the most rudimentary connections by themselves. He has to explain everything he says and also feels chronically compelled to state the obvious, like when he delves into the mindsets of the characters. It truly takes a great deal of effort for me to stop reading a book and throw it into a "discard" pile, but it was quite easy with this one. Don't waste your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gave up around the 200 pg mark. started skipping all of the nonsense about adrians dead loved ones, and the cop. eventually started skipping the pyscho-duo, and soon was only skimming the very short interactions between jennifer and either of her kidnappers. i bought this would be a book about some messed torture-porn web show, and the unfortunate victim. not saying i want her to die.... but that would have been waaayyyy more  interesting. i could see the ending coming from about mile (200 pgs) away. being half way through with the worst thats happened to jennifer being that they fed her didn't give me eve the slightest impression that she was going to experience anything much worse. and as i skimmed it, she didn't (except for a rape seen that vaguely eluded to? idk i stopped caring) Spoiler alert - anyone wondering, the quiz her about her life, they make her exercise and then feed her (even though she didn't stop when she was told to), they make her wash herself with warm soapy water but sh has to remove her bra and panties. and they ask her more questions . she gets hit once or twice. no cuts, no stewing in her own filth, on starvation, no sexual assault (aside from the vague rape. and then after they start implying - or their customers start implying - that the only other interesting they could do is kill her) this book goes way too deep into backstories for almost all the major characters, including everyone single dead loved one of Adrian's. unfortunately, i don't care about their backstories because they're dead.i don't care about the cop, i don't care that she feels for jennifer. i stop caring about jennifer to. i was tragically underwhelmed by this story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept me on the edge of my seat! Really loved how the characters were written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept me intrigued the whole time. I couldn't put this book down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From cover to cover this is a non stop thrill ride book. You won't be able to put it down either... Read it nooowwww!!
Sandra-Gale More than 1 year ago
I waited and looked for this book for two years and it was not a disappointment. I have all of his books and they are changing to "more horrific". A good, very fast read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ALways loved Katzenbach's books. Waited a long time for this one, but well worth it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great characters,great story. Read this even if you find the subject matter distasteful. It is not torture porn. Great ending too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Begs the question, what does come next? I found this novel interesting yet disturbing. Author Katzenbach finds a way to weave a retired Psychology professor, a run+away sixteen year old young woman, a sadistic couple who have devolped a very profitable scheme to lure the perverted viewers on the wild side on the internet and a convicted child sexual molester. From the mind of William Katzenbach, he weaves these characters and a small supporting cast into an intriguing story that poses some tough social problems. And to top it off, even the ending contributes to asking another question that we are asking ourselves. J M Lydon
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finally, a book that can be turned into a movie! This book kept me on my toes with so many twists I didn't see coming. I am definitely reading more by this author. I almost feel ashamed to say look out Stephen King, if this author can keep cranking them out the way you used I may have a new favorite author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
excellent thriller from longtime favorite author!