by Jeff Abbott

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455546114
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 05/28/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 581,825
Product dimensions: 4.25(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Jeff Abbott is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen novels. He is the winner of an International Thriller Writers Award (for the Sam Capra thriller The Last Minute) and is a three-time nominee for the Edgar award. He lives in Austin with his family. You can visit his website at

Read an Excerpt


The phone awoke Evan Casher, and he knew something was wrong. No one who knew him ever called this early. He opened his eyes. He reached across the bed for Carrie but she was gone, and her side of the bed was cool. A note, folded, on the pillow. He reached for it but the phone continued its insistent shrill, so he answered.

"Hello," he said.

His mother said: "Evan. I need you to come home. Right now." She spoke in a low whisper.

He fumbled for the bedside lamp. "What's the matter?"

"Not over the phone. I'll explain when you get here."

"Mom, it's a two-and-half hour drive. Just tell me what's wrong."

"Evan. Please. Just come home."

"Is Dad all right?" His father, a computer consultant, had left Austin three days ago for a job in Australia. He made databases dance and sing for big companies and governments. Australia. Long flights. He had a sudden vision of a plane, scattered across the outback or Sydney Harbor, ripped metal, smoke rising. "What's happened?"

"I just need you here, okay?" Calm but insistent.

"Mom, please. Not until you tell me what's going on."

"I said not on the phone." She fell silent, he said nothing, and the uncomfortable tension of an unexpected standoff rose for ten long seconds until she broke it. "Did you have a lot of work to do today, sweetheart?"

"Just edits on Bluff."

"Then bring your computer with you, you can work here. But I need you here. Now."

"What's the big deal about not telling me?"

"Evan." He heard his mother take a steadying breath. "Please."

The naked, almost frightening neediness—tone he had never heard in his mother's voice— made her sound like a stranger to him. "Um, okay, Mom, I can leave in an hour or so."

"Sooner. As soon as possible."

"All right then, in like fifteen minutes or so."

"Hurry, Evan. Just pack and come as fast as you can."

"Okay." He fought down a rising panic.

"Thank you for not asking questions right now," she said. "I love you and I'll see you soon, and I'll explain everything."

"I love you, too."

He put the phone back in the cradle, a little disoriented with the shock of how the day started. Now wasn't the time to tell his mother that he was in love. Seriously, crazy, in Romeo-and-Juliet love.

He opened the note. It simply said, Thanks for a great evening. I'll call you later. Had early morning errands. C.

He got in the shower and wondered if he'd blown it last night. I love you, he'd told Carrie, when they lay spent in the sheets. The words rose to his mouth without thought or effort, because if he'd weighed the consequences, he would have kept his mouth shut. He never said the L-word first. Before, he had told only one woman he loved her, and that had been his last girlfriend, hungry for his reassurance, and he'd said it because he thought it might be true. But last night was different. No might or maybe; he knew with certainty. Carrie lying next to him, her breath tickling his throat, her fingernail tracing a line along his eyebrow and she looked so beautiful and he said the big three words and they felt as true in his heart as anything he had ever known.

Pain flared in her eyes when he spoke and he thought, I should have waited. She doesn't believe it because we're in bed. But she kissed him and said, "Don't love me."

"Why not?"

"I'm trouble. Nothing but trouble." But she held him tight, as though she were afraid he would be the one to vanish.

"I love trouble." He kissed her again.

"Why? Why would you love me?"

"What's not to love?" He kissed her forehead. "You have a great brain." He kissed between her eyes. "You see the beauty in everything." He kissed her mouth and grinned. "You always know the right thing to say. . .unlike me."

She kissed him back and they made love again and when they were done she said, "Three months. You can't really know me."

"I'll never know you. We never know another person as much as we like to pretend."

She smiled, snuggled up close to him, pressed her face to his chest, put her mouth close to his beating heart. "I love you, too."

"Look at me and say it."

"I'll say it here to your heart," she said. A tear trickled from her cheek to his chest.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing. Nothing. I'm happy," Carrie said. She kissed him and said, "Go to sleep, baby."

And he did and now, in the hard light of day, she was gone, the whispers and the promises gone with her. And this distant note. But maybe this was for the best. She was nervous. And the last complication he needed was explaining a mysterious family disaster.

He tried Carrie's cell phone. Left her a voice mail. "Babe, I've got a family emergency, I've got to go to Austin. Call me when you get this." He thought, I shouldn't say it again, it scared her off but he said, "I love you and I'll talk to you soon."

Evan tried his father's cell phone. No answer. Not even voicemail picking up. But his dad's phone might not connect in Australia. He put the plane crash scenario out of his mind. He followed his clockwork morning regimen: fired up his computer, checked his to-do list, checked his news feed: no disasters reported in Australia. Perhaps this was a disaster on a smaller scale. Cancer. Divorce. The thought dried his throat.

He clicked on his email, shot off a message to his dad saying, Call me ASAP, then downloaded his emails. His in-box held an invitation to speak at a film conference in Atlanta; e-mails from two other documentary filmmakers who were friends of his; a pile of music files and a couple of her latest digital photos, all sent by his mother late last night. He synced the music to his digital player; he'd listen to the songs in the car. Mom thrived on obscure bands and tunes, and she'd found three great songs for his earlier movies. He checked to be sure he had all the footage he still needed to edit for his nearly completed documentary on the professional poker circuit. Made sure that he had the raw notes for a talk he was supposed to give at for a speech at University of Houston next week. He slid his laptop, his digital music player, and his digital camcorder into his backpack. Evan packed a bag with a weekend's worth of clothes his mother hated for him to wear: old bowling shirts, worn khakis, tennis shoes a year past their prime.

His watch said seven-fifteen. It was not quite a three-hour drive from Houston to Austin.

Evan locked the door behind him and headed to his car. This wasn't the day he had planned. He fought his way through the morning snarl of Houston traffic, listening to the music his mother sent last night. He wanted Spanish-flavored electronic funk for the opening scenes of his poker-player documentary, and no songs he'd heard yet sounded right, but this music was perfect for what he needed.

He tapped his fingers to the beat as he drove and kept waiting for his cell to ring, his father or Carrie calling, his mom calling to say all was suddenly fine, but his phone stayed silent all the way to Austin.

His mother's front door was locked. Mom kept her photography studio out in a garage apartment, and he decided she must have retreated to the comfort of film, primer, and solitude.

He unlocked the door with his key and stepped inside. "Mom?" he called out. No answer.

He walked toward the back of the house, toward the kitchen. He had bought his mom her favorite pastries, peach kolaches from a bakery she adored in LaGrange halfway from Houston, and he wanted to put up the food before he headed to her studio.

Evan turned the corner and saw his mother lying dead on the kitchen floor.

—Reprinted from Panic by Jeff Abbott by permission of Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA). Copyright © 2005 by Jeff Abbott. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced without permission.

What People are Saying About This

Harlan Coben

Panic is a sleek, smart thriller that combines a family tragedy, international intrigue, and the redemptive power of love into one of this year's best books. There is no question: Jeff Abbott is the new name in suspense.

Michael Connelly

Panic is a ride down the roaring rapids. Jeff Abbott has put together a hell of a page turner.


Ransom Notes Interview with Jeff Abbott

Paul Goat Allen: After seven bestselling paperback releases, how does it feel to release Panic in hardcover? How big an accomplishment is this for you?

Jeff Abbott: It's a big step. Being [published] in paperback meant selling lots of copies but not usually getting a lot of reviews or press. Even before it's out, Panic has gotten a ton of buzz, so it's an exciting experience for me. I hope Panic will let me reach a much bigger audience.

PGA: What was the creative spark behind this book?

JA: On good days, a big, dramatic question just pops into my head -- often in the shower. In this case, it was, "What if everything in your life was a lie? And suddenly, in one terrible moment, that lie was exposed?" You would question what your life had been, who you truly were. In Panic, Evan's not only trying to survive being hunted by a ruthless group of killers who have stolen his safe and happy life; he's also trying to find out the truth about his parents and, most important, the truth about himself. I wanted the emotion in the book -- Evan's need to take back his life and learn the truth about the people he loves -- to be as compelling as the chase scenes and the intrigues and double-crosses between the characters.

PGA: One of the remarkable things about Panic is the amazingly dense plot; there's a bombshell twist in practically every chapter. How difficult -- and/or fun! -- was it to piece together this story line?

JA: You want every twist to come out of the interactions between the characters. That means creating characters who are at extraordinary levels of desperation -- to save themselves or to reach their goals. At this moment in their lives, it's all or nothing. For Evan Casher and his family and for the powerful people trying to destroy them, the stakes could not be higher. So the characters -- both the good guys and the bad guys -- drove the story at a breakneck pace. I hope readers have as much fun reading Panic as I did writing it.

PGA: I recently read Dean Koontz's Velocity, and I couldn't help but compare writing styles -- intricate plotlines; foreboding, evocative, intimate, relentless pacing, etc. When you first started writing, what authors were you trying to emulate? What were some of your most influential genre-related novels growing up?

JA: Thank you for the very generous comparison. Dean Koontz is amazing -- probably my favorite of his is Intensity. I'm a big fan of Eric Ambler, who pioneered the "ordinary man in extraordinary danger" style of suspense novel back in the 1930s. His Journey into Fear is one of the great suspense novels of all time. John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels, with their incredibly tight pacing and wonderful characters, were another big influence -- my favorite is The Dreadful Lemon Sky. I'm also a huge fan of Patricia Highsmith, who wrote Strangers on a Train and created enormous suspense out of everyday fears.

PGA: What are you reading at the moment, and who are some of your current favorite authors?

JA: Michael Connelly's Chasing the Dime, which is one of his terrific stand-alone thrillers. Other favorites include Harlan Coben, Lee Child, and Laura Lippman. There are so many great crime writers working now, too many to list.

Customer Reviews

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Panic 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When an unsuspecting person leading an ordinary existence is suddenly trapped in a horrifying, life threatening situation it is even more spine tingling than when readers/listeners know there's probably a psycho on the loose or an extra-terrestrial hovering. This abrupt twist is only one of the plots at which Jeff Abbott excels. In the case of 'Panic' we meet young film maker Evan Casher. Life is good for Evan - his career is on the upswing and his girl, Carrie, seems to be the woman he'd hoped to meet. One phone call from his mother turns his world upside down. He travels to Austin, Texas, only for a shocking surprise - his mother has been murdered and his father missing. Further, there's a swift attempt on Evan's life and he has no idea why. Evan has never heard of the Deeps, never even dreamed of a spy ring made up of sadistic killers but they're the ones pursuing him. They believe he has access to a computer file holding information that would seriously compromise the Deeps. How did this come to be? No spoilers here - suffice it to say that his mother, a travel photographer, and his dad, a computer whiz, were secret agents. What of Carrie who appeared to be the girl of his dreams? Those who remember Abbott's 'Cut and Run' and 'Black Jack Point well know this author turns out heart-stopping thrillers. Right on with 'Panic.' Voice performer L. J. Ganser (seen on TV's Guiding Light, As The World Turns, etc) turns in a pulse racing performance as Evan tries to stay alive, save his father, and discover the secrets of his past. High level intrigue and suspense at the touch of a button. Don't miss this one! - Gail Cooke
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Panic is a great thriller about a man discovering his life is a lie. Brilliant writing. The plot unfolds at the perfect pace.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What if you discover your whole life is a well constructed web of lies? That's the premise of Jeff Abbott's Panic. It is a remarkable book. The plot never thins. Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has a lot going for it. There is a healthy serving of action, blood, a ton of suspense and more dead bodies than the New York City morgue on a busy night. The problems I found are few and far between, but do keep it from receiving a perfect score. The relationship between Evan & Carrie seems forced at times. This book isn't anything close to a romance novel, so the only reason I can see for the forced romance is to fill the necessary cliché. I personally was disappointed with the ending, but that's just me wishing things had turned out differently. There¿s great potential for a thriller Hollywood flick here. Over all, a great, fast paced read that should be finished in no time. The book got my adrenalin going a number of times and for that I give it just due. If I could award 4 1/2 stars, I would.
1dachsmom More than 1 year ago
Love Jeff Abbott's books. This one is a little hard to follow - a bit more strange because of the characters, but on the whole, I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed, try it.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Twenty-four years old documentary filmmaker Evan Casher feels he owns the world and the universe is next in his grasp. The reasons he feels euphoric on life are his career seems on the verge of major success as he is in demand and he cherishes his girlfriend Carrie, who seems to reciprocate his high regard................ When his mother calls in a state of panic, a stunned Evan races to Austin to insure she is okay. However, he arrives as someone brutally murders his mother and tries to kill him too. Evan knows he is fortunate to escape with his life and that only because some weird former CIA operative Gabriel rescued him. On the run, Evan begins to learn what he thought was his heritage is a total fabrication. He has no idea what is going on or who to turn to for information. He quickly realizes he must trust no one including the agent who saved his life, law enforcement, the CIA, or even his maybe biological father he seeks for answers. He wonders if he has turned paranoid as Evan even questions whether Carrie was part of the fraud that he once called his life................... PANIC is a powerhouse of a thriller filled with twists and turns that keep readers guessing what is going on. Evan is a terrific center holding the tale together while coping with his shock that nothing about his life is true. The support cast adds depth to this Kafka existence in which the beleaguered hero feels like the Prisoner starring in a deadly version of The Truman Story...................... Harriet Klausner
susannelson on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Ok but definitely not a favorite. Better than Fear was though
Zare on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Evan is a director of documentaries. He is a quiet guy fully immersed into his work. Everything seems to go OK - he is in love with Carrie and starts to plan for possible marriage. All is working fine until one day he receives a distress call from his mother urging him to get to his parents house. The very moment he arrives there he finds himself targeted by unknown people, running for his very life and constantly lied to by almost everybody he meets - and worst of all it seems that his parents..... well it seems they weren't exactly the folks they presented themselves to be.Fast paced action, it will keep you glued to the book until the very end.Recommended.
Reacherfan on LibraryThing 28 days ago
One morning Evan Cashier gets a phone call from his mom telling him that he has to come home right away. She tells him that she doesn't want to say anything on the phone, but she'll explain everything. He doesn't want to go, but he does. He he arrives home, he sees his mother's body on the floor. The killers are still there and go after Evan. While he's being chased his world started to fall a part. He has to figure out who's killed his mom, and after him, and find his father. He can't trust anyone because people all around him are lying to him. He soon learns that his parents aren't who he thought they were. As he learns the truth, more and more people are after him, and he has to figure out why. That's pretty much an over view of the plot. Over all it was an okay read that started off so good, but then gets silly. When I found out the truth on what was going on, and the reason's why Evan's mom was killed, and his parents past, it was just so silly. I didn't mind it that it was so far fetched, but I didn't think it was logical. The more I learned about Evan and his family, the less I cared. The characters were okay, but kind of flat. There was one person who was afraid of snakes, but nothing was made of that.
mikedraper on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Evan Casher had a normal life until his mother called and said she needed to see him right away. He goes to her home but finds her murdered. The killers also try to kill him but a man who says he's Evan's mother's friend saves him.Steven Jargo is the man who killed Evan's mom. Dizz is his son and associate. They are information brokers. Carrie Lindstrom is the girl posing as Ev's girlfriend so she can get info that may be in Evan's computer.The man who saved Ev says his name is Gabriel. He says Ev's mother hired him to get her out of Austin. He also asks Ev about files in his computer. Now Evan doesn't know who to trust and he runs from Gabriel.Evan learns that everything he believed about his family and his past is made up. By checking some names on his father's passports he sees a number of names and when he researches them, he finds one family who disappeared years ago. The story from the internet refers to a concerned neighbor. Evan calls her and asks her to look at his mother's photo on the news and see if that is a photo of her old neighbor. From this, Evan learns his name is Robert Peterson.Evan hooks up with a man nicknamed Shady who owes him a favor. He calls Jargo and finds that he is holding Evan's father and they arrange to meet in New Orleans.Then Evan calls a CIA agent who had been in contact with him and he tells that person about the meeting. When he spoke to Jargo, Ev pretended he had the files Jargo wanted. We learn that they contained Jargo's client list. At the zoo in New Orleans there is a shoot out and a major plot twist that is nicely done and unsuspected. After escaping from the park, Evan is back with Carrie and convinced that she is really CIA and works for Bricklayer. They want to catch Jargo and reveal his clients and some people Jargo has working for him in the CIA who are spies.A good plot that did get a bit confusing. The suspense was good. Evan is not well developed and in the first part of the story I was not drawn to care what happened to him.His development grew and together with Carrie the interest became better.Good suspense, original premise and well told.
porchsitter55 on LibraryThing 28 days ago
I just could not get into this book. I finally put it down after getting near the halfway point. The story seemed okay, just sort of flat to me. Not sure if it was because the book was not good, or if I'm just not in the mood for this kind of story right now. I'm disappointed that I didn't finish it but I was just slogging through it and thought, Enough is Enough! Maybe I'll give it another try down the road....
daland on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Started well and slid off into bad book oblivion. A very poor read.
adriel on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Well written adventure that continuously unfolds deeper. well worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Suspense and fast pacing make this a good thriller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing!!!! For those of you who are looking for a new action packed novel look no further!!!!! I love this book l love the authorhe weaves the most amazing stories. I highly reccomend this!!!!!!!:D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I had never read anything by this author and will most likely choose more of his stories to read. This book was thoroughly entertaining.
Progdad More than 1 year ago
Once again, another great Jeff Abbott story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Holds your interest, fast paced, you never know who the enemy is
Sabrina17RB More than 1 year ago
I have been reading Jeff Abbott's Sam Capra series, so I wanted to sample some of his other books. This was just as action packed and the storyline was good and the charactors were likable and deplorable, as intended. I recommend this book.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Stephen Brayton for Readers' Favorite In Panic, Jeff Abbott gives us Houston documentary filmmaker Evan Casher, who gets a frantic call from his mother in Austin. When he makes a hurried trip home, he finds her dead and is subsequently attacked. Thus begins his run from parties who insist he give them certain files they claim his mother sent. He does not know who he can trust, and this includes his girlfriend who is also part of a shadowy organization called the Deeps. From Texas to Louisiana, to Ohio, to London, and Florida, Evan tries not to panic as he traces the history of the Deeps and discovers his own family ties...and the fact that everything about his life and his parents are not what he believed. For the most part, Evan does NOT panic even when he sees his family history revealed. I heard more panic in those who want Evan to either die or cooperate. Abbott does a fine job of laying out the story, and drew me in with tantalizing bits of how Evan learns the truth little by little. There's intrigue, suspense, and corruption, and something a bit different from the usual run of spy thrillers out there. Something plausible and scary in that it could be true... I listened to the audio version and the narrator helped the story spur the imagination by using believable voices for each character. I've read Abbott's work before and in many of his stories, there's a touch of the bizarre. Panic is no exception. Plenty of action and twists to keep you going. Abbott writes another winner!