The Fold: A Novel

The Fold: A Novel

by Peter Clines


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The Fold: A Novel by Peter Clines


The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he's chosen isn’t much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he’s content with his quiet and peaceful existence.  

That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve: far out in the California desert, a team of DARPA scientists has invented a device they affectionately call the Albuquerque Door. Using a cryptic computer equation and magnetic fields to “fold” dimensions, it shrinks distances so that a traveler can travel hundreds of feet with a single step.

The invention promises to make mankind’s dreams of teleportation a reality. And, the scientists insist, traveling through the Door is completely safe.

Yet evidence is mounting that this miraculous machine isn’t quite what it seems—and that its creators are harboring a dangerous secret.  

As his investigations draw him deeper into the puzzle, Mike begins to fear there’s only one answer that makes sense. And if he’s right, it may only be a matter of time before the project destroys…everything.  

A cunningly inventive mystery featuring a hero worthy of Sherlock Holmes and a terrifying final twist you’ll never see coming, The Fold is that rarest of things: a genuinely page-turning science-fiction thriller. Step inside its pages and learn why author Peter Clines has already won legions of loyal fans.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553418293
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 06/02/2015
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

PETER CLINES has published several pieces of short fiction and countless articles on the film and television industries. He is the author of the Ex-Heroes series and the acclaimed standalone thriller 14. He lives in Southern California.

Read an Excerpt


"I just don't think it's that good," said Denise. "It doesn't do anything for me."

Becky bit back a smile, even though Denise couldn't see it over the phone. They'd had this conversation every other week for two months now. It still made for a good distraction, though, and helped fill up the time until Ben got home.
It always worried  her a bit when Ben was away. Ben was in charge of high-security projects. Mostly weapons. Often in high-risk areas. 
Granted, this had been one of the lowest-risk work trips he'd ever taken. Just four days in San Diego. And on a non-weapons project.
  "I mean , Marty really likes it," Denise continued, "but it just seems like nothing but boobs and snow and blood. And the frozen zombie things. I just don't get them. It feels like not a lot ever actually happens, y'know7 Five years and they're still talking about winter."
Becky gathered up some socks, underwear, two T-shirts, a skirt, and a bra that had been scattered across the bedroom floor. She was a horri­ble slob whenever she had the house to herself. Worse than she'd been in college, for some reason she couldn't  figure out. "So why do you keep watching it?"
"Ehh. Marty really likes it. He won't admit it, but I just think he likes all the boobs. Are you guys still watching?"
She walked to the bathroom , and shoved the armload of clothes into the hamper. The bathroom was a mess,  too.  Her yoga clothes and more underwear.  How had she gone through so much  underwear in four days? “We’re a couple episodes behind, but yeah,” she said. “I think he likes the boobs, too. And the dragons.”
Becky put her foot in the trash can and mashed down the small pile of bathroom trash, just enough so it didn’t look like it was overflowing. “We were talking about doing a DVR marathon  this weekend. Some- thing to relax a bit after his trip.”
“When’s he get back?”
“His plane landed a little while ago,” she said. “He sent me a text saying he had to stop at the office and give a quick report to his boss. Probably be home any minute now.”
“Cleaning up your mess?”
She laughed. “You know me too well.” “I should let you go, then.”
“Yeah, probably.”
“Give me a call next week,” Denise said. “Maybe we can all do dinner at that new Japanese place.”
She hung up and tossed the phone on the bed. She looked around and tried to spot anything else he could tease her for leaving out. There was a wineglass on her nightstand, and a plate with a few cheesecake crumbs. And another wineglass on her dresser. God, she was a slob. And a lush.
It crossed her mind now and then that she should try to be one of the good wives. The ones who kept the house clean, and had dinner wait- ing for her husband when he came home. When they’d met, she’d actu- ally been dressed as a 1950s housewife at a Halloween party, complete with martini glass, apron, and a copy of an old Good Housekeeping list of duties she was supposed to perform. He’d laughed, said she didn’t look like the kind of woman who sat around  waiting on a husband, and  bought  her a drink.  They’d  ended  Halloween night with a few things that were not covered in the Good Housekeeping article. Fourteen months later they were married.
She gathered up the glasses and the plate. She could swing by her art studio in the back and grab the dishes there. There was definitely a plate next to her computer from today’s lunch, possibly a wineglass from last night. She could rinse them in the sink, maybe.
As she reached the studio door, a faint rasp of sliding metal echoed from the front of the house. A key in a lock. There was a click, and then the hinge squeaked. They’d been trying to fix that damned thing for years.
The front door.
“Hey, babe,” she called out, setting all the dishes down on the desk. “How was your flight?” Ah, well. He wouldn’t notice them right away in the studio. And it wasn’t like he didn’t know her by now. She took a few steps toward the hall, then decided to take the back staircase. It was closer, and she’d probably meet him in the kitchen.
Something tickled her brain as her foot hit the first step. The lack of something. The usual chain of sounds she heard when Ben got home had been broken. She hadn’t heard the hinge squeak again, or the door close. Or his keys hitting the table in the front hall.
She lifted her foot from the step and walked back down the hall. From the top of the staircase she could see their front door. It sat open by almost a foot. She could smell the lawn outside and hear the traffic heading for the beltway.
Ben wasn’t there. She didn’t see his keys on the table. His briefcase wasn’t shoved under the table where he always tossed it.
Becky took a few steps down the stairs. She peered over the banister to see if he was lurking in the hall. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d leaped out to scare her.
The hallway was empty.
She walked downstairs to the front door. It hung open in a relaxed, casual way. The same way it did when she was heading out to grab the mail or to growl at Pat from down the street for letting her dog crap on their lawn.
Had she left the door open when she went out for the mail earlier? Maybe just enough for the wind to push it open? Had she imagined the sound of the key? Ben was due home any minute. She might’ve just heard the hinge squeak and added everything else.
She leaned out the door. It was cool. This late in the afternoon, the front of the house was in the shade.
Ben’s car was in the driveway. It was right where it always landed, in front of the nearer garage door. She could see a faint shimmer of heat above the hood.
Becky pushed the door shut. The hinges squeaked. The latch clicked.
“Are you in here, babe?”
Floorboards settled. The air in the house shifted. Someone was in the kitchen. She recognized the creak of the tiles near the dishwasher. “Ben?” His name echoed in the house. She took a few strides toward the back of the house. “Where are you?”
The silence slowed her down, then brought her to a stop. “If this is supposed to be funny, it’s not.”
She weighed her options. There was still a chance this was a trick. A joke gone bad. Ben would leap out and make her shriek and she’d hit him and then welcome him home.
It didn’t feel like a trick. The house felt wrong. Ben’s car might be in the driveway, but there was a stranger moving through their home.
They owned a gun. A Glock 17 or 19 or something. She’d taken four classes and gone shooting at the range three times. It was a badass, se- cret agent–level gun. That’s what Ben had said. They’d probably never need it, but better to have it and not need it than need it and not . . .
The Glock was upstairs. In their bedroom.  In the nightstand.  She could take six long steps back and be at the main staircase.
Or take three steps forward and get a view into the kitchen. 
She took two steps forward.
Ben’s briefcase and travel bag sat in the hallway. It was a beat-up, gym bag sort of thing he’d had for years. He still used it because it held three or four days’ worth of clothes, but it fit in an overhead compart- ment. Cut half an hour off his travel time to not be waiting on luggage. “Babe, I swear to God, I’m calling the fucking cops in two minutes.”
Her voice echoed in the house. “This isn’t funny.”
A long groan sounded  above her. The noise of stressed wood. The spot by her studio, close to the door. Neither of them had stepped on it in over a year because it was so damned loud.
Whoever was upstairs had stepped on it.
They were upstairs!
She looked up  at the ceiling. Three seconds passed, and  another board squeaked. She could almost see the footsteps through the plas- ter. Someone was circling around  the house. Straight through  to the kitchen, up the back staircase she’d had her foot on just five minutes ago, and into the upstairs hallway. They were near the bedroom.
Near the gun.
Jesus, why hadn’t she grabbed the gun as soon as things got weird? But why was Ben’s  luggage in the house? Why was his car in the driveway? Had someone grabbed him at the airport? Did he get car- jacked?
There was a panic number she was supposed to call. In case some- thing happened  to him, if someone tried to get to him through  her. He’d given it to her, and she’d never even put it in her phone.
It was in the desk in her studio. Of course.
Becky stepped into the kitchen and grabbed her cell phone from the counter. Then she grabbed a knife from the big block. A wedding present from one of Ben’s old college friends. It was a great set. The blade of the butcher knife was almost fourteen inches long and sharp as hell. And the handle sat well in her hand.
They’d all laughed at the idea that knives were a bad-luck wedding gift.
She slid her fingers over the phone’s screen and tapped in 911. She held off pressing call.  There was still a chance this was a bad joke. Some stupid plan to get a scream or a laugh or excitement sex or some- thing, but he sure as hell wasn’t getting any off this.
And it wasn’t his sort of thing.
She circled through  the living room. It had a thick carpet, almost silent to walk across. Just make it through the house, give Ben one last time to admit he was an idiot, and then out the door. She’d call 911 from the front yard.
She was halfway across the living room when she heard the sound of metal sliding across metal. It was a fast, back-and-forth with a hard snap at the end. She’d heard it a lot at the range. She’d been the one making it.
She swallowed.
Becky looked down at her phone. Could she raise her voice enough to talk? Did the person  upstairs know where she was in the house? What did 911 do when they got a silent call? Did they trace it and send a car? Did they hang up?
She had to get out of the house now.
The front door was closer, but it was a clear shot—bad  choice of words—a  clear line of sight  for anyone  in the  upstairs  hall. Almost straight from their bedroom door to the front door.
The back door was farther away, but there was more weaving and someone would have to get much closer to aim—to see her. She’d have a chance to make the call. But the backyard was a wall of fences around a pool they hadn’t filled for the summer yet. She’d have to run back around to the side gate. And no one would be able to see her. Maybe not even hear her, with all the noise from that new house they were putting up one block over.
Plenty of time and opportunity for someone to grab her and drag her back into the house. It had to be the front door.
Becky gripped the knife, made sure her finger was still near the call button, and took three long strides across the living room. The carpet absorbed her footsteps, but she heard the fabric of her jeans and felt the air move around her.
Her foot hit the hall and she heard the creak of the second step from the top of the staircase. She froze. They were on the stairs. They’d see her going for the front door.
She should’ve gone out the back. She still could. But she’d have to be fast. They’d hear her for sure.
She ran for the door. Feet thumped  on the stairs behind  her. She reached for the knob.
She turned and raised her knife. “You fuckhead,” she gasped.
Ben stood on the staircase, four steps from the bottom. One foot was still on the fifth. He was wearing the charcoal suit with the cranberry shirt that looked so good on him. The Glock was in his hand, its barrel pointed in her direction. He clutched his own phone in his other hand.
“Put the knife down.”
Becky’s shoulders slumped and she tossed the knife on the table. It slid to a stop right where his keys usually landed. “You scared the piss out of me, you jerk. I thought someone was in the house.”
He lowered himself to the next step. The pistol rose up. She could see enough of the muzzle to tell it was aimed at her.
“I’ve called the police,” he hissed. “They’re on the line right now.” She glanced past him up the staircase, then her eyes went back to the gun. Had they both been playing tag with an intruder? “Okay,” she said. “Calm down and point that somewhere else.”
Ben stared at her and came down two more steps. The pistol didn’t waver. His wide eyes flitted to the knife, then past her to the front door, and over into the living room. “Where is she?”
“Babe,” she said, her eyes on the pistol, “you’re freaking me out with the—”
“Where is she?” he shouted. His voice echoed in the hall. The glass in the door trembled behind her.
She shrieked and her mind stumbled for a moment. “She? She who?” Ben stepped off the staircase and glared at her. He raised the pistol. The barrel was just a black square with a hole in it. He was aiming it right between her eyes. “What have you done with her? What do you want with us?” He took a step toward her, and then another.
Becky couldn’t tell if he was angry or sad. The black hole kept pull- ing her eyes away from his face. It was just a few feet away. She could see the little trembles and shifts as he squeezed the grip. “Babe,” she pleaded, “what are you talking abou—”
“Who are you?” he yelled. “Where the hell is my wife?

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The Fold: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
BookGirlR More than 1 year ago
The Fold was great for approximately the first 70% of the novel.  The story zipped along and I was really into it.  I loved the main character, Mike, and understood his wish to be normal.  I was on the edge of my seat and excited to see how this was going to turn out.  Then, at 69% (I read on an e-reader so it shows me the percent read) something strange happened (not strange good; strange bad).  Up until this point the story, although written in third person, had been following Mike.  We had little glimpses inside his head and knew what he knew and what he thought.  All of a sudden we are following Sasha.  It was weird and it threw me out of the story.  “Wait… This is a story about a man named Mike, why are we suddenly reading about Sasha?”  And then it head hops several more times before the end of the novel.  If you are going to head hop, which I seriously dislike 98% of the time because it isn’t well done, you need to set that precedent early on.  To start jumping around in the last third of your novel, in my opinion, is unprofessional and shows that you rushed through it, or did not plan properly.  The last third of the novel could have used better editing overall.  The characters repeat themselves.  Other reviewers complained about the use of the ‘f’ word, which I do not have a problem with.  But there is a lot of redundancy in the dialog, and in the narration, as if Clines is beating us over the head to make sure we understand where he is going with the story.  Which is another example of the end of the novel being rushed.      I enjoyed The Fold, and I do recommend it for lovers of weird fiction.  However, be aware that the writing is not of a professional level before going in, and then you won’t be disappointed when you reach the final third of the novel. **I received a free copy of this novel, in exchange for my honest review, via NetGalley.**
Anonymous 5 days ago
Anonymous 3 months ago
Great story. Most of the science was acceotable and there was nothing illogical to stop the book from grabbing you and making you finish the adventure. The old pulp fiction enemies were fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So darn good and easy to follow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice change of pace. Needs a sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Clines is pretty skilled at character development. In fact, much! better than plotting. I really enjoyed the first 2/3 or so of both The Fold and 14. Then he dumps into action/horror/whatever with lots of changes to, well, to the point that I just didn't care. I had bought both on a whim. I dropped 14, couldn't finish it. Did get through the Fold, and decided to go back and finish 14, but that was an exercise in skimming. But I really do like his characters, so this gets 3 stars for really interesting people, though I just don't care what happened to them in the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent story, good, hard SF science.. Good character development.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked it, but it could have ended 100 pages earlier
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so good. Everything that I've read by Clines is just about perfect. Definitely check this book out and see for yourself. Read his book 14 first.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book Because I had read a few other stories he had ridden. Usually when you st art up a Peter Klein novel you you get basic character development and it's a kind of a fast ramp to the story and then plateau,then canstory over. Cheap, fast, and mildly enertaining. This one though was sllllooooowwww goin. Once the accelerator dropped, awesome. Pick it up, give it a read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was mesmerized by Mike's mind and how PC described how it worked. I anxiously await the sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun read. Love how this author imbudes real characters with real humor in all of his works¿.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had previously read "14" and loved it, so I thought I'd give this one a try. I could not put it down. The characters and the mystery surrounding the project were a joy to explore, even though I did figure out what was happening before they did. While this story is a stand-alone, it does take place in the same universe as, and after the events of "14," and if you enjoyed either one, you'll love the other.
StephanieTiner More than 1 year ago
Mike Erikson is not your average American high school teacher, but that is what he wants to be. He has made a life for himself in a small town in Maine, and as far as anyone can tell, he is your average man. But there are other people who know differently, especially his old friend Reggie who thinks Mike should do more with his life. When Reggie shows up in Maine, Mike immediately suspects he is there to recruit Mike to work for DARPA. And he is. Reggie wants Mike to use his unique abilities to help solve a mystery. A group of scientists have found a way to move from one location to another in the blink of an eye. But something isn't right. Mike has to find out what before it all is too late. I have never been a huge science fiction reader. I've read a few science fiction book here and there, but very few. Despite this fact, I enjoyed most of this book. The concept of folding space didn't seem like a kind of story that I would be less than happy to read. So I decided to read my first real science fiction book in years. As for the writing, it was well written. Even when discussing scientific calculations, theories, and scientists themselves I was able to follow the story line without a problem. This also allowed me to enjoy the story without having to research concepts and scientists every few pages. The author wrote about the machines, gadgets, and beings in a way that allowed me to easily construct an image in my mind. I was not expecting the story to take a turn that it did, close to mid way through the book. That said, this unexpected change was not in all a bad change. Also many readers of this genre would probably enjoy it greatly. If I had done some research into the other books Peter Clines has written, I probably would have had an inkling that the book may in fact go in the direction that it did. I do wonder if there will be a sequel. I think there should be because of the way the book ended. Though in the afterword there was reference to one of the author's other books.I may look into this other book sometime in the future. All in all, I found this to be a very interesting story. I would recommend this to fans of Star Trek, as that is the only thing I can compare it too personally. While this book will not make it into my favorites list there are many people who love this kind of book and I feel it will be a big hit. I plan to give this book four out of five stars. I received my copy of this novel from for the sole purpose of an honest review.
xokristim More than 1 year ago
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I'm not the biggest fan of Science Fiction, but I am trying to give it a chance. I feel like this book was an excellent place to start. I was hooked from the first chapter, it had me so confused. It started with intense mystery. I also loved the fact that their were two mentions of pop culture right at the beginning. I immediately liked the main character. He had a great sense of humor, was highly intelligent, and very down-to-earth. He has a photographic memory and refers a lot to "ants" which was very confusing at first. Once I deciphered that meaning it made perfect sense. I felt like the character descriptions were a bit lengthy. At least all the details about the side characters I mean. I didn't joy the descriptions of the facility though he gave me a great picture.. overall I really enjoyed the story I'm glad that I started out with this book as my first science-fiction read I would highly recommend it to other people who want to get into the science-fiction genre. *I'd like to think for the chance to read this book for free*
syphi More than 1 year ago
A compelling story to begin with, it devolved into profane tedium.
TRFeller More than 1 year ago
The most visibly successful accomplishment of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is the Internet, but in this novel, one of the projects appears to have achieved something that would be even more revolutionary: teleportation. However, the project managers keep stalling on turning over their teleportation device to the Defense Department and want to continue testing, although they have already established that it is safe for humans. Consequently, their supervisor at DARPA, Reggie Magnus, sends his oldest friend, Leland “Mike” Ericson, to investigate and make an evaluation. Mike has both an exceptionally high IQ and total recall, but he makes a living teaching high school English. (Reggie has been trying to hire him full-time for years.) What Mike discovers is even more profound than teleportation. This is a fascinating read in the tradition of Michael Crichton and H.P. Lovecraft, not only for the ideas and their development, but also for the characters. All six members of the teleportation team are well developed characters with backgrounds and quirks. (One is a Trekkie, for instance.) It appears to be the beginning of a series, as the ending is quite open-ended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Drewano More than 1 year ago
The fold a fun Sci-Fi book with great characters and a great mix of action, mystery and a bit of Sci-fi. If you’ve read Clines before and liked his stuff (especially 14) I think you’ll really enjoy this. The only downside is that from the title I was able to guess what the fold was and guess what was happening before it was revealed. That being said what came next wasn’t guessable and was a lot of fun. The book really moves and while it isn’t a nuanced character driven book, it’s made for someone who likes to laugh and imagine what could be. I feel like there could be some more fun in store with the way it ended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really great had me hooked the moment i started it.
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
I am a little torn about this book. I loved this book and found it to be an engrossing story for the first 250 pages or so. At that point the story took a left turn for me and I have to admit that I am still wondering why the author decided to go in that direction. The last section of the book wasn't bad in any way it just wasn't the direction that I thought the story would go. I do realize that many people will actually find the final parts of the book to be the highlight of the story. I almost immediately liked the main character, Mike. The way Mike's character was completely relate-able despite the fact that he has abilities that are beyond the average individual was amazing. Not only was Mike relate-able, I was able to completely envision how his mind worked and how he was able to process everything so quickly. It took me a lot longer to connect with any of the other characters in the story but that is largely because of how the story developed. I loved the idea behind the story. A device that can teleport individuals? Where do I sign up? Every time I have to drive a distance, I dream of the day that this device will become a reality. A story based on such a device was one that I couldn't wait to read. This straight forward idea was presented in a way that kept me turning the pages. I couldn't figure out what was really going on and I found myself having a hard time putting this book down. I really enjoyed the author's writing style. The pacing of the novel was well done and I loved the fact that the story made me think. There was more than enough action to keep me guessing and there were lots of twists that I could have never guessed. I was really wanting to see how Mike was going to figure everything out. I loved being in his head and seeing how his mind worked on these problems. This was a solid 4 star book for me until the last 100 pages or so of the book. As I mentioned, the story took a turn that just didn't seem to flow with the rest of the story for me. It was exciting and unexpected but it almost felt like a different story for me. It was really the last part of the book that caused me to lower my rating to 3 stars but I do think that many readers will enjoy the twist. I would recommend this book to science fiction fans. This is the first book by Peter Clines that I have read and I look forward to reading some of his other work in the near future. I received a copy of the book from Blogging for Books for the purpose of providing an honest review.
bookiewookie More than 1 year ago
Well, I didn't much like 14, I found that one dragging onward to a disappointing ending. So I started reading this one with a ho-hum feeling, a fear of being let down again. Imagine my surprise when I didn't want to put the book down, and when I was thinking geez, this is fast, very smooth. Whereas it seemed to take forever for anything significant to happen in 14, this one had action and calamities, suspense and dark secrets, from the very beginning. 14 helped to make me more willing to suspend my disbelief in this one. And while I suspected where Fold was heading, there were enough twists and turns, and surprises, to keep me from uttering, I knew it. This is a sf, mystery, horror, action read. My cons involve the characters themselves, I didn't like Sasha and Jaimie was just too flippant' and shallow. However, I just loved Bob, and Mike, and Reggie. I also thought the'Bogart' character was interesting, and the stern and distant seeming Arthur and Neil, also likable characters I cared about. The big dark secret of the door made for a fast and fun read. Sure, I could point to a lot of holes, but hey, this is an exciting sf/F read, nothing took away from the general feeling of page turning, fun excitement. Enter the Fold at your own risk. ..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not a big fan of sci-fi but I really enjoyed this one. Great characters that I liked. Well done!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good follow-up to go with "14!"