MORTAL FEAR by Greg Iles

MORTAL FEAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 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 Åbermensch 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. (Literary Guild selection)

Pub Date: Feb. 3rd, 1997
ISBN: 0-525-93792-7
Page count: 576pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1996




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