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Afraid Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Known for cop thrillers, J.A. Konrath (Fuzzy Navel) debuts his Jack Kilborn pseudonym and reveals some serious horror chops in this carnival of carnage. Five government-sponsored Red-ops fighters, psychotic torturers with modified brains and extensive training in killing anyone in their way, have been accidentally assigned to a mission in small, sleepy Safe Haven, Wis. Gen. Alton Tope sends in a dozen Green Berets, two other Special Forces teams, navy SEALs and some marines, all of whom may be just about enough to stop the killers. The townies also band together to save their little rural paradise, though several get trampled into red goo along the way. Any attempt to make a point about U.S. support of international terrorism gets a bit lost in the gore fest, but fans of gross-out horror will love it. (Apr.)
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Review

"AFRAID is a masterpiece of unrelenting horror. And I'm not exaggerating. Masterpiece. It's the best piece of fiction I've read in several years. It simply NEVER lets up." (James Rollins, NYT bestselling author of Black Order)

"AFRAID is a bungee jump into pure terror, a story that plays brilliantly on all our primal fears, and stands shoulder to shoulder with the very best of Harris, Koontz, and King. A classic horror novel." (Blake Crouch, author of Locked Doors)

"Kilborn kicks down your psyche's front door and RAISES HOLY EVER-LIVING HELL. Never have I read a novel so gruesome and simultaneously relentless. AFRAID throbs with unmitigated, inexorable. sheer friggin' TERROR." (Edward Lee, author of CITY INFERNAL and BRIDES OF THE IMPALER)

"AFRAID is one of the most intense, relentless books I've ever read. This one takes no prisoners." (Marcus Sakey, author of The Blade Itself)

A bloody, terrifying, hurtling assault across a landscape of non-stop mayhem. A guilty, guilty pleasure. (F. Paul Wilson, creator of Repairman Jack)

"The moment I heard about this book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it." (David Morrell, NYT bestselling author of Scavenger)

Full of colorful characters and dynamic action, this hard-to-put-down page turner will keep readers riveted and squirming in their seats. Hands down, AFRAID by Jack Kilborn is perhaps the best psychological horror novel to come along since Silence of the Lambs. (Michael Laimo, author of DEAD SOULS and DEEP IN THE DARKNESS)

Jack Kilborn's "Afraid" is a true page turner, a novel that offers a million mile a minute action and suspense. Definitely, a must have with constant thrills and chills. (Heather Graham, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author)

Jack Kilborn's AFRAID is appropriately named. It will scare the hell out of anyone who reads it. Fast and ferocious, this is a dangerous thriller that will take a bite out of you. An absolute must read for anyone who loves the adrenaline rush of a shocking story told with style, speed and savage grace. (Jonathan Maberry, Bram Stoker Award winning author of PATIENT ZERO and THEY BITE)
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Printing edition (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446535931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446535939
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (790 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #775,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This book did keep my attention and it was very fast paced.
D. Rutledge
I couldn't put this book down once I started reading it....I even downloaded Kindle for my PC so I could finish it at work!
Erin Everett
There is always something happening that makes you want to keep on reading and not put this book down.
ELIZABETH BARON

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

158 of 161 people found the following review helpful By Susan Tunis TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 16, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It may be the worst-kept secret in publishing that Jack Kilborn is the pseudonym of novelist J.A. Konrath. Fans of Konrath's Jack Daniel's serial killer novels know that he's not afraid to depict graphic violence. That knowledge is not going to prepare you for what you'll face in Afraid.

The plot is high concept, and simple enough to summarize in just a few sentences. Every major government, including our own, is experimenting in "Red-ops." Why turn soldiers into killers, when it's so much easier to turn killers into soldiers? And if you can use cutting-edge technology to enhance them, so much the better. One such Red-ops team of psycho killers accidentally crash lands in bucolic Safe Haven, Wisconsin. It's a terrible, terrible mistake, as the team launches into what they've been trained to do--kill and maim in the most terrifying (and may I add disgusting) way imaginable. Only the elderly town sheriff has begun to suspect that it may not be a mistake after all...

And it was that last bit, in the book's description, that got me. Not a mistake? What do they want? I was hooked. I mean HOOKED. I had important work to do, but once I had started it, I could not stop reading this book until I finished it. I read it in less than a day. The pacing of the novel was relentless, as was the subject matter. I had been told that this was a gory novel. In no way does that prepare you for the level of sickness you will encounter in this novel. I can not emphasize enough that Afraid is not for the faint of heart. If it were a film, I wouldn't have made it through the first five minutes. (Let's all hope they never make a movie.) Kilborn's creative, I'll give him that. I don't even know how a healthy mind goes to the places his went.
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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Balester on April 3, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Too many of the novels I pick up get put back down with the feeling that I didn't get a good story.

This isn't one of them.

AFRAID, by Jack Kilborn, starts out with a quiet evening of fishing on a small town lake. It quickly turns deadly for the residents of Safe Haven. A helicopter carrying a secret army special ops force crashes at the edge of town, and soon people start getting sliced and diced faster than you can say shish-kabob.

As the body count climbs, Sheriff Streng must confront five of the deadliest killers he has ever encountered. And the more he learns, the more he suspects that the helicopter crash may not have been an accident. What's more, the men hunting him aren't just killing to get their kicks (much as they enjoy their work). They're after something...or someone.

Streng gets some valuable assistance from a young fireman (Josh) and a single mom (Fran), who help track down the killers. There's a surprising boost to the story from Duncan, Fran's 12 year old son, who responds to the horror around him with a courage that escapes most of the adults in the novel.

The villains are more than just stereotypes. Kilborn takes the trouble to get into their minds to show us why they do the things they do. We also get a wonderfully delicious ending that left me cheering for more.

AFRAID will keep you up tonight, so don't forget to lock your doors and bolt the windows. And don't be afraid...be very AFRAID.
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98 of 113 people found the following review helpful By GenerallyCurious on July 4, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love thrillers, but this book unsuccessfully attempts to use gore and violence as a means of shocking the reader in the way that a truly well-written thriller novel does through plot and character development and ever-escalating intrigue. I decided to buy this book because it got so many good reviews with comments such as "you won't be able to put it down." I thought I'd just skim through the gore and focus on the suspense. Well...when don't read the gore in detail, you are left with very little. I got through about 20% of the book and put it down. I found the attacks on the people to be totally predictable; the only difference among the attacks was the gore that was described at their commission. Despite my interest in skimming through the gore, there was so much of it that I couldn't help from having really disturbing images floating around in my head. And conjuring disturbing gory images is not the same as eliciting fear, or keeping you at the edge of your seat with suspense. Does the idea of a villain "dancing with the naked mutilated corpse" of a woman keep you turning pages, or make you roll your eyes? And when these concepts are repeated again and again, it is tiresome. I am confused as to how this book has been given so many 5 stars. There are a lot of great thrillers out there. This is not one of them.
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60 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Dawnofday on August 10, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I must admit I read some of the other reviews and kept wondering what people saw in this that was even a little bit scary. It was bloody and gory, yes. Unremittingly. But not even a little bit scary--I mean not at all.

Part of the problem with this is it's rather poor pacing--in fact, it has none or what little it has is crudely and poorly done. A woman has her toes bitten off and then they chat about why the guy didn't ask her out on a date. I assume it was intended as a relief (rather badly needed) from the unremitting gore, but instead it came across as frankly stupid. NO ONE would have had that conversation. For the most part though, the novel went from one gore scene to another with pretty much no changes in pace. Well, even gore can get boring--and it did.

The other problem is that when you start with flaying a woman alive in the first chapter, it pretty much leaves you no where to go to up the stakes. Again, a basic problem in pacing.

And then there is the elderly sheriff, Streng. Did anyone actually believe that he could take the punishment that this novel put him through. I found it totally unconvincing. I didn't believe it even for a second.

Duncan, the kid, you knew was totally safe from the first which means that every threat to him was dismissible. And a 12 year old kid as the most heroic (but totally safe) character in the novel pretty much ruined the whole thing for me.

And the animals--OH, please. The dog was bad enough. But the monkey? It was simply eye-rolling.

That leaves the bad guys, which I thought were the lamest and least developed I've seen in a thriller in a long time. They were barely two dimensional and each conveniently had a different fixation to add "spice" to the mix. I felt like the whole thing had been put together from a rather poorly divised "horror cake mix" listing add 1 tbsp of flaying, 2 tbsp of fire, etc.

What he left out was both good pacing and originality.
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