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Anatomy of Fear (Harper Fiction) Mass Market Paperback – January 29, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A clever graphic element enlivens this solid serial-killer novel from Santolofer, a visual artist and author of three previous art-themed thrillers (The Killing Art, etc.). Nate Rodriguez, a talented NYPD police sketch artist, appears to have psychic abilities when it comes to visualizing perpetrators. When Nate sketches portraits, the drawings are reproduced in the text. Nate joins detective Terri Russo on a case in which the killer, a white supremacist who takes his deadly orders directly from God, leaves his own drawings at the crime scenes (also reproduced). Nate turns to his Puerto Rican grandmother, a santera ("a sort of neighborhood priestess"), for help. Together, they come up with drawings that point to a suspect closer to home than any of them have imagined. Plot devices include a trail of red herring clues that threaten to implicate Nate, overbearing FBI agents and a female-in-peril chase scene at the end, while the romantic relationship that develops between Nate and Terri leaves room for more to come. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jonathan Santlofer is the author of five novels and a highly respected artist whose work has been written about and reviewed in the New York Times, Art in America, Artforum, and Arts, and which appears in many public, private, and corporate collections. He lives and works in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Series: Harper Fiction
  • Mass Market Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (January 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060882026
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060882020
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,407,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on May 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Jonathan Santlofer has hit upon an interesting concept, combining visuals and narrative to create novels that are not quite graphic works yet are more than text supplemented with illustrations. He actually incorporates his artwork into the storyline, which works very well in ANATOMY OF FEAR.

Santlofer's fourth novel introduces Nate Rodriguez --- former New York City street cop, current police sketch artist, and son of a deceased NYPD narcotics officer killed in the line of duty. Rodriguez has an uncanny ability to produce amazingly lifelike drawings of unknown subjects, combining his innate talent with a gentle but firm witness-questioning technique. Terri Russo, an NYPD homicide detective, brings Rodriguez into an investigation involving a series of brutal homicides in which the killer leaves a drawing of the murder at the scene of the crime. Rodriguez is a natural for the case, as he is able to intuit elements from the drawings that a non-artist might miss. He must slowly come to grips with the fact that he possesses a sixth sense enabling him to see beyond that which is on the printed page.

Santlofer avoids the easy temptation of turning Rodriguez into Houdini; his visions, if you will, are imperfect, imprecise and only lead him in a certain direction rather than provide him with complete answers. Rodriguez is also assisted by his grandmother, a Santerian practitioner who almost functions as a deus ex machina as Rodriguez closes in on the killer.

Santlofer brings a number of interesting elements to the table here, including Rodriguez's mixed-race heritage (Jewish and Puerto Rican), the simmering attraction between Rodriguez and Russo, and the description of Santerian rituals, including one in which Rodriguez is a reluctant participant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeff VINE VOICE on July 3, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Anatomy of Fear is the first book in a series starring Nathan Rodriguez, a police sketch artist with the NYPD. It's a very different book because it not only details the life and work of a sketch artist, but also has scores and score of drawings by 'Nate' which form an essential part of the plot.

Although the author still has some work to do in character development (he is way ahead of his earlier The Death Artist with this series), the combination of the drawings, the compelling story line, and the numerous side topics covered make this a really distinctive work which I am recommending to all of my crime fiction fan friends.

I want to call out three things that I really like about this book. First of all, the work of a psychologist named Paul Ekman plays heavily throughout. Ekman developed the practice of studying facial musculature movement to ascertain what is really going on in people's minds. It's fascinating work. The author is a big fan of it and understands it well. He gives us enough detail for it to be important without bowling us over.

Secondly, the character of Nate's grandmother is very well developed and she is very interesting. She has the roll that a strong bass player has in a small jazz group; set the pace and keep things moving!

Finally, I love the feel for Puerto Rican culture in NYC portrayed here, especially the detail on Santeria, a religion from the Caribbean. Not since Ernesto Quinonez's wonderful debut novel, Bodega Dreams, has the Puerto Rican culture of New York been so well detailed.

If you're new to Santlofer, the author, start with this series. I'm pushing myself through The Death Artist right now, and it is nowhere near as good as the first two books of the Rodriguez series. I'm looking forward to number three!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Bretscher on July 23, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
When I become aware of an author of a mystery series that I have not read, I like to begin at the beginning (if I can) and read the first book in the series. Now I plan to read every book this author publishes!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Professor H TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 3, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the next book in the series of the Authors art related crime thrillers. Really enjoyed getting to know the main character, Nate, who does drawings for the police. The drawings really enhanced the story and add to the mystery as the drawings become more detailed as the story progresses. Lots of twists and turns.
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By L. .G. avid reader on October 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book by Jonathan Santlofer.
Nate Rodriguez is a Jewish - Puerto Rican criminal sketch artist for the NYPD.
He includes illustrations of the sketches that he makes in the book - I love it.
I love the feel for Puerto Rican and Jewish cultures in NYC portrayed here, especially the detail on Santeria, a religion from the Caribbean. Nate's grandmother - who practices Santeria - is very well developed and she is very interesting - I'd really like to know her :)
Plus since I teach Psychology and Interpersonal Communication, I was very interested in the references to the work of a psychologist named Paul Ekman. Ekman developed the practice of studying facial musculature movement to ascertain what is really going on in people's minds. It's fascinating work and his work played a big role in the TV show Lie To Me.
With the Puerto Rican and Jewish Cultures, Santeria, Nates Grandmother and Paul Ekman all included in one novel - I was sold! And the illustrations just unerlined the whole thing
Nate's character is also well developed - you feel like you know him - or that you want to meet him and have a deep conversation with him.
Can't wait for the next one!
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