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Liquid Fear (A Mystery Thriller) [Kindle Edition]

Scott Nicholson
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (270 customer reviews)

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Book Description

For fans of Dean Koontz, Stieg Larsson, and Harlan Coben. Ten years after a tragic clinical trial testing a secret fear-response drug, the research volunteers realize the experiment is still underway.

LIQUID FEAR: A Mystery Thriller
When Roland Doyle wakes up with a dead woman in his motel room, the only clue is a mysterious vial of pills bearing the label “Take one every 4 hrs or else.”

Ten years before, six people were involved in a secret pharmaceutical trial that left one of them dead and five unable to remember what happened. Now the experiment is continuing, as Dr. Sebastian Briggs concludes his research into fear response and post-traumatic stress disorder. He’s backed by a major drug company and an ambitious U.S. Senator, but he also has a personal stake in the outcome.

Only by taking the mysterious pills can the survivors stave off the creeping phobias, sexual impulses, and inflicted madness that threaten to consume them. But the pills have an unexpected side effect—the survivors start remembering the terrible acts they perpetrated a decade ago. They are lured back to the Monkey House, the remote facility where the original trials took place, and Briggs has prepared it for their return.

Now they are trapped, they each have only one pill left, and cracks are forming in their civilized veneer.

After the pills are gone, there’s only one option. “Or else.”

Scott Nicholson is author of the bestselling suspense, mystery, and supernatural novels The Red Church, Disintegration, Speed Dating with the Dead, and 17 other books. With J.R. Rain, he writes the Cursed! and Supernatural Selection series. He's also author of the children's books If I Were Your Monster, Duncan the Punkin, and Too Many Witches. Visit him at Author Central or

"Always surprises and always entertains."--Jonathan Maberry, King of Plagues

"Keep both hands on your pants, because Nicholson is about to scare them off."--J.A. Konrath

"Scott Nicholson is on his way to the front rank of genre writers, but don't be surprised if he--like Koontz and King before him--becomes a genre unto himself."--Page Horrific

Editorial Reviews


"Nobody thrills like Nicholson does. Nobody." - J.A. Konrath, Stirred

"Scott Nicholson knows the territory. Follow him at your own risk." - Stewart O'Nan, A Prayer for the Dying

"This is one author who aims for the kill and never misses." - Jeremy Robinson, Torment

"Like Stephen King, he has an eye and ear for the rhythms of rural America, and like King he knows how to summon serious scares." - Bentley Little, The Disappearance

About the Author

Scott Nicholson is author of more than a dozen novels and seventy short stories, as well as six screenplays, four children’s books, and three comic book series. His novel The Red Church was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award and an alternate selection of the Mystery Guild. He also has collaborated with bestselling author J.R. Rain on several paranormal novels. He has served with the Mystery Writers of America, the Horror Writers Association, and International Thriller Writers. A former journalist, radio broadcaster, and musician, Nicholson won three North Carolina Press Association awards. To learn more about him, check out his website at

Product Details

  • File Size: 745 KB
  • Print Length: 280 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Haunted Computer Books (March 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004U2AW8O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,251 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
91 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicholson Strikes Again March 28, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In his latest offering, author Scott Nicholson yet again moves into new territory by creating a story full of action, mystery, thrills, and paranoia. Focused on a group of people who volunteered for an experimental-drug trial ten years ago, this story will have you flipping the pages to keep up with the fast-paced action all the way until the end. As the memories of the past come back with ever-increasing intensity, the survivors try harder to forget. This story had me looking over my shoulder at times. Don't miss out on this treat from Nicholson.
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50 of 60 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Comic Book That's Missing the Artwork March 12, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Start with a group of the usual conservative suspects - the politician, the fundamentalist, the drug rep - and have them trying to market a dangerous drug without a lot of messy FDA oversight. Of course, they have no morals, so their mad scientist and his trusty psychopathic hired gun are free to use and abuse a group of test subjects.

The characters were all rolled out of central casting, then pumped up into obscene caricatures that are so over-the-top as to be laughable. On a believability scale, they're right up there with the Penguin and Joker from the old DC comics. You also have silly things popping up, like a Secret Service agent acting as limo driver for a Senator.

To make things worse, we spend most of the book stuck firmly in the minds of the subjects while they're dosed up on drugs, wading with them through a sewer of strange and abusive behaviour. It gets repetitive, and goes past annoying well into obnoxious.

Had this been done tongue-in-cheek, it could have been a wickedly hilarious send-up. Sort of a "Dr. Strangelove Does Big Pharma". But there's not a speck of wit or humour; it's all deadly serious, a dire warning written as a shocking exposé. If you are addicted to conspiracy theory books, and don't mind the amateur writing, you can give this a try. Otherwise, avoid at all costs.
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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
By Sunluvr
Format:Kindle Edition
Scott Nicholson could never be accused of cookie cutter stories but he's really gone in a different direction with this thrilling story about scientific research going on at Research Triangle Park. The only similarity to his previous books is sticking to his familiar territory of the mountains of North Carolina. I was hooked on this book from page one and couldn't put it down until the end. After reading this I don't think I will ever be volunteering for a drug trial!
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I almost NEVER give a one-star review, but this book really deserves it. As a fan of medical thrillers, I was really looking forward to a good read. Or maybe even just an average mediocre read... What I got was a boring, confused jumble of stereotyped characters who are never developed beyond empty cliches.

Not to mention a smorgasbord of badly mixed metaphors: "fingers pale and slick as maggots," "his arm was like a roll of sodden newspapers," "the slogans swam together like the eels in his gut," "a steroid-bloated neck that made his head look like a ferret-covered bucket of rocks." (What does that even mean? Have you ever seen a bucket of rocks covered with ferrets? Not in this universe.) All the book lacked was "a dark and stormy night" -- which is almost there anyway on the first page, where "the rain fell like bullets" and "the air smelled of burnt motor oil" (how can that be if it is pouring rain? Any molecules of smoke in the air would be beaten into the gutters already...)

The idea for the book had some promise, and in the hands of another writer, might have been a good thriller. The premise: Five people who had volunteered for a questionable medical experiment years ago are now finding themselves remembering some really bad things that happened back then -- and will go insane if they don't continue taking the drug that suppresses those memories. The problem is, Nicholson never really developes these characters enough for me to get interested in them or their fates. We don't learn much about these five people besides being stock characters we've seen a hundred times before in grade B horror films. Plus, he uses EIGHT point-of-view characters, which is very confusing to follow.
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33 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Really Cool Story! April 11, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Scott Nicholson is a great writer. I've read several of his books and have never been disappointed so I was excited when I started to read this one. This book grabbed me from the first page and didn't let go. I was hooked. I took Psychology last semester and my favorite part had to do with experimental trials and the stanford prison experiment so I savored every moment of reading this and as usual I can't wait for what he writes next.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy and thought-provoking. August 12, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small...Scott Nicholson, the creative guy behind Haunted Computer Books and friend to book bloggers all over the place, brings something different to the table with Liquid Fear, the story of a decade-old pharmaceutical trial and the secret follow up that's been planned for the original participants.

The story begins by introducing members of the fated pharmaceutical trial and briefly describing where they are now. The one thing they all had in common was that they all thought that the trial was behind them and that they were free to live their lives uninterrupted. This would have been the best thing, as the trial in question was unethical to say the least, and while they may have all volunteered for the trial, they didn't volunteer for the extreme measures that Dr. Briggs, the mastermind behind it all, had in store for them in the name of his version of science.

The narration in this story isn't linear in the sense that one person does all the narrating and we find out what we find out as the narrator learns it. Nor is there an omnipotent narrator that knows everything and dispenses wisdom as it becomes important to the story. Instead, we see what's happening from a variety of perspectives, not only of the trial participants, but also from other outside players who are brought in to carry out Dr. Briggs's plan. As a result, we have to keep all the details straight, and piece together later which ones are important to the master plan. It makes for engaging reading.

The story spirals and spirals until all the characters are thrust together and have to claw their way back from a chemical induced wasteland of fear and debauchery, if they can.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars a different concept but definitely scary just the same makes ...
a different concept but definitely scary just the same makes you think of what 's to come
Published 9 days ago by maryann natale
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
It is a very messy story full of violent acts and not too much substance too much bloody situations for no too much suspense
Published 15 days ago by Gardenia
1.0 out of 5 stars Gah.
Awful. Hackneyed, cliche tripe with flaccid one-dimensional characters. Clearly a Brit writing as an american, with all the wrong slang for everyday things. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Katt Masterson
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read. Could not wait to get to the ...
A good read. Could not wait to get to the end and find out how it ended.
Published 23 days ago by Dan Weiss
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting & Entertaining Story
Really enjoyed the premise with this book. Very unique take on the group dynamic. I would recommend it as a quick beach or vacation read.
Published 1 month ago by RichKoNYC
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite
I love thrillers but this particular author uses too much foul language and explicit sex scenes for my taste. I will not be reading Chronic Fear.
Published 1 month ago by Gramsgarden
3.0 out of 5 stars Something different
A very different read for me and not sure I'll read more right away. However, it hardly seems fair to judge an author by just one novel.
Published 1 month ago by morninglorygal
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Exciting!
This was the first of Scott's books I have read. I fell in love with it. I literally couldn't put the book down. I am currently reading the sequel and am so far just as excited!
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointed
Very dull read. No point. Disappointed. Thought with it being a series it would be was not. Save ur money.
Published 2 months ago by in His grip
4.0 out of 5 stars Real fear
a very fast paced plot. kept you thinking the whole time, in the back of your head these experiments really took place in the fifties with acid and hallucinogens given to members... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Francis T. Villante
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More About the Author

Sign up for my Tao of Boo newsletter for giveaways, free books, and announcements of new releases:

I believe the writer only creates half the story, and that you complete it by bringing your imagination, experience, and heart to the tale. I am happy to share the journey with you.

I've written more than 20 novels, about 80 short stories, four children's books, some comic books, screenplays, and a couple of non-fiction books, as well as five collaborations with J.R. Rain. Many of my tales are based on supernatural legends from the Southern Appalachian Mountains, and I also write mystery and suspense thrillers that are most often compared to the work of Stephen King and Dean Koontz.

I've also published Liquid Fear and Chronic Fear with Amazon's Thomas & Mercer imprint and McFall with 47North, as well as a number of audiobooks and foreign translations. I love hearing from you, because you're the reason I do this, so let's connect! Learn more about my work at

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