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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Raymond Chandler once proclaimed that the first-person narrator should never turn out to be the villain in a good mystery or thriller. Luckily, the excellent writer Greg Iles has seemingly ignored Chandler's advice. Iles has created a character--Harper Cole, a futures trader and online pornographer--who could very well be the person killing off subscribers to his Internet sex service. Or is it Miles Turner, Cole's very odd colleague? If you thought that stalking a killer on the Internet had been done to death in books and bad movies, this one will have you pushing the reload button on your browser. Other Iles books in paperback include Black Cross and Spandau Phoenix. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Yet another serial killer stalks the Internet, this one courtesy of the talented Iles (Black Cross; Spandau Phoenix). When futures trader Harper Cole, who moonlights as the systems operator of an erotic online services called EROS, contacts the New Orleans police with information about the murder of celebrated author-and EROS subscriber-Karin Wheat, he immediately becomes the prime suspect in six other murders of EROS subscribers across the country. Also on the FBI's short list is Cole's eccentric friend and EROS colleague Miles Turner, who has dubbed the killer "Brahma." When Cole learns that the man he thought was Brahma was killed a year ago and that his online identity was stolen, a tense cat-and-mouse game commences. Professional hunters, like FBI psychiatric profiler Arthur Lenz, have the online tables turned on them time and again by an insanely brilliant murderer, and it's up to Cole to render justice. His digging leads to an exciting payoff when he goes online and poses as a potential victim, using as bait a secret that endangers the mother of his child, as well as his wife. While Cole's obsession over this guilty secret makes him less than likable at times, a nailbiting climax erases any doubts about his character-and any lingering questioning about the storytelling abilities of Iles, who here uses rich first-person narration and clever plotting to tell a sizzler of a thriller. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection; simultaneous Penguin Audio Book.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Nova Audio Books
  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Abridged edition (November 10, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590861299
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590861295
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 4.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (372 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,317,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Virginia Lore on November 24, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although this book contains more prurient sex and more gory violence than I prefer in a novel, instead of putting it down in disgust, I couldn't stop reading. This is testament to Greg Iles very strong plotting skills, as the tension in Mortal Fear never abated. It is also testament to his even stronger characterizations.
The characters in this book are real and smart and likeable, even if any one of them could be the one who is killing off women from EROS, an online erotic discussion service and taking a surgical momento from each victim. Harper Cole, the Systems Operator who connects the killings and comes forward, is ensconced in the turmoil surrounding his very Southern family. They include his physician wife Drewe, who has a great deal of hostility towards EROS; his ex-cover model sister in law Erin and her surgeon husband Patrick, whose marriage difficulties are spinning out of control; and a father-in-law with friends in high places who makes Jesse Helms look like a liberal crusader for civil rights and racial relations. With his friend and fellow SysOp Myles, whose brilliance is unparrelleled in Harper's experience, there are plenty of suspects for the serial killings. Iles's writing is very intelligent and always at least three steps ahead of the reader.
This book sucked away three days of my life, which is my way of saying: read it! Although there is little socially redeeming value in this novel, it's a very smart thriller and intensely escapist.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is my first Greg Isles book but I will be looking for more. I found the caracters and the plot mesmerizing. It caught and kept my attention from the very start. I almost felt like I was right there watching the tale unfold between Harper and the other caracters. It also made me think of the very real dangers that the internet could hold, if the information one doles out so readily on here is'nt watched over very carefully.From a little country farmhouse in Mississippi to a large internet company in New York there's romance, murders, and plenty of action to keep your attention. Just my kind of reading!
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Flackus on October 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
The tension was so great while I read this novel, there were times when I didn't think I wanted to finish the book. Greg Iles' serial killer is one of the most frightening characters in modern suspense writing. The killer, who goes by a number of aliases on the internet, is evil incarnate. His chilling biography alone is enough to write a novel about. It is, among many other parts of this book, a stroke of genius.
Mr. Iles has done a highly magnificent and intelligent job of creating a plot that holds you and won't let you go. As I said, there were times I didn't think I could read to the end of MORTAL FEAR--not because I didn't like the writing, but because I didn't think my heart could stand the constant tension that just kept mounting through every chapter to the very end. Reading "The Silence of the Lambs" was the last time a book had that much impact. I do a LOT of reading, so my hat is off to Greg Iles for his great writing.
Halfway through finishing MORTAL FEAR, I immediately hunted down the rest of Iles' novels which, alas, are too few. I have added him to my very short list of favorite writers, the other two being Nelson DeMille and Elizabeth George. All three writers use character development, detail and excellent plotting to create novels that are intelligent, riveting, and just plain old fashioned good reading.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Bill MacDonald on November 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is the best suspense novel I have read in ages. If you like psychological suspense and you're familiar with the Internet (of course you are; you're here, aren't you? ) you will eat this novel! Harper Cole runs EROS, an online sex chatroom service, and begins to suspect foul play when women customers begin to disappear from the service but haven't cancelled their expensive subscriptions. He discovers one of the women has been brutally murdered and suspects the killer is also an EROS client. The dialogue is excellent, the storyline makes it almost impossible to put down, and the characters are well defined. And some of his descriptions of emotions and human nature were enough to make me stop and marvel at how good this guy is. And this happened about every 10 pages. Greg Iles has two previous novels, Spandau Phoenix and Black Cross, both with Nazi Germany themes. They are definitely on my list now!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Debra Hamel VINE VOICE on July 19, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thirty-something Harper Cole makes a comfortable living trading commodities from his isolated Mississippi home, but it is his second, less lucrative job that offers the more interesting perquisites: Harper is a systems operator of an exclusive online sex forum, EROS (Erotic Realtime On-line Stimulation), whose members pay hundreds of dollars a month to engage in anonymous sex chat in a hyper-private environment. As a sysop Harper can cruise the hundreds of discussions within EROS, his presence in allegedly private chat rooms undetected by the participants, and he can take part in discussions himself under assumed identities. It is an avocation his wife Drewe--a beautiful and highly intelligent obstetrician--has become uncomfortable with in recent months.

As it happens, there is much to be uncomfortable about. When author Karen Wheat, an EROS client with whom Harper is more than passably familiar, is found beheaded, Harper contacts the authorities: a number of EROS clients have gone missing, and he thinks he knows who's behind their disappearances. But Harper's noble attempt to stop a serial killer's grotesque butcheries lands him and his family in peril.

Greg Iles's Mortal Fear is not a perfect book. There are some loose threads left dangling in the narrative (particularly the "Eleanor Rigby" side story), and Harper is made on p. 439 to consider briefly an action entirely unworthy of his character. Some of the middle chapters, too, are rather slow going. But the book builds to a breakneck pace, so that in its final 200 pages you will forgive the story its flaws, cursing the interruptions of impertinent employers and offspring while you neglect your responsibilities and read Iles's exciting conclusion.

Reviewed by Debra Hamel, author of Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece
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