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Panic Attack Hardcover – August 4, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (August 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312387067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312387068
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A bungled burglary sparks Starr's darkly humorous crime thriller. Carlos Sanchez wasn't expecting anyone to be home, much less have an entire clip emptied into him as he reached the top of the stairs of the brownstone he breaks into in Forest Hills Gardens, Queens. The gun-wielding psychologist, Adam Bloom, is almost equally surprised—instead of being hailed as a hero for defending his wife and daughter in his own home, the media vilify him as a crazed vigilante for using all 10 bullets. Even worse, the sociopathic Johnny Long, going along with his pal Carlos for an easy score, decides to make the Blooms pay in more blood for the incident after he escapes into the night. Targeting the wife and daughter, the vainly handsome Long may be a delicious bit of self-parody by the photogenic author, who remains unexcelled in portraying self-involved New Yorkers. Funny and suspenseful, this novel is Starr delightfully at the top of his game. Author tour.(Aug.)
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From Booklist

Psychotherapist Adam Bloom, wife Dana, and daughter Marissa seem to have it all: financial security, a lovely home in a leafy enclave in New York City, a loyal housekeeper, and each other. But Marissa has returned to the nest after graduation from Vassar full of angst about her future, and Adam and Dana do little but lacerate each other. Their privileged, neurotic lives are completely upended when Adam shoots a burglar who has entered their home. Cops, ravening media, Dana’s loathing of Adam’s gun, and the possibility that a second burglar may seek revenge turn Bloom family dynamics toxic—and deadly. Starr’s plotting is elaborate, and his development of principal characters is deft and detailed. The marital antagonisms will likely strike a chord with almost anyone who has been married for two decades. The problem is that the Blooms and the other characters are totally self-absorbed and not terribly interesting; Panic Attack is well put together, but crime fans usually want someone to root for. --Thomas Gaughan

Customer Reviews

I just can't seem to answer that.
Novel Bookworm
Good story idea spoiled by mediocre writing and unsympathic characters.
Starr has done that very well, from a suspense/thriller angle.
Claire McManus

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steven James on July 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those books that once you start reading you can't put down. Although it may not be the world's greatest work of literature it is completely engaging and will have you on the edge of your seat. It is interesting to see how one random act can snowball and affect the lives of many. I agree with other reviewers who say that the characters aren't likeable...and that is this book's one downfall. It was hard to care whether the characters were killed or spared. The only one who had any sense at all is the Grandmother, but unfortunately she appears too late, near the end of the book. But even with those flaws I found PANIC ATTACK to be a fast-paced thrill ride that kept me reading until the wee hours of the morning.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Jason Starr's "Panic Attack" opens with psychologist Adam Bloom awakening from a recurring nightmare in which he is being chased by a large black rat. He gets up with a start in the middle of the night when his twenty-two year old daughter, Marissa, yanks his arm in fear. She whispers to her father and mother that an intruder has entered their home. While Adam's wife, Dana, calls 911, Adams impulsively decides to take out his gun and confront the criminal. This unwise decision is the first in a long line of mistakes made by Adam and his family.

The Blooms have more than their share of troubles: After twenty-three years of marriage, Adam and Dana are no longer emotionally or physically close. Dana, who is a bored housewife, believes that her husband is too self-absorbed to care about her feelings and that that he is more interested in his practice than he is in her. She also detests Adam's condescension and frequent use of psychobabble to put her in her place. Although Adam loves Marissa, he is fed up with her. After completing her studies at Vassar in art history, she returns to her parents' home, acquires tattoos, puts pink streaks in her hair, and spends most of her time hanging out with friends. She has made no realistic plans to find a job that would enable her to live independently. Her father constantly squabbles with Marissa, ordering her to get her act together.

Starr has written an electrifying and well-constructed novel with a sociopathic villain who is all the more sinister because he is so handsome and charming. He finds a way to insinuate himself into the lives of this troubled family with disastrous consequences. However, "Panic Attack" is more than an excruciatingly suspenseful and fast-paced thriller.
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Format: Hardcover
Starr writes in a kind of urban noir, his novel seemingly predictable; meanwhile, he slyly twists and turns both characters and plot to deliver a tale of human nature run awry in the modern world. When psychologist Adam Bloom's daughter wakes him one night, whispering that there is someone downstairs, Adam grabs his gun against his wife's advice, shooting and killing a burglar. In full panic mode, Adam unloads his weapon on the intruder while the man's accomplice escapes. When the family housekeeper is murdered the next morning, the repercussions endure long after that violent night.

The Bloom's are a contemporary family caught up in the usual distractions, self-absorption and too little time to pay attention to one another. Adam's wife, Dana, is chronically unhappy, now furious with her husband for not listening to her warnings and resorting to his gun, the marriage showing visible cracks. And twenty-two year old Marissa, a recent college graduate, has yet to find a path in life, resenting her father's suggestions that she get a life, hiding from responsibility by spending her nights drinking and partying with friends. Marissa reflects her parents' disharmony, in full rebellion as she pours her feelings into a blog, acting out as only the young and disenchanted can do. The shooting incident shakes this family from their already weak foundations, their lack of communication exacerbated by isolation.

Starr writes of a family floundering in the wake of notoriety, the news media hounding Adam with endless questions. Nearing fifty, Adam has created no niche for himself professionally, his fifteen minutes of fame turning from opportunity to nightmare as he is labeled the next Bernie Goetz.
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By Newtz on November 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Yeah, Jason Starr is now officially one of my favorite authors.

I already thought he was pretty cool after I read The Chill, a graphic novel he wrote for Vertigo, but I was slightly biased because I pretty much love everything Vertigo gets on ink. While I liked the story, The Chill wasn't horribly memorable to me...but it did have boobies. Lots and lots of boobies.

This book reads extremely fast! I kept telling myself "only one more paragraph" up until the point where I'm like "ok I can finish the chapter, no problem" and then I'd have to look away from the book before I started reading again.

The dynamics between the Blooms was pleasant to read. It was nice to read a family that actually sounds like a family! (The fact that Marissa has no job after college graduation was quite realistic, especially these days.) They aren't the Sopranos but they aren't the ****ing Cleavers either: The Blooms have problems. Like you, like me.

On top of of that, they seem miserable and full of contempt in almost every page. One feeling that I really touched with was that idea where just when things are starting to get better, BAM! the floor drops and the downfall begins. You never get the feeling that they were never happy; just that it is difficult in this current year of their lives to seek an equilibrium. Though they try so hard after someone attempts to rob their house, and Adam blows him away.

The villain of this story also was quite believable and his pages seemed to be the ones I read the fastest. You start to sympathize with what he is doing to the point where it is like "Whoa, why was I rooting for this man?!" I had no problems understanding all the actions he took, because Starr did such a fine job giving us the minute details of the dude.
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More About the Author

JASON STARR is the international bestselling author of many novels, including THE PACK and THE CRAVING now available from Penguin. Starr's other novels are COLD CALLER, NOTHING PERSONAL, FAKE I.D., HARD FEELINGS, TOUGH LUCK, TWISTED CITY, LIGHTS OUT, THE FOLLOWER and PANIC ATTACK. He has won the Anthony Award twice, as well as the Barry Award, and his books are published in more than a dozen languages. He has also co-written three novels with Ken Bruen--BUST, SLIDE, and THE MAX--and edited BLOODLINES, an anthology of horse racing stories for Vintage Books. He has written comics and graphic novels for Vertigo (THEe CHILL), DC (Batman, Doc Savage, Sand, The Avenger, and Marvel (The Punisher, Wolverine). He is currenrly the writer of the ongoing comics series Wolverine Max. He lives in Manhattan.

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