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The Night Stalker: A Novel of Suspense Mass Market Paperback – July 28, 2009

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The Night Stalker: A Novel of Suspense + The Night Monster: A Novel of Suspense + Midnight Rambler: A Novel of Suspense
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345475534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345475534
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #992,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What crime fiction fan can resist a guy who isn't afraid to knock a few slime-bag heads when no one is watching? In Swain's fine second suspense novel to feature South Florida PI Jack Carpenter (after Midnight Rambler), imprisoned serial killer Abb Grimes hires the tough, unrelenting ex-cop to find his kidnapped grandson, Sampson Grimes. The chief suspect is the child's father, Jed Grimes, but Jack thinks Jed is innocent, even though the evidence suggests otherwise. There's plenty of action and intelligent sleuthing, but it's Jack's uncompromising character and Swain's equally uncompromising writing that will keep readers turning pages and eager for the next installment: I'd visited many prisons, and the smell was always the same: a choking mixture of piss, shit, fear, and desperation, wiped down by harsh antiseptics. The winner of France's Prix Calibre 38, Swain is also the author of Deadman's Bluff and six other books in his Tony Valentine gambling series. (Oct.)
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.


“A nonstop nail-biter . . . Hero Jack Carpenter is one for the ages.”—Lee Child

“A superb thriller: Travis McGee meets Philip Marlowe.”—Randy Wayne White, author of Black Widow

“A compelling, complex hero. . . . Swain’s sturdy storytelling and his intelligent plotting excel in The Night Stalker.”—Orlando Sentinel

More About the Author

James Swain is the author of fifteen national bestselling novels. His novels have been translated into twelve foreign languages, and chosen as Mysteries of the Year by Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. Swain has received three Barry Award nominations, a Florida Book award for fiction,the prestigious Prix Calibre .38 for Best American Crime Writing, and was profiled on CBS Sunday Morning with Anthony Mason. Along with his writing, Swain is an avid magician, and has written and lectured extensively on the subject. Visit his web site at

Customer Reviews

I look forward to his next book!
Page Turner
If finding missing kids were this easy, wouldn't the people he trained not need help, when the solution is so obvious?
John Bowes
Good character development and a good story.
Real Name

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By TMStyles VINE VOICE on October 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"The Night Stalker" is James Swain's second Jack Carpenter novel following "Midnight Rambler". As usual Swain is efficiently concise in his prose and his plotlines. He writes of the sordid underbelly in South Florida and often his characters and his descriptions of the areas are sufficient to alter the travel plans of any curious tourist.

Jack Carpenter, former cop and current PI, is still a master at finding lost persons, especially missing children. Following the Swain formula used both in his Tony Valentine novels and now his Jack Carpenter novels, Jack quickly solves a missing child case to establish his "creds" in the first 30 pages and then proceeds to solve the big case that, of course, contains several twists, turns, unexpected developments, and maybe a crooked cop or two. Along the way, we learn a lot about child stealers and the techniques and strategies used to solve their crimes.

In "The Night Stalker", Jack is asked by Abb Grimes, a man he helped to convict as a serial killer and who is scheduled to die in four days, to find his abducted grandson, Sampson Grimes. Abb's son, Jed Grimes, is suspected of abducting Sampson as well as perhaps beginning another reign of murder and terror in South Broward County.

Jack becomes convinced that Jed is innocent but is unable to persuade the local police nor the FBI who seem intent on apprehending or perhaps killing Jed on sight. With the reluctant help of his former colleague, Candice Burrell, and his trusty dog and partner, Buster, a cranky Australian Shepherd, Jack begins the arduous task of proving Jed's innocence, finding the real killer, and alienating the FBI and local police in the process. Toss in missing evidence, a rogue cop, and several hair raising escapes from trouble and you arrive at an unexpected (to some readers) ending. A good, relaxed read that you will forget about a day or two later.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on September 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
James Swain's latest book is fast paced and riveting, with more twists than a roller coaster-just what you'd expect from him.

Abb Grimes spent twelve years on death row for murdering eighteen women that had gone missing. Jack Carpenter helped put him there. And now Abb Grimes needs help. His grandson has been abducted and he wants Carpenter to find him. And Carpenter is good at finding missing people, especially children. He should be. He was head of the Broward County missing persons unit until he lost it with a suspect. Then he resigned in disgrace before he was fired.

He now makes his living consulting with various law enforcement groups on their missing persons cases. So Carpenter takes this case on, with only four days to solve it. Except that the guy who took his job at Broward doesn't want him on the case. The FBI has already decided who the perpetrator is and is looking at him-to the exclusion of all else. And Carpenter is convinced they are both wrong.

But for Carpenter it's not about the law or procedure-it's about the missing child, and he won't stop until the child's back in his mother's arms. Through the worst neighborhoods of Broward and with the help of people who believe in Carpenter and his methods, Jack battles bullies, drug dealers, and bad cops to get to the truth-and find the boy before it is too late.

Armchair Interviews says: A must read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Quentin on March 7, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Loved the TV movie so thought it would be fun to read the novel it's based on. Wow, what an ingenious and believable story! Couldn't put it down so stayed up all night to finish it. Now I'll have to get a copy of Rice's The Night Strangler for more fun.

Jeff Rice has written by far the best vampire story of the 20th century. The Night Stalker (original title, The Kolchak Tapes) wipes the floor with Anne Rice's murky stuff. If you don't believe me ask Richard Matheson!

Of course seeing the movie first I had my own image of Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) and Tony Vincenzo (Simon Oakland) but that only enhanced my enjoyment of this book. I like the way the author weaves his own life into the story. Sometimes I get a strong feeling he is Kolchak and that pursuing this story has damaged his career and life!

Superb writing, I wish Rice had more novels available.

And sad to hear Darren McGavin died last week...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Claude L. Parish on October 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is NOT the novel of the TV movie. This is a fifteen page....FIFTEEN.....pamphlet!!!
Who the hell gets away with this kind of SHAM?!?!
At first, I thought they had forgotten to insert my book into the package. When I opened it, it was so flimsy it almost floated away.
IF Jeff Rice really DID have anything to do with this, he should be ashamed of himself for ripping off fans who REALLY wanted to read his work.
This is the kind of thing that may keep me from ordering ANYTHING from Amazon ever again!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JoeV VINE VOICE on October 8, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second Jack Carpenter mystery. Jack is an ex-Broward County (Florida) cop - he retired under somewhat of a cloud - now turned Private Eye. He specializes - and has an uncanny ability - in finding missing children. In fact he's so good at this, police departments and hospitals throughout the state of Florida - and even the folks at Disneyworld - call him when a child goes missing. And in the two books of the series I believe he's found every youngster, infant and baby he's been tasked to find. In The Night Stalker Jack is hired by a soon-to-be executed serial killer to find his kidnapped grandson. "It's all about the kids" for Jack so he has no qualms about taking on the job.

You may sense a touch of sarcasm here as I review this book. Here's the good news, both this book and its predecessor are exciting and engaging reads. There are enough twists and turns, enough hooks in the stories, and enough action - saving kids and catching bad guys - that you'll keep turning the pages as the author pulls one rabbit after another out of his literary hat.

The bad news is that after two books the series has all ready pushed the bounds of credibility and believability - Hence my slight sarcasm. Besides Jack's 100% success record at finding missing children, he plows into police and FBI cases, offices and crime scenes without a care or concern and against all odds is always right. And as a character Jack is none too deep, so it's the proverbial rabbits that have kept things going up to this point. We'll see how long that will continue. That being said, if you're fan of authors like Harlan Coben, James Grippando or even John Sandford I think you'll like this series. They're fun reads.
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