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Fiction Reviews
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Publishers Weekly

Known for cop thrillers, J.A. Konrath (Fuzzy Navel) debuts his Jack Kilborn pseudonym and reveals some serious horror chops in this carnival of carnage. Five government-sponsored “Red-ops” fighters, psychotic torturers with modified brains and extensive training in killing anyone in their way, have been “accidentally” assigned to a mission in small, sleepy Safe Haven, Wis. Gen. Alton Tope sends in a dozen Green Berets, two other Special Forces teams, navy SEALs and some marines, all of whom may be just about enough to stop the killers. The townies also band together to save their little rural paradise, though several get trampled into red goo along the way. Any attempt to make a point about U.S. support of international terrorism gets a bit lost in the gore fest, but fans of gross-out horror will love it.

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Afraid: a horrifying book with a particularly satisfying ending

Afraid by Jack Kilborn is a horrifying book with a particularly satisfying ending.

I like cozies. I might as well be honest about that. Also happy ever afters. Further, in the interests of full disclosure, you should know that I read AFRAID by Jack Kilborn (with a view to a review) because Joe Konrath dared me to do so. He has a thick skin, and a strong stomach... and anyone who reads AFRAID needs both.

This is not a book to take on a fishing trip, especially if you've left your loved ones at home, alone. In fact, this book ought to come with a free membership of the NRA. You'll want your Brinks alarm turned on, and a loaded shotgun under your mattress if you read AFRAID in bed at night. You might want one of those panic button pendants, too.

Be warned. It is gruesome. The villains are seriously, SERIOUSLY, nasty. My own most horrible villain (Insufficient Mating Material) rendered his victims insensible, had his wicked way, then took a small plug of pubic hair for a souvenir. Jack Kilborn's baddies do a great deal more than that. You get a sense of the horrors to come when a faceless bad guy sits on his first victim's bed, and when she asks what he's going to do to her, he says "Everything."

And that's just page 7.

This book contains some sick stuff. Nothing is off limits. Think Hannibal Lecter times five --or six by my count-- with the absolute might and force of the US government backing them up...or at least covering them up.

The pace is relentless, the characterization --unfortunately-- is excellent. You will care about these people. No one deserves to die the way so many do. The writing is crystal clear, like carved coal, dark, sparkling, with more than an evil glint. There's no silliness, no messing about, and nothing strikes you as implausible at the time, even if some of the violence is over the top.

You won't want to put down this book until you reach the last line. It's a good last line. Really good.

Afraid is a horrifying book with a particularly satisfying ending. I thoroughly recommend it.

~Rowena Cherry, SPACE SNARK™ author of Forced Mate, Insufficient Mating Material, Knight's Fork

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