Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
"I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger . . ." writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up "1922," the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness. In "Big Driver," a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book-club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself. "Fair Extension," the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the nastiest and certainly the funniest. Making a deal with the devil not only saves Dave Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment. In "A Good Marriage," Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage when her husband of more than twenty years is away on one of his business trips. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It’s a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends a good marriage.
The Panic Zone by Rick Mofina
A car crashes in Wyoming: A young mother is thrown clear of the devastating car crash. Dazed, she sees a figure pull her infant son from the flames. Or does she? The police believe it's a case of trauma playing cruel tricks on the mind, until the night the grief-stricken woman hears a voice through the phone: "Your baby is alive."
A bomb explodes in a Rio de Janeiro café: The heinous act kills ten people, including two journalists with the World Press Alliance news agency. Jack Gannon's first international assignment is to find out whether his colleagues were innocent victims or targets who got too close to a huge story.
A Caribbean cruise ends in horror: Doctors are desperate to identify the mysterious cause of a cruise ship passenger's agonizing death. They turn to the world's top scientists, who fear that someone has resurrected their long-buried secret research. Research that is now being used as a deadly weapon.
With millions of lives at stake, experts work frantically against time. And as an anguished mother searches for her child and Jack Gannon pursues the truth, an unstoppable force hurls them all into the panic zone.Edge by Jeffery Deaver
Shock waves of alarm ripple through the clandestine agency when Washington, D.C., police detective Ryan Kessler inexplicably becomes the target of Henry Loving, a seasoned, ruthless “lifter” hired to obtain information using whatever means necessary. While Loving is deft at torture, his expertise lies in getting an “edge” on his victim—leverage—usually by kidnapping or threatening family until the “primary” caves under pressure. The job of keeping the Kessler family alive falls to a man named Corte, a senior federal protection officer known as a “shepherd.” Uncompromising, relentlessly devoted to protecting those in his care and a passionate board game aficionado, he applies brilliant gaming strategy to his work. For Corte, the reappearance of Loving—the man who, six years earlier, had tortured and killed someone close to him—is also an opportunity to avenge his friend’s death. The assignment soon escalates into a fast-paced duel between Corte and Loving, a dangerous volley of wits and calculated risks.
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