Happy 53rd birthday. Welcome to the first day of your death. Until he opens the letter, New York psychologist Frederick Starks has led a quiet and, so he believes, blameless life, but suddenly someone who believes Starks ruined his life threatens him with a systematic trail of butchery.
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(178mm x 106mm x 26mm)
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Doctor Frederick (Ricky) Starks is bored with patients whining at him about their mothers. Soon, though, he wishes that exposure to these 'surges of murderous hatred' was the worst of his problems. A mysterious and unsettling note from someone in his past drops into the painfully ordered life of the solitary psychoanalyst, leaving him with three equally unpleasant options. He must discover the identity of the letter writer within 15 days, allow his unknown tormentor to destroy 52 of his friends and relatives one by one - or kill himself. And so the psychological cat and mouse game begins as Ricky tries to put together the pieces to work out who 'Rumpelstiltskin' actually is. Although his educated mind races almost as fast as the ticking clock, his invisible adversary remains at least one step ahead, knowing which buttons to push and always aware exactly what to do to frighten the increasingly worried, increasingly isolated Ricky. An unexpected death brings home the seriousness of the situation and, while normal life continues in the city around him, Ricky's life becomes more hellish by the day. His almost hermetically sealed existence no longer affords him either shelter or protection as the psychopath cranks up the pressure, notch by terrifying notch, and simple rituals like locking a door or turning on the light become twisted into the fear of being watched and stalked. Every time Ricky thinks he has won a small victory, he finds himself plunged deeper into a sickening mess, and his utter powerlessness in the face of Rumpelstiltskin's total ruthlessness is brilliantly captured in this tense and claustrophobic thriller. (Kirkus UK)
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