The Madman's Tale: A Novel

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It’s been twenty years since Western State Hospital was closed down and the last of its inmates reintegrated into society. Francis Petrel was barely out of his teens when his family committed him to the asylum, after his erratic behavior culminated in a terrifying outburst. Now middle-aged, he leads an aimless, solitary life housed in a cheap apartment, periodically tended to by his sisters, and perpetually medicated to quiet the chorus of voices in his head. But a reunion on the grounds of the shuttered institution stirs something deep in Francis’s troubled mind: dark memories he thought he had laid to rest, about the grisly events that led to Western State Hospital’s demise.

It begins in 1979, when twenty-one-year-old Petrel descends into the state-run purgatory of an overcrowded, understaffed Massachusetts mental hospital. Surrounded by inmates roaming the halls like drugged zombies and raving behind locked doors, well-meaning orderlies, jaded nurses, and patronizing doctors, Francis finds friendship with a motley assortment of fellow patients: a would-be Napoleon, a wise ex-firefighter, and a man obsessed with battling imagined devils. But there’s nothing imaginary about the young nurse found sexually assaulted and brutally murdered late one night after lights-out.

The police suspect an inmate, while patients whisper about visions of a white-shrouded “angel.” But the striking and mysterious prosecuting attorney who arrives to investigate has her own chilling theory—about the grim, telltale “signature” left on the victim’s body, a string of unsolved sex killings, and a very real devil who, by chance or design, has come to turn a madhouse into a slaughterhouse.

Now, with the past creeping back to haunt his thoughts, and nothing but a pencil and the bare walls of his bleak apartment, Francis surrenders to the overwhelming need to tell the story of those nightmarish days. But because the crime was never solved, it’s a story doomed to remain unfinished. Until, like Francis’s long-buried recollections, the killer resurfaces . . . with a vengeance.

A tour de force narrative journey through the eerily unpredictable mind of an utterly unusual hero, The Madman’s Tale will keep even the most astute thriller reader uncertain, unnerved, and unable to resist the tantalizing twists and turns of this fiendishly suspenseful shadow show.
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Scott Freeman is a man of reason–a college professor grounded in the rational and practical. But he becomes uneasy after finding an anonymous love letter hidden in his daughter’s room: “No one could ever love you like I do. No one ever will. We will be together forever. One way or another.” But the reality of Ashley’s plight far exceeds Scott’s worst suspicions.

One drink too many had led Ashley, a beautiful, bright art student, into what she thought was just a fling with a blue-collar bad boy. But now, no amount of pleading or reasoning can discourage his phone calls, ardent e-mails, and constant, watchful gaze.

Michael O’Connell is but a malignant shadow of a man. His brash, handsome features conceal a black and empty soul. Control is his religion. Cunning and criminal skill are his stock-in-trade. Rage is his language.

The harder Ashley tries to break free, the deeper Michael burrows into every aspect of her life, so she turns in desperation to her divorced parents and her mother’s new partner–three people still locked in a coldly civilized triangle of resentment. But their fierce devotion to Ashley is the common bond that will draw them together to face down a predator.

For Ashley’s family, it is a test of primal love that will drive them to the extreme edge–and beyond–in a battle of wills that escalates into a life-or-death war to protect their own.

From the bestselling master of suspense, John Katzenbach, The Wrong Man is an elegantly crafted and breathtakingly intense read that asks the question, “How far would you go to save the child you love?”
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Additional Information

Publisher
Ballantine Books
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Published on
Jun 15, 2004
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Pages
448
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ISBN
9780345478474
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Thrillers / General
Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Jennifer and Catherine-sisters who have inherited equal shares of power in Pegasus Satellite Services, one of the biggest communications empires in the world-could not be more different. While Catherine is an extraordinary beauty whose looks attract the most handsome and powerful men, her sister is a plain-Jane, no-nonsense gal who prefers running the company to walking the red carpet.

But Jennifer's aversion to the spotlight becomes secondary after the successful launch of the Pegasus III satellite, her newest technological masterpiece. The company needs someone to explain the revolutionary communications tool to potential clients and Jennifer is forced to make the awkward transition from playing scientist in the laboratory to playing hostess at the most lavish party in Cannes.

That's where she meets Padraig, a major film star with enough Irish charm and celebrity cache to make the move to power producer. But when he marries Jennifer, Catherine's protective instincts are triggered: is the playboy actor only after Jennifer's money and connections? When Jennifer is almost killed in a car accident on her honeymoon, Catherine feels she must intervene in her sister's relationship. But Jennifer begins to suspect that Catherine is jealous of the wallflower sister's new romance, and possibly of her power within the company. Was the accident Catherine's murderous attempt to win complete control of Pegasus? Suddenly, neither sister can trust the other in a game that has their love, fortune, and even their lives hanging in the balance.

What begins as a rivalry between sisters becomes a chilling novel of psychological suspense in which one sister find herself alone on a yacht at sea, forced to defend herself from a terrifying killer in league with her sister. But which sister?

Scott Freeman is a man of reason–a college professor grounded in the rational and practical. But he becomes uneasy after finding an anonymous love letter hidden in his daughter’s room: “No one could ever love you like I do. No one ever will. We will be together forever. One way or another.” But the reality of Ashley’s plight far exceeds Scott’s worst suspicions.

One drink too many had led Ashley, a beautiful, bright art student, into what she thought was just a fling with a blue-collar bad boy. But now, no amount of pleading or reasoning can discourage his phone calls, ardent e-mails, and constant, watchful gaze.

Michael O’Connell is but a malignant shadow of a man. His brash, handsome features conceal a black and empty soul. Control is his religion. Cunning and criminal skill are his stock-in-trade. Rage is his language.

The harder Ashley tries to break free, the deeper Michael burrows into every aspect of her life, so she turns in desperation to her divorced parents and her mother’s new partner–three people still locked in a coldly civilized triangle of resentment. But their fierce devotion to Ashley is the common bond that will draw them together to face down a predator.

For Ashley’s family, it is a test of primal love that will drive them to the extreme edge–and beyond–in a battle of wills that escalates into a life-or-death war to protect their own.

From the bestselling master of suspense, John Katzenbach, The Wrong Man is an elegantly crafted and breathtakingly intense read that asks the question, “How far would you go to save the child you love?”
Happy 53rd birthday, Doctor. Welcome to the first day of your death.

When a mysterious letter bearing these threatening words is delivered to Dr. Frederick Starks, his predictable life is thrown into chaos. Suddenly, the psychoanalyst is plunged into a horrific game designed by a man who calls himself Rumplestiltskin. The rules: in two weeks Starks must guess Rumplestiltskin’s identity and the source of his fury. If he succeeds, he goes free. If he fails, one by one, Rumplestiltskin will destroy fifty-two of Dr. Starks’ loved ones–friends, relatives, children–unless the good doctor agrees to kill himself.

You ruined my life. And now I fully intend to ruin yours.

Ignoring the threat is not an option. When one of his patients dies under the wheels of a subway train and a detective investigating the case is struck by a hit-and-run driver, Starks knows his tormentor means business. And then there are the messengers sent to guide Starks on his descent, from the seductive woman in a trench coat who calls herself Virgil to a lawyer named Merlin weaving a spell of havoc and lies. His bank account rifled, his credit ruined, and his reputation dragged through the mud, Starks must rouse himself from the cocoon of his life, unlock the secret of Rumplestiltskin, and find a way to stop the madman–before he himself is driven mad.

One thing of which you can be absolutely certain: My anger knows no limits.

A mesmerizing thriller that gives a wicked new twist to the doctor-patient relationship, The Analyst’s Last Days weaves a blistering race against time with a tale of identities shattered and chosen, disguises taken and discarded. With his trademark style, breathless plots, and brilliantly realized characters, John Katzenbach proves once again why both critics and fans alike have crowned him the master of suspense.
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