Raymond Chandler once proclaimed that the first-person narrator should never turn out to be the villain in a good mystery or thriller. Luckily, the excellent writer Greg Iles has seemingly ignored Chandler's advice. Iles has created a character--Harper Cole, a futures trader and online pornographer--who could very well be the person killing off subscribers to his Internet sex service. Or is it Miles Turner, Cole's very odd colleague? If you thought that stalking a killer on the Internet had been done to death in books and bad movies, this one will have you pushing the reload button on your browser. Other Iles books in paperback include Black Cross and Hardcover edition.
"Fascinating."--New York Times Book Review
The operator of a sexually explicit on-line service is accused of committing a series of vicious murders--and his daring plan to prove his innocence will place everything and everyone he loves in the path of an unstoppable killer...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful: Absolutely amazing thriller - top of any list, August 22, 2003 Reviewer: RachelWalker from England Harper Cole, a man with some pretty dark secrets, is a systems operator for an international on-line programme known as EROS, a service that caters for the erotic sexual appetities - be they light or of a slightly darker taste - of a large number of highly-paying clients. Soon, Harper's life - and the lives of those closest to him - will be thrown into immense danger, because there is a killer at work on EROS, a twisted and terrifying serial murderer using the network to find his way into the lives and fantasies of his female victims. All of a sudden, Harper finds himself a possible suspect in the eyes of the FBI, and in an attempt both to prove his innocence and to stop a vicious killer from continuing his morbid harvest, Harper goes into EROS himself, posing as a woman he once had an affair with, in order to try and trap the killer into revealing himself. However, it quickly becomes apparent that everyone has underestimated this brutally intelligent killer, able to detect their every move and remain constantly one step ahead... Mortal Fear is surely going to be Iles' crowning achievement. Most serial killer novels are pretty standard fare, but this is not only far better than almost any other I have read, it almost transends its genre, such is the writing quality and the relentless intelligence that powers the plot and movement of the prose. The brutality of the killer (and his bizarre, if startlingly original, motives) is balanced with some wonderful philosophical examinations of humans and humanity, which give you the impression that Iles really KNOWS people, rather like Stephen King, and a slightly academic, educated feel to it all makes this so much more than just a pop-thriller, but something far greater. Iles is graced with a gift for creating incredibly strong lead male characters that, while often shaded, have the distinct feel that they could easily have been plucked form any street in any town the world over. Harper Cole is such a creation: real, full, and likeable. His conflicts, secrets, problems, are all fascianting andf the reader grows to care quite deepy about their having a sucessful resolution. The plot is incredibly strong, and Iles really does bring something special to the whole notion of a killer using the internet to find his victims. There are some twists that really do shock, events that are unpredictable and come out of the blue, which is very very rare, some deaths that really do make you gasp, and even perhaps have qualms about whether you actually want to continue. But, of course you continue, because, while you cared about the characters, now you care even more that they catch the killer abd, quite frankly, kill him very painfully yet thoroughly. The killer himself is genuinely scary, which again is very rare. His seeming omniscience and intelligence will maybe even strike hints of fear into you as you read. In all truth, "Brahama", as he comes to be known, is probably more than a match for Hannibal Lecter, and I have never said that before. This is the best thriller i have read in ages. Its humanity married with cruelty make it horridly compelling, and the shadows of Eastern mythology that brood behind everything give it that extra special edge. Be sure to read this book. It is fantastic. I cannot understand why people did not rave and shout from the rooftops about this book for years after its publication because, by god, it certainly deserves that.