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Authors: Scott Frost

Never Fear

BOOK: Never Fear
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Table of Contents
Praise for
Never Fear
“Frost wraps his narrative in an atmosphere so thick with foreboding that its disorienting events take on a surreal quality . . . eerie storytelling.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“With enough plot lines for several crime novels, Scott Frost provides a page-turner in
Never Fear
. . . [Frost] keeps the audience in suspense . . . fast-paced plotting makes it hard to put the book down.”
—The Tampa Tribune
“Scott Frost is a heck of a good storyteller . . . we will probably be hearing more about Alex Delillo . . . [She] has all the makings of a series character.”
—
The Associated Press
“Another pulse-pounding, complex thriller in the tradition of Peter Straub . . . Frost's combination of psychological depth, complex plotting, and an evocative, arid Los Angeles setting will have lovers of intellectual suspense counting the days until his next book.”
—Publishers Weekly
(starred review)

Never Fear
is to mystery novels about Los Angeles what
Chinatown
was to movies . . . Even when you know what happens at the end, you want to go back and start again.”
—
D. W. Buffa, author of
The Defense
“Amazing . . . a great sequel to his knockout debut novel
Run the Risk
. . . It gets creepier as the tension mounts and the body count rises . . . Frost's expertise is brilliant; this is ideal for the compulsive page-turner who enjoys excellent writing and suspense.” —
Lansing State Journal
“Frost delivers a superlative scorcher with a cast of memorably eccentric characters (including a brilliant schizophrenic hell-bent on revenge) and a sinuous plot that crackles and pops. Fans of Robert Crais and Michael Connelly should check out this series.”
—Booklist
(starred review)
“Frost makes good on the promise of
Run the Risk
as L.A. police detective Alex Delillo returns in a case as intricate as a diagrammed compound-complex sentence ... Tight, tricky, and wickedly complicated, with sharp, swiftly drawn characters.”
—Kirkus Reviews
"Thrilling.”
—The Birmingham Post
“Vivid and riveting . . . Strong writing, an increasingly complex heroine, and an enthralling plot full of cops, both good and bad, highly recommend this for public and academic collections.”
—Library Journal
“A classic crime novel.”
—Independent on Sunday
(London)
Praise for
Run the Risk
“A riveting thriller, implacable in its intensity.”
—Catherine Coulter
“Alex Delillo is a single mother and L.A. homicide detective, and one of the best main characters you'll ever meet. This is an absolutely heart-stopping debut, the kind of book that owns you by the end of the first chapter. If this really is Scott Frost's first novel, then he's clearly a writer to watch.” —Steve Hamilton, author of
Ice Run
“[A] chilling debut novel . . . This, the first in a series, is a jaw-dropper that will leave readers clamoring for more. This novel should be a hit.”
—Publishers Weekly
"A taut, swiftly paced thriller . . . an assured debut . . . scenes a latter-day Hitchcock would love to film.”
—Kirkus Reviews
(starred review)
“Better known as the cowriter of the cult TV show
Twin Peaks
. . . Frost has created a puzzle with razor-sharp edges, and as the stakes grow, he keeps putting new pieces on the table.
Run the Risk
was written for people who like their books frantic and frightening, and by those measures, it delivers the goods.” —
Booklist
“Scott Frost delivers everything a thriller writer wants— crisp prose, a page-turning plot, and a completely original voice. His protagonist, Alex Delillo, is one of the most sympathetic narrators I've come across in a long time.”
—Rick Riordan, author of
Southtown
“[A] taut thriller . . . liable to keep you up reading all night, offering frenzied action and carefully crafted suspense.
Run the Risk
is an outstanding, nail-biting new novel by a highly talented screenwriter whose credits include
Twin Peaks
. . . Frost is definitely a rising star in contemporary crime fiction—and this is just the first in his explosive proposed series.”
—Lansing State Journal
Titles by Scott Frost
RUN THE RISK
NEVER FEAR
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
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(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
NEVER FEAR
A Jove Book / published by arrangement with the author
Copyright © 2006 by Scott Frost.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form
without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials
in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
eISBN : 978-1-4406-3377-5
JOVE®
Jove Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
JOVE is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
The “J” design is a trademark belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

http://us.penguingroup.com

For Valerie, Ginsy, and Warren
We all have secrets. In childhood they're innocent, tucked away in the imagination like a favorite toy hidden from a sibling under the bed. If you're lucky, that's the way they remain. I haven't met many lucky people.
My mother divorced my father when I was five. What I know of him comes mostly from reruns that appear late at night on Nickelodeon, replacing actual memories of my own. On an episode of
Gunsmoke
he was a hapless traveling salesman who was tarred and feathered by drunken cowboys for trying to sell them bicycles to replace their horses. On an episode of
Bonanza
he played an Indian who was shot to death for falling in love with a white woman. He was in one movie titled
War of the Colossal Beast
, a low-budget horror film about a giant Cyclops that terrorizes L.A. The beast stepped on Dad while attacking the Griffith Park Observatory. They're what I have instead of home movies.
He was in his late twenties when he got the roles. A journeyman actor whose Richard Widmark-like features and crisp, penetrating eyes even today seem to look right through me from the television screen. Shortly after the divorce he disappeared from our lives. Not one letter was ever sent. Not one phone call made. Not on birthdays, or Christmas, not ever. Two episodes of television, a Cyclops movie, and my presence are the only evidence of his existence.
I don't know what his secrets were. I don't remember the touch of his hand, or the smell of his aftershave. I imagine for a brief moment he dreamed of becoming a star, but instead played a hapless salesman, an Indian, and a Cyclops victim. What I know for sure is what's left on the screen— a perfect smile, dark hair, and a voice that sounds just a little too high for his good looks. And I also know that without any proof to the contrary, I don't believe my father was one of the lucky people.
1
It was 6:30 A.M. when the dream woke me. I've had it for as long as I can remember. Or at least for as long as I can remember since I became a cop. There's a dead body in my bedroom closet going through all my clothes. I smell the ripening of decaying tissue. I hear the sliding of the hangers on the rail—the soft fall of fabric, as one outfit after another is dropped to the floor. A Maurice Sendak nightmare for the clothes-challenged homicide detective. If it were about anything more than that, I'd rather not know.
I pulled the sheet up around my chin and tried to settle back into the pillow. I knew from experience that there would be no more sleep, but with a little luck I could at least hold off thinking about what was ahead for another hour.
The heat of the day was already beginning to gather, slipping in through the open window. It has a sound all its own, or more accurately a quality of silence that is different from any other—and one that always seems to hold the potential for change.
The slap of a newspaper landing on the driveway interrupted the spell. A mourning dove's singsong and the soft rustling of wings outside my window marked the first rays of sunlight reaching over the San Gabriels. I took a long, deep breath and pulled the sheet over my head.
Five minutes passed, and another. I listened for a sound coming from my daughter's bedroom down the hall, as I have every morning since the killer Gabriel turned our house into his own private horror show. For weeks after we returned home Lacy greeted every dawn with a shriek of fear as the memory of what he did invaded her dreams. Months gradually turned shrieks to soft whimpers, the night sweat-soaked sheets gradually dried. A year later each day finally arrived with silence, if not promise.
BOOK: Never Fear
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