Booklist - Review
Jan 2014. 400 p. Mysterious, hardcover, $27. (9780802122056). Mysterious, e-book, (9780802192844).
In the familiar cautionary tale about the little girl and the big bad wolf, the child wears a red hood. In Katzenbach’s skillful contemporary version, red hair attracts the predator, who targets not one but three vulnerable females, unknown to one another. Mr. Big Bad Wolf, a meticulous, confident, unprepossessing crime writer (who bases his books on crimes he commits), has been inactive for a number of years, but his new idea—killing all three women on the same day—is simply too thrilling to pass up. He’s convinced that his “project” will regenerate his moribund career and spice up his humdrum home life. After many weeks, he is finally ready to put his plan into action, and he’s virtually salivating at the prospect. Mr. BBW’s work notes clearly reveal his megalomania as well as how he very deliberately chose and stalked his prey. First there’s Karen, a lonely, middle-aged doctor, oldest of the three; then Sarah, a grief-stricken widow who has turned to alcohol and pills; finally, teenage Jordan, smart but directionless, whose parents are too wrapped up in their divorce to care about her. Wolf is convinced his brilliant, scrupulously detailed plan can’t fail. After all, who will miss these damaged women? Unfortunately, there’s something he never considered. It’s called group dynamics. Like Katzenbach’s What Comes Next (2012), this is a page-turner from the get-go and must reading for thriller fans.
— Stephanie Zvirin
Re-issued December 2014 by Grove/Atlantic - Mysterious Press the 1987 New York Times bestseller The Traveler, with a new introduction by John Katzenbach.
Available at Amazon and better bookstores.
WHAT COMES NEXT
What Comes Next (2010) (Der Professor, El professor)
Adrian Thomas is a retired university professor, who just diagnosed with a degenerative dementia that will lead soon to death. He has dedicated his life to studying the processes of the mind and transmit to his students all his knowledge. Now retired, widowed patient believes that the best thing to do is commit suicide. But upon leaving the doctor's office is involuntary witness abduction of Jennifer Riggins, a troubled sixteen-years with a history of escapes, disappearing without a trace in a van driven by a blonde woman. Professor Thomas is torn between putting an end to his life and be useful last time before he died. Decides to help find Jennifer, try give you the opportunity to live his young life. For that to be submerged in the dark world of pornography on the Internet, and an evil world criminal where all your academic knowledge is at stake, and where it should use the few moments of lucidity to advance research for which there is little time ...
The Wrong Man (2006)
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.
The Madman's Tale (2004)
From Library Journal:
Committed to the now-shuttered Western State Hospital when he was young, fortyish Francis Petrel starts recalling the circumstances of a nurse's grisly murder-just as the killer comes out of hiding.
Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
The Analyst (2002) *More than 3 Million copies sold worldwide
Happy fifty third birthday, Doctor. Welcome to the first day of your death.
Dr. Frederick Starks, a New York psychoanalyst, has just received a mysterious, threatening letter. Now he finds himself in the middle of a horrific game designed by a man who calls himself Rumplestiltskin. The rules: in two weeks, Starks must guess his tormentor's identity. If Starks succeeds, he goes free. If he fails, Rumplestiltskin will destroy, one by one, fifty-two of Dr. Starks' loved ones—unless the good doctor agrees to kill himself. In a blistering race against time, Starks' is at the mercy of a psychopath's devious game of vengeance. He must find a way to stop the madman—before he himself is driven mad. . . .
Hart's War (1999)
Second Lieutenant Tommy Hart's B-25 is shot out of the sky in 1942. Burdened with guilt as the only surviving crew-member, he is held captive at Stalag XIII in Bavaria. Routine comes to a halt with the arrival of a black American airman; when he is accused of murder, Hart is expected to defend him.
State of Mind (1997)
A professor of abnormal psychology, Jeffrey Clayton struggles with a dark past. Twenty-five years before, Jeffrey and his mother and sister fled his tyrannical father - a man who was later suspected in the heinous murder of a young student. Though the father was never charged, he committed suicide. Or so it seemed. Since then Jeffrey's mother and his sister, Susan, have concealed themselves in the remote tangled swamps of the Upper Keys, where Susan creates word games for Miami Magazine. But someone has sent her a cryptic note. Once deciphered, it carries a terrifying message: I have found you.
The Shadow Man (1995)
Among the traitorous Jews hired by the Gestapo to hunt down & turn in their neighbors, none was more feared than the Shadow Man. Now, 50 years later in Florida, the Shadow Man is back, and a small group of Holocaust survivors are in fear for their lives.
Just Cause (1992)
Reporter Matt Cowart's explosive investigative journalism succeeds in freeing a convicted rapist and murderer. But has his dedication to freeing "an innocent man" actually turned a ruthless killer loose again?
Day of Reckoning (1989)
Megan and Duncan Richards have come a long way from 1968 and their radical past. He's a banker; she's in real estate. They have two teenage daughters and a young son. But the past has not forgotten them. From her prison cell, the beautiful and cold-blooded terrorist Tanya, with whom the Richards were involved in 1968, plots her revenge on the couple she blames for her capture. Soon she will be released from jail. Then she will start to pay them back - beginning with their son . . .
The Traveler (1987)
A man. A woman. A car. A camera. He kills everyone who has ever done him wrong, then takes pictures. She is his prisoner: she watches, then writes it all down for posterity. If she refuses, he will kill her, too. "A powerful, obsessive novel of murder and madness."--New York Times Book Review.
First Born (1984)
The Death of Arnold Zeleznilk, Age Nine: Murder, Madness and What Came After." On December 20, 1974, Carter and Elizabeth Zeleznik and their two sons, Arnold and Bobby, toppled into a nightmare. Carter took nine year old Arnold into the corridor of their Miami hotel, realized he'd forgotten to leave the key with his wife, and ducked back into the room. He was gone for ninety seconds.
*My only book that is out of print is First Born. Despite being a Literary Guild selection and a bestseller, this work of non-fiction is simply unavailable through the publishers. If you want to try to find a copy, look at the websites that specialize in out-of-print or hard-to-find titles. Because it is such a uniquely USA story, it’s the only book of John's that was never translated into Spanish, German, Italian, French or any other languages.
In the Heat of the Summer (1982)
They call July the 'Mean Season' in Miami, and this hot summer a clever, elusive killer is terrorising the entire city. The death of the first victim was just a good story for reporter Malcolm Anderson, but the killer liked his style and begins to feed him a stream of front-page exclusives. His journalism makes Anderson a national celebrity - and they could make him the next victim ...