Read The Face of Fear Online

Authors: Dean Koontz

Tags: #Fiction / Thrillers

The Face of Fear

Table of Contents
 
 
 
 
 
THE ACCLAIMED BESTSELLERS BY DEAN KOONTZ
The Eyes of Darkness
“Koontz puts his readers through the emotional wringer!”—Associated Press
 
The Key to Midnight
“An exceptional novelist... top-notch!”
—Lincoln Star-Journal
 
Mr. Murder
“A truly harrowing tale... superb work by a master at the top of his form.”

Washington Post Book World
 
The Funhouse
“Koontz is a terrific what-if storyteller.”
-People
 
Dragon Tears
“A razor-sharp, nonstop, suspenseful story ... a first-rate literary experience.”
—San
Diego Union-Tribune
 
Shadowfires
“His prose mesmerizes ... Koontz consistently hits the bull’s-eye.”
-Arkansas Democrat
 
Hideaway
“Not just a thriller but a meditation on the nature of good and evil.”
—Lexington Herald-Leader
 
Cold Fire
“An extraordinary piece of fiction ... It will be a classic.” -UPI
The House of Thunder
“Koontz is brilliant.”
-Chicago Sun-Times
 
The Voice of the Night
“A fearsome tour of an adolescent’s psyche. Terrifying, knee-knocking suspense.”
—Chicago Sun-Times
 
The Bad Place
“A new experience in breathless terror.”—UPI
 
The Servants of Twilight
“A great storyteller.”—
New York Daily News
 
“A triumph.” Midnight
—New York Times
“A triumph.”
 
Lightning
“Brilliant ... a spine-tingling tale ... both challenging and entertaining.—Associated Press”
The Mask
“Koontz hones his fearful yarns to a gleaming edge.”
—People
 
Watchers
“A breakthrough for Koontz ... his best ever.”
—Kirkus Reviews
 
Twilight Eyes
“A spine-chilling adventure ... will keep you turning pages to the very end.”
—Rave Reviews
Strangers
“A unique spellbinder that captures the reader on the first page. Exciting, enjoyable, and an intensely satisfying read.”—Mary Higgins Clark
 
Phantoms
“First-rate suspense, scary and stylish.”
—Los Angeles Times
 
Whispers
“Pulls out all the stops ... an incredible, terrifying tale.”
—Publishers Weekly
 
Night Chills
“Will send chills down your back.”
—New York Times
 
Darkfall
“A fast-paced tale ... one of the scariest chase scenes ever.”
—Houston Post
 
Shattered
“A chilling tale ... sleek as a bullet.”
—Publishers Weekly
 
The Vision
“Spine-tingling—it gives you an almost lethal shock.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
 
The Face of Fear
“Real suspense ... tension upon tension.”
—New York Times
Berkley titles by Dean Koontz
THE EYES OF DARKNESS 
THE KEY TO MIDNIGHT 
MR. MURDER 
THE FUNHOUSE 
DRAGON TEARS 
SHADOWFIRES 
HIDEAWAY 
COLD FIRE 
THE HOUSE OF THUNDER 
THE VOICE OF THE NIGHT 
THE BAD PLACE 
THE SERVANTS OF TWILIGHT 
MIDNIGHT 
LIGHTNING 
THE MASK 
WATCHERS 
TWILIGHT EYES 
STRANGERS 
DEMON SEED 
PHANTOMS 
WHISPERS 
NIGHT CHILLS 
DARKFALL 
SHATTERED 
THE VISION 
THE FACE OF FEAR
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
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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 FACE OF FEAR
 
A Berkley Book / published by arrangement with the author
 
PRINTING HISTORY
Bobbs-Merrill edition published 1977
Berkley edition / September 1985
 
Copyright © 1977 by Nkui, Inc.
 
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.
 
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eISBN : 978-0-425-11984-6
 
BERKLEY®
Berkley Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
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BERKLEY is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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For Barbara Norville
part one
FRIDAY 12:01 A.M. 8:00 P.M.
1
Wary, not actually expecting trouble but prepared for it, he parked his car across the street from the four-story brownstone apartment house. When he switched off the engine, he heard a siren wail in the street behind him.
They’re coming for me, he thought. Somehow they’ve found out I’m the one.
He smiled. He wouldn’t let them put the handcuffs on him. He wouldn’t go easily. That wasn’t his style.
Frank Bollinger was not easily frightened. In fact, he couldn’t remember
ever
having been frightened. He knew how to take care of himself. He had reached six feet when he was thirteen years old, and he hadn’t quit growing until he was six-four. He had a thick neck, broad shoulders and the biceps of a young weightlifter. At thirty-seven he was in virtually the same good condition, at least outwardly, as he had been when he was twenty-seven—or even seventeen. Curiously enough, he never exercised. He had neither the time nor the temperament for endless series of push-ups and sit-ups and running in place. His size and his hard-packed muscles were nature’s gifts, simply a matter of genetics. Although he had a voracious appetite and never dieted, he was not girdled with rings of extra weight in the hips and stomach, as were most men his age. His doctor had explained to him that, because he suffered constantly from extreme nervous tension and because he refused to take the drugs that would bring his condition under control, he would most likely die young of hypertension. Strain, anxiety, nervous tension—these were what kept the weight off him, said the doctor. Wound tight, roaring inside like a perpetually accelerating engine, he burned away the fat, regardless of how much he ate.
But Bollinger found that he could agree with only half of that diagnosis. Nervous: no. Tension: yes. He was never nervous
;
that word had no meaning for him. However, he was always tense. He strove for tension, worked at building it, for he thought of it as a survival factor. He was always watchful. Always aware. Always tense. Always ready. Ready for anything. That was why there was nothing that he feared: nothing on earth could surprise him.
As the siren grew louder, he glanced at the rear-view mirror. A bit more than a block away, a revolving red light pulsed in the night.
He took the .38 revolver out of his shoulder holster. He put one hand on the door and waited for the right moment to throw it open.
The squad car bore down on him—then swept past. It turned the corner two blocks away.
They weren’t on his trail after all.
He felt slightly disappointed.
He put the gun away and studied the street. Six mercury vapor street lamps—two at each end of the block and two in the middle—drenched the pavement and the automobiles and the buildings in an eerie purple-white light. The street was lined with three- and four-story townhouses, some of them brownstones and some brick, most of them in good repair. There didn’t seem to be anyone at any of the lighted windows. That was good
;
he did not want to be seen. A few trees struggled for life at the edges of the sidewalks, the scrawny plane trees and maples and birches that were all that New York City could boast beyond the boundaries of its public parks, all of them stunted trees, skeletal, their branches like charred bones reaching for the midnight sky. A gentle but chilly January wind pushed scraps of paper along the gutters
;
and when the wind gusted, the branches of the trees rattled like children’s sticks on a rail fence. The other parked cars looked like animals huddling against the cold air
;
they were empty. Both sidewalks were deserted for the length of the block.
He got out of the car, quickly crossed the street and went up the front steps of the apartment house.
The foyer was clean and brightly lighted. The complex mosaic floor—a garland of faded roses on a beige background—was highly polished, and there were no pieces of tile missing from it. The inner foyer door was locked and could only be opened by key or with a lock-release button in one of the apartments.
There were three apartments on the top floor, three on the second floor and two on the ground level. Apartment 1A belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Harold Nagly, the owners of the building, who were on their annual pilgrimage to Miami Beach. The small apartment at the rear of the first floor was occupied by Edna Mowry, and he supposed that right now Edna would be having a midnight snack or a well-deserved martini to help her relax after a long night’s work.
He had come to see Edna. He knew she would be home. He had followed her for six nights now, and he knew that she lived by strict routine, much too strict for such a young and attractive woman. She always arrived home from work at twelve, seldom more than five minutes later.

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