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Fear Itself (E.L. Pender #2)

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  697 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Injecting fresh potency into the phrase "scared to death," the wickedly talented author of The Girls He Adored has delivered a spine-chilling follow-up, introducing an unforgettable villain who confronts his victims with their phobias.

The charmingly disheveled FBI Special Agent E.L. Pender is strapping on his nonregulation calfskin shoulder holster one last time on his l

Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Pocket Books (first published December 31st 2002)
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Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
I really love his books, but they seem very hard to find....
Jun 23, 2014 Jess rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was incredibly disappointed with the way this book was written. The plot was such a great idea and the events stunning but every character just knew what to do in order to sort out the problem. They didn't need any clues and there was absolutely no suspense, apart from maybe the first few pages. After that it was predictable, boring but I wanted to know if it would get better. Some authors do this to mislead the reader but this book was just one big blur of disappointment. I have read other bo ...more
I don't like crime novels but I did actually enjoy this one! A series of murders are taking place and the common link is that the victims all are phobics who are murdered using the methods that most frightens them. At first it looks like suicides but then the victims are all traced to a phobia conference that they all attended.

Investigating the case is Linda Abruzzi, an FBI agent trying to hide her own medical problems and semi-retired agent Pender who decides to break the rules to catch the ki
Nov 19, 2013 Levian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
just a few days before retirement, FBI agent Pender received a letter from Dorie, mentioning some unlikely deaths of people like her, who attended conference for suffering a variety of phobias. however, these deaths seemed strange, not some random suicides as they appeared to be - a man afraid of heights fell nineteen stories to his death, a woman terrified of blood was found with her wrists slashed. now that her friend Wayne missed their appointment, Dorie was afraid that the killer was coming ...more
Fantastic premise.. a serial killer who tortures his victims with their own phobias. A man who fears drowning found in the ocean, a man afraid of heights "jumps" from a roof.. With the always colorful Agent E.L. Pender offering his services to find the evil genius.

While I generally fawn over Nasaw's books, the pacing of this particular novel left me underwhelmed. The first half was so page-turning, exciting, and despicably dark, that it left the second half unsurprising and slightly predictable.
Oct 12, 2014 Farhan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining thriller featuring the middle-aged FBI Special Agent Pender who is about to retire. Fast-paced and fun about a psychopath who preys on his victims' phobias and like to literally scare them to death.
David Schlack
I have acrophobia, the fear of heights, and I'm glad I never met Simon Childs. I give Fear Itself by Jonathan Nasaw a 3. He gives us a unique plot and I like his writing style and main characters but novel seemed to be hard to finish. Enjoy!
Jan 20, 2016 Evelyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fear Itself by Jonathan Nasaw. Enjoyed this book. Wonder where the Authors come by their stories. This story keeps your interest until the end.
Lee Ann Horner
Aug 26, 2014 Lee Ann Horner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book.The idea of someone exploiting the phobias of others is not new but is utilised well here.
Jennifer L.
Jonathan Nasaw has always had a way of sucking me in to each story he tells, and this one was no different. Perfect dialogue, an entertaining story with just enough twists, engaging characters, a believable trajectory...overall, this was everything I could really ask for in a crime novel, and I loved every minute.

As ever, Nasaw is a clever and entertaining writer, and I'd recommend him to anyone who just wants to escape into a good suspense/crime story, at times horrific, and at times just funny
Aug 23, 2016 Biff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit messed up but mesmerising and hard to put down
Jan 30, 2015 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read!
Vishaal Singh
Super rad and messed up!!!!!!!!!!1111
Oct 23, 2016 Kelsea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A seriously just okay sequel.
Barbara ★
This wasn't one of my favorites by this author. In the beginning, I enjoyed the mystery right up until the FBI figured out who the murderer was. Then the chase was on but the story dragged and was rather boring. I liked FBI agent Linda Abruzzi but wasn't all that enamored of E.L. Pender (the semi-retired agent). The murderer was a total freak but he really loved his Down Syndrome sister which was sweet but surprising in such a grisly murderer.
Not nearly as good as the first in the series. The psychology aspect of it was okay (it was phenomenal in "Girls he Adored"), E. L. Pender's character was kind of annoying as was his romantic relationship, and the pacing wasn't nearly as fast as thriller ought to be, especially the procedural parts of it. Will continue reading the series just because I loved his first book so much, hopefully it'll pick up.
Aug 25, 2007 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
In some ways, this book reminded me of the "Saw" movies. Take a person's greatest fear and use it against them. Not exactly a novel idea, but in the mind of Jonathan Nasaw, it becomes horrific and terrifying. The twists and turns kept me guessing all the way to the end - and made it a quick read. What do you have to fear, after all, but Fear Itself? (Cheesy, I know, but I couldn't resist!)
Apr 27, 2012 Janie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really good thriller! I have MS was particularly interested in this story as one of the main characters has MS and trying to perform her duties while struggling with the ups and downs of this disease. The book is really good at delving into the characters and getting you involved in why they do or don't do certain things. Really good read!
Sep 21, 2008 Kimmi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After The Girls He Adored, it was a little bit of a let down, but it is hard to follow a great book. I believe that if I had read it before I would have liked the book more. My expectations were great. Having said all of that, the book was hard to put down and a fast read. Looking forward to more from Nasaw.
May 11, 2010 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Boys from Santa Cruz" introduced me to Nasaw, and I wish I had started reading his books chronologically to learn more about his protagonist, FBI Special Agent Pender.

Anyway, these are good, solid thrillers, fit for airport or beach reading by anyone, anytime. Nothing profound here, but entertaining.
I am so glad to be done with this. It was so boring. I do love the idea of it because it's clever and I haven't heard of someone else doing it before. I didn't really like the first book of the series but I read this one anyway because I owned it for a long time. I will not be continuing on in the series.
Feb 28, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it
A friend of mine recommended I read this book recently cause she really enjoyed it and had it sitting on her book shelf, so she lend it to me and I am happy that she did. I really loved the premise of the book, it was very interesting and I found the book to be a great read, I really enjoyed this book.
Nicole Krubski
Even better than the first one! Enjoyed this and creeped myself out. A psycho who kills by using your fears against you. Opening page is a guy afraid of birds - almost wet myself
Jan 27, 2013 Jude rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned a lot of phobia names here, and my, could use each for an advantage, but this guy seriously had a knack for taking it to a greater "advantage". He's got quite a past too.
Aug 31, 2012 Ricardo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was entertaining although the credibility factor was extremely low. The plot relied too much on "luck" to make things work out. Not a bad book but nothing that stood out either
May 08, 2008 Eva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good book, different from what I usually read. Not as good as The girls he adored or even When she was bad, but still can hold its own.
Jun 02, 2011 Kaylol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The characters are excellently portrayed. It's good. Read it if you haven't!
Jul 29, 2009 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
Your standard thriller type novel. An incredibly engrossing, quick read.
Oct 09, 2009 Viccy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a reasonably good psychological thriller. I will read more by Nasaw.
I wish he could write faster so I wouldn't have to wait between books !!
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  • Psychopath (Frank Clevenger, #4)
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  • The Skin Gods (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #2)
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  • The Trafficked (Detective Johnny Mann, #2)
  • Good Morning, Killer (Ana Grey, #2)
  • The Tunnels (Kelly Jones Mysteries, #1)
  • Der stumme Tod: Gereon Raths zweiter Fall (Gereon Rath, #2)
  • The Bone Parade
  • Web of Deceit
  • So Close the Hand of Death (Taylor Jackson, #6)
  • Totenblick
  • Terror's Reach
Jonathan Nasaw is the acclaimed author of Fear Itself and The Girls He Adored, both Literary Guild Selections. He lives in Pacific Grove, California.

* E.L. Pender
* James Whistler
More about Jonathan Nasaw...

Other Books in the Series

E.L. Pender (5 books)
  • The Girls He Adored
  • Twenty Seven Bones
  • When She Was Bad
  • The Boys from Santa Cruz

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