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Afraid (Afraid #1)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  7,123 Ratings  ·  885 Reviews

Welcome to Safe Haven, Wisconsin. Miles from everything, with one road in and out, this peaceful town has never needed a full-time police force. Until now . . .

A helicopter has crashed near Safe Haven and unleashed something horrifying. Now this merciless force is about to do what it does best. Isolate. Terrorize. Annihilate
Paperback, 372 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2008)
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Tyler There are four. Afraid, Trapped, Endurance, Haunted House. But the first three don't really have any connection (except in the second book there is a…moreThere are four. Afraid, Trapped, Endurance, Haunted House. But the first three don't really have any connection (except in the second book there is a character who is briefly mentioned in the first). The fourth book contains characters from all three of the previous books. So if you want the full backstory, I suggest reading all three (any order) before the fourth.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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J.A. Konrath
Dec 02, 2008 J.A. Konrath rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome debut. I wish I'd written it...
Mar 21, 2009 Rowena rated it really liked it
I like cozies. I might as well be honest about that. Also happy ever afters. Further, in the interests of full disclosure, you should know that I read AFRAID by Jack Kilborn (with a view to a review) because Joe Konrath dared me to do so.He has a thick skin, and a strong stomach... and anyone who reads AFRAID needs both.

This is not a book to take on a fishing trip, especially if you've left your loved ones at home, alone. In fact, this book ought to come with a free membership of the NRA. You'll
Sep 11, 2011 Marvin rated it really liked it
Shelves: autographed, horror
At the end of this book is this "About the Author" blurb...
Jack Kilborn prefers not to share personal details about his life. He could be living anywhere. Possibly near you
Considering what he writes, that is a very scary thought.

Fortunately, I do know where he lives. He resides in the body of author J. A. Konrath. During the day he is harmless. But at night, he sneaks out and makes Mr. Konrath write these deliciously disgusting little books.

Or at least that is the way I imagine it.

The one thin
Angel Gelique
Sep 28, 2012 Angel Gelique rated it it was amazing
This was the first Jack Kilborn novel that I read and I was instantly hooked! I loved this book--the suspense, the graphic gore and was good from beginning to end.
You can't go wrong with a Jack Kilborn novel...if you have the guts to read one...!
Blake Crouch
Jul 02, 2016 Blake Crouch rated it it was amazing
AFRAID is a bungee jump into pure terror, a story that plays brilliantly on all our primal fears, and stands shoulder to shoulder with the very best of Harris, Koontz, and King. A classic horror novel.
Glen Krisch
May 14, 2009 Glen Krisch rated it really liked it
Afraid is the first horror novel from Jack Kilborn, aka thriller writer, JA Konrath. While this novel is touted as horror, I see it more of a horror/action hybrid that travels at an unrelenting pace, and is inhabited by likeable heroes and vile villains. Set during one harrowing evening, Afraid pits the citizens of the sleepy Wisconsin Northwood's town of Safe Haven against a special forces unit programmed (with implanted computer chips and chemical enhancements) to torture, maim and kill whoev ...more
Ophelia Julien
Mar 16, 2009 Ophelia Julien rated it it was amazing
Jack Kilborn knows that a small town in America's heartland is the perfect place to set a horror thriller: remote, surrounded by shadowy woods, and sparsely populated by residents who still live by an unlocked-door policy. After reading this book, residents of small towns everywhere will be locking their doors with deadbolts and going to bed with .357 Magnums under their pillows. I know I would.

The evil that descends upon this town, literally, in a helicopter, is motivated by the worst of all ni
Veronica Morfi
Dec 09, 2013 Veronica Morfi rated it it was amazing
Rating: 5/5

OH MY GOD THIS BOOK!!! I have no words... but I'll try to find some, just so I can write a review.

Afraid is the first book by Jack Kilborn/J.A. Konrath that I've ever read, and let me tell you it's not going to be the last. I was in the perfect mental state for a book like Afraid. I really wanted to read something action packed, with a military experiment gone bad, and a group of people trying to survive. And Afraid was exactly that, plus it was terrifying and totally gory, which I ad
May 05, 2009 Tressa rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Safe Haven, Wisconsin. Population 907. . . 906. . . 905. . .

A military helicopter crashes in the tiny Wisconsin town of Safe Haven. Unleashed is a Red Ops group of serial killers-turned-soldiers who go from house to house, business to business torturing the townsfolk for the answer to the question: Where’s Warren Streng?

A sheriff, a firefighter, a single mom, and her 10-year-old son band together for survival and seek the answer to their own question: Why would the military drop on their quiet t
Joe Rixman
Mar 21, 2009 Joe Rixman rated it really liked it
One word describes the first novel from author Jack Kilborn: relentless. Much like the works of Jim Butcher and David Morrell, Kilborn’s premiere work, AFRAID, is non-stop tension. Each section break, while short, somehow manages to ratchet up the suspense to the point that you wonder how much more you can take. You won’t want to put the book down once you start it and a small part of you will wonder what possessed you to pick it up in the first place. The story is a non-stop horror ride…once on ...more
Mar 13, 2011 Debra rated it really liked it
This was like watching SAW; pretty gruesome torture scenes, although the author doesn't go into many gory details. However, there is plenty of shocking stuff through-out the book. I don't love that kind of stuff, but it's like watching a train wreck; I just had to keep turning the pages because the story was so good! I really cared about the characters and was rooting for the small group of people (and scene-stealing Woof) fighting the evil that had come to their town. Nothing supernatural going ...more
J. McClain
Jul 23, 2012 J. McClain rated it did not like it
This is probably my first one-star rating. After being told I needed to keep up with more contemporary horror writers a few years ago, I bought a selection of novels, Afraid included. Here's the first sentence:

"The hunter's moon, a shade of orange so dark it appeared to be filled with blood, hung fat and low over the mirror surface of Big Lake McDonald."

In my opinion, this is all you need to read of the novel to know exactly how badly-written the rest is going to be. This novel has an average of
Wanda Hartzenberg
Mar 21, 2014 Wanda Hartzenberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
A truly masterful story written in a small town with a host of characters that made me nervous. I kid you not, I was trying to figure out two things from the start of this novel...first, what is going on and then, how will I ever keep all these characters straight in my head?

As it turns out the author did an amazing job in fixing these characters in my mind and as I learned to get to know them and invest in them emotionally the story started to unfold.

Graphic scenes, might make this not the bes
Apr 05, 2009 Mike rated it it was amazing
“Afraid” written by Jack Kilborn is one hell of a ride. No not a ride, more like an express elevator to hell. It starts fast and only picks up speed. It is relentless with enough horror, gore, action and twists to keep even the most hardcore adrenaline junkies satisfied. These are very bad people doing very bad things. You’ll have a toe sucking good time. Don’t worry, you’ll figure out the reference. Kilborn is the pseudonym for JA Konrath writer of the “Jack Daniels” series of books. Don’t expe ...more
Nov 09, 2009 Darcy rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Darcy by: Crystal Craig
Shelves: 2009, horror
This book really sucked me in right from the start. I was trying to figure out what was going on and then once I realized something was very wrong, along with Maggie, there was no going back.

I felt sorry for everyone in this book as they were just going on with their lives and then were thrown in hell where there were no rules, you did what you needed to, to survive. All of the people in town were faced with such horrific choices that in most cases you had to choose the lesser of the evils.

Jan 10, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
Transhumanism is the idea that human life can be made better with the help of technology. Now imagine controlling the human brain by electrical stimulation and making it function more like a computer. Forget years of study and practice, simply download information directly into a person’s brain and, depending on the program, anyone can have any skill set desired. In Jack Kilborn’s Afraid, "transhumanistic neuropathology" is the underlying concept behind the development of his modified soldiers, ...more
Mar 24, 2009 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Afraid means filled with fear or apprehension and is much too mild a word to describe the feelings of the residents of Safe Haven, Wisconsin when five men invade the town. These five men are members of a Red-Ops group. The five all have backgrounds of violent behavior. The group have been specially trained and programmed to kill. Now the five want an answer to one question.

No one in the town seems to be able to answer the question so the residents die and no one dies an easy death. Safe Haven
What is THE BEST story line ever that I love and will never get enough of?
'When Military Experiments Go Nuts and Wreak Havoc & Terror on Everyone!'

AFRAID by Jack Kilborn is the perfect amount of story between the gore.

A helicopter crashes on the outskirts of a remote Wisconsin town of Safe Haven, a population of nine hundred and seven residents, but not for long. A small group of lunatic Red-Ops soldiers survive the crash and go to work torturing and mutilating the people of Safe Haven. The
Apr 03, 2014 Joe rated it liked it
This book was "Black Hawk Down" meets Stephen King. You know how in many King books he spends 3/4's of a book building up a town and the tension and then has it all explode in the last 1/4? Well, this book was all explosion. From start to finish, horror thriller all the way baby.

Did it work? Mostly, but it felt more Koontz than King and that is not a compliment.

Once the killer(s) identity is revealed early on the book becomes a lot less interesting but still, this book had some of the best actio
Mar 18, 2009 Carmen rated it it was amazing
I decided to read Afraid based on the fact it was written by Jack Kilborn, AKA J.A. Konrath. I’m a big fan of his Jaqueline "Jack" Daniels series, so I figured it was a safe bet that Afraid wouldn’t suck. However, I was apprehensive. I just never enjoy any book or movie about covert ops, government/military cover-ups, rogue soldiers/scientists, or the like. Yawn-o-rama. OK...full disclosure is over.

Afraid was incredible! Gripping, fast-paced, absolutely frightening, and beyond gory (um, whoa!).
Rarely has Wisconsin been so intersting. I kid, Wisconsin - you know how I feel about you. From the opening sequence, when the intruder responds to the old lady's question: "what are you going to do to me?", this book is brutal, and it never lets up. Kilborn does a great job of creating atmosphere (mostly of dread) and the characters are likeable and/or interesting. A special forces unit of unknown origins is dropped into a small town in Wisconsin, and they systematically spread throughout the t ...more
Jennifer Daniel
Aug 10, 2009 Jennifer Daniel rated it did not like it
Quite possibly the worst peice of crap I have ever read. Not only was the story convoluted and far fetched the writing was horrible. For example, in the middle of escaping a burning building, several serial killers and a town held hostage the author was describing clothing down to what color Fran's scrunchi was. The other 2 people were talking about what kind of fish they pulled out of the local lake. This sort of inappropriate narative was all through the book. I see the about the author page s ...more
Mar 30, 2009 Karin rated it it was amazing
 After reading AFRAID it is very easy to see why “Jack Kilborn prefers not to share personal details about his life.  He could be living anywhere.”  Of, course he doesn’t want THEM to know where he lives.  He knows too much!  Only someone who is very aware of the secrets of our government could have written this book.  That’s why Jack likes to “stay off the grid”.  He knew that the “Red-ops units didn’t crash here accidentally”.   Of course they might run JA Konrath’s car off the road in hopes t ...more
Adam Light
AFRAID was my introduction to Kilborn and I was extremely impressed by the style of writing he brings to the table.
I will say that I am not easily shocked, perhaps even a bit jaded with splatterpunk, and so was overjoyed the book was able to turn my stomach in some scenes. The brutality was so unrelenting, and the plot well thought out and executed.
I will definitely read more of this author's work, and I strongly recommend to anyone with a strong stomach who isn't easily offended. Thanks to Mal
Sydney Squidney

Full blown, all-out, balls-to-the-wall terror!

There were many, many times throughout reading this suspense story that my mouth dropped open in horror, surprise, or simply in some cathartic attempt to produce a sound that would somehow interpret and reconcile with the appalling and roller-coaster feeling of my whole inner being.

AFRAID is so downright guilelessly gripping and fast-paced that I read it in ONE sitting, and literally on the edge of my seat, not getting up even once!

There were NO bor
Were it not for some poorly timed heavy days at work and a host of social commitments outside of those hours, I don't think I'm exaggerating to say I would have blasted through Afraid in less than 24 hours. Fast-paced, extremely readable, and (for those with strong stomachs) a whole lot of fun, this was a great introduction to the writing of Kilborn/Konrath. He perfectly dangled questions and uncertainties for the reader to ponder over and then gradually revealed all as the book progressed. This ...more
Bobbie  Crawford
Mar 31, 2009 Bobbie Crawford rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!!
Written By: Jack Kilborn
Published By: Grand Central Publishing, 2009, First Edition, 384 pages, mass market paperback
ISBN 978-0446535939

Afraid is a fantastic book; I just couldn’t put it down! The fast-paced plot and emotion-driven story is very convincing; it’s so fiendishly nauseating that it makes your skin crawl! The suspense is palpable and the atmosphere is rife with tension and fear; just what you would expect from a book with a title as simple yet as powerful as Afraid. When the ac
Whoa, Nellie! That was one disturbingly addictive read! I'm not usually very squeamish, but this one made me sqirm....a lot. I thnk the most horrifying part of it is that fact that most of what happens in this book is very possible,given the right conditions.

This story takes place in the small town of Safe Haven, where residents don't bother to even lock their doors. A helicopter crashes over Big Lake McDonald one night and brings with it a deadly force of medically altered phychos. They have o
Apr 22, 2009 Connie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
I gave this five stars because for the horror genre, I think it's excellent. This book was scary from page one until the final chapter. I get goosebumps thinking about particular scenes (a man panting like a dog, the popcorn throwing scene) which is a good way to judge how functional a horror novel is in scaring the daylights out of someone...I mean, I'm still thinking about it. And....I burned the midnight oil just to finish it. Exactly the sort of thing that one needs in a good horror novel, r ...more
Sep 17, 2013 Pam rated it liked it
This was absolutely brutal! I have never read anything this violent before. I have read books that insinuate violence or violent activity, but never anything like this. If you are the least bit squeamish, do NOT pick up this book!

With that being said, the book was good and I will read more in this series and by this author. I can't say anything about the story w/o giving it away so I will just leave the review as is.
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was this book ever made into movie? 1 5 Sep 16, 2016 02:15PM  
The Horror Novel: freebie 1 7 Apr 19, 2015 11:50AM  
Horror Aficionados : FREE on Kindle!!! Afraid by Jack Kilborn 7 127 May 27, 2013 01:29PM  
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Jack Kilborn is pen name for writer J.A. Konrath. The Kilborn name denotes his horror novels; the Konrath name his thrillers.
More about Jack Kilborn...

Other Books in the Series

Afraid (4 books)
  • Trapped
  • Endurance (Afraid, #3)
  • Haunted House

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“Do you really believe that freedom of choice exists? India still has a caste system. Most of the Middle East treats women as inferiors and those who practice other religions as enemies. China regulates how many children couples can have, genocide abounds in South America and Africa, Malaysia has a booming underage sex trade, and the list goes on and on. All around the world the people in power abuse it and human rights are ignored. But what if we were incapable of hurting our fellow man? What if our core impulse was to help each other rather than control each other? The human race is destructive. This research could fix it. Purify it.” 1 likes
“When Wiley moved back to Safe Haven, flush with ill-gotten gains, he spared no expense building his dream house. And Wiley’s idea of a dream house was very close to Batman’s.” 1 likes
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