Click here to read reviewer Marie D. Jones' take on Are You Afraid of the Dark?.
Around the world – New York, Berlin, Paris, Denver - men are being killed, and later their spouses/lovers are being eliminated systematically - all in such a way that the deaths appear as accidents or suicides, but never murder. The only common factor between these disparate individuals is that they were all brilliant, capable men employed by the Kingsley International Group, one of the world’s largest think-tanks.
Tanner Kingsley, the head of this respected institution, is passionate about preserving the environment, and his arguments are supported by the growing trend of unusually destructive weather plaguing the globe. Two of the murdered men’s wives, Diane Stevens and Kelly Harris, escape being killed and soon find themselves on the run from a killers who is proving to be omnipotent, one who knows their moves even before they do. How they keep eluding death time after time despite their mutual antipathy, even as bit by bit they piece together scattered clues to find a deadly secret to protect which the killer won’t stop at any cost, forms the crux of the story.
Sidney Sheldon has long been a master at crafting stories of mystery and suspense that capture readers’ imaginations and sweep them away into a world of intrigue and murder; so it is with Are You Afraid of the Dark?. The plot development is good and Sheldon smoothly advances the tale and tension from various viewpoints and locations. Unfortunately, halfway through the book, the whodunit part of the suspense is given away and this reduces the interest factor somewhat. One of the story’s highlights is the realistically depicted emotional turmoil in which the two central characters Diane and Kelly find themselves in, as they struggle to reconcile to the loss of their husbands even as they avoid being killed again and again; their continuing hostility toward each other gives the story an additional, unsuspected edge. Sheldon has done his research well, and without giving much away, suffice to say that the deadly secret hidden in the story is fast on its way to becoming a reality. That makes the story all the more authentic and scary. However, the story lacks overall punch, a thrill that had become the trademark of Sidney Sheldon novels. But, despite all its flaws, this book remains an interesting read.