Chuck Palahniuk returns with the chilling tale, in classic Palahniuk tradition, of a father in search of his daughter, a young woman with a secret, and a malicious recording that can make "the whole world scream at the exact same time."
Private detective Foster Gates is a father is in search of his missing daughter, and sound engineer Mitzi harbors a secret that may help him solve the case. It's Mitzi's job to create the dubbed screams used in horror films and action movies. She's the best at what she does.
But what no one in Hollywood knows is the screams Mitzi produces are harvested from the real, horror-filled, blood-chilling screams of people in their death throes--a technique first employed by Mitzi's father and one she continues on in his memory--a deeply conflicted serial killer compelled beyond her understanding to honor her father's chilling legacy.
Soon Foster finds himself on Mitzi's trail. And in pursuit of her dark art, Mitzi realizes she's created the perfect scream, one that compels anyone who hears it to mirror the sound as long as they listen to it--a highly contagious seismic event with the potential to bring the country to its knees.
Palahniuk (Fight Club) puts a wickedly playful spin on the mechanics of horror filmmaking in this genre-bending novel. Mitzi Ives is the proprietor of Ives Foley Arts, a sound effects company that specializes in selling canned screams to the film industry. Mitzi's products are in high demand owing to their authenticity: unknown to most, she creates them by recording the agonized shrieks of the people she butchers in her sound studio. Mitzi is on a collision course with Gates Foster, a bereaved father who has never recovered from the disappearance of his seven-year-old daughter, Lucinda, who went missing 17 years earlier. Readers will be able to guess Lucinda's connection to Mitzi, though Palahniuk adds enough twists to keep the mystery fresh. This dark, humorous tale sparkles with inventive details including a scream powerful enough to crumble buildings and provocative insights on "the commodification of pain" and what it means to turn "people's basic humanity into something that could be bought and sold." The result is a wry, devilish delight.