Happy 53rd birthday, Doctor. Welcome to the first day of your death.
When a mysterious letter bearing these threatening words is delivered to Dr. Frederick Starks, his predictable life is thrown into chaos. Suddenly, the psychoanalyst is plunged into a horrific game designed by a man who calls himself Rumplestiltskin. The rules: in two weeks Starks must guess Rumplestiltskin’s identity and the source of his fury. If he succeeds, he goes free. If he fails, one by one, Rumplestiltskin will destroy fifty-two of Dr. Starks’ loved ones–friends, relatives, children–unless the good doctor agrees to kill himself.
You ruined my life. And now I fully intend to ruin yours.
Ignoring the threat is not an option. When one of his patients dies under the wheels of a subway train and a detective investigating the case is struck by a hit-and-run driver, Starks knows his tormentor means business. And then there are the messengers sent to guide Starks on his descent, from the seductive woman in a trench coat who calls herself Virgil to a lawyer named Merlin weaving a spell of havoc and lies. His bank account rifled, his credit ruined, and his reputation dragged through the mud, Starks must rouse himself from the cocoon of his life, unlock the secret of Rumplestiltskin, and find a way to stop the madman–before he himself is driven mad.
One thing of which you can be absolutely certain: My anger knows no limits.
A mesmerizing thriller that gives a wicked new twist to the doctor-patient relationship, The Analyst’s Last Days weaves a blistering race against time with a tale of identities shattered and chosen, disguises taken and discarded. With his trademark style, breathless plots, and brilliantly realized characters, John Katzenbach proves once again why both critics and fans alike have crowned him the master of suspense.
A tinted review in adult Forecasts indicates a book that's of exceptional importance to our readers, but that hasn't received a starred or boxed review.THE ANALYSTJohn Katzenbach. Ballantine, $25 (576p) A note left in the waiting room of New York City analyst Dr. Ricky Starks reads, "You ruined my life. And now I fully intend to ruin yours." Katzenbach has previously used the cryptic note as a plot-launching device. From such familiar ground, however, springs one of his strongest outings, a tale of psychological torment and investigative cunning. The note, signed "Rumplestiltskin," goes on to challenge Starks to discover the identity of the letter writer. If Starks can't do it in 15 days, he must either commit suicide or members of his family will start dying. As Starks scrambles to meet the challenge, his life goes into total meltdown. A police detective who promises to help him gets killed by a hit-and-run driver; Starks's savings disappears through mysterious electronic transfers; his apartment is destroyed by a burst water pipe; and his trusted mentor inexplicably turns his back on him. Equally frustrating, Rumplestiltskin seems able to anticipate Starks's every move. Starks, communicating with his tormentor through newspaper personals, comes close to snapping, but steels himself to fake his own death and go deep underground. He vows to leave behind the predictable patterns of his old life, develop a new identity and track down Rumplestiltskin. Katzenbach's narrative touch, nimble and edgy up to this point, only gets sharper as Starks grinds his way toward a gritty finale on Cape Cod. The two-time Edgar nominee (The Shadow Man; In the Heat of the Summer) has potently chronicled a long journey of revenge and redemption. Some of his psychological plot points particularly the reason for Rumplestiltskin's hatred are a stretch, but the novel's fine sense of pacing, sudden switchbacks and chilling characterizations far overshadow its minor faults. 5-city author tour; optioned to Phoenix Pictures.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This was overall a good thriller. Kept me interested the whole way through. The only downside was the overly extensive use of the words "macadam" and "sortie."
One of my favorite authors of all time. Genius plot. And amazing mix between psychology and thriller. I read it in one week! Highly recommended.
I really loved this book !