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  • State of Mind
  • Written by John Katzenbach
  • Format: Paperback | ISBN: 9780345422538
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State of Mind

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thriller (8) suspense (7) mystery (7) fiction (6)
thriller (8) suspense (7) mystery (7) fiction (6)


Twenty-five years ago, Jeffrey and Susan Clayton fled their tyrannical father--a man who was later suspected in the heinous murder of a young student. Though the father was never charged, he committed suicide. Or so it seemed. For someone has sent Susan a cryptic note. Once deciphered, it carries a terrifying message: I have found you.

Meanwhile, a serial killer has invaded a tightly controlled community. Is Jeffrey Clayton's father the source of this latest killing spree? The authorities think so--and they present Jeffrey, now a noted expert on serial killers, with a challenge: Find the butcher responsible for the newborn spate of carnage. Find your father. . . .


Again she looked at the note...

"Does it frighten you, Mother?"

"Yes," she replied.

"Why?" the daughter asked. "I don't know why, but it does me, too. But there's no threat. There's nothing even to suggest that it isn't someone just eager to play some intellectual game. That's happened before."

"The first note said what?"

"I have found you."

Diana felt a dark hole sucking away within her, like some great whirlpool threatening to swallow her whole. She fought this sensation off, told herself there was no evidence of anything yet. She reminded herself that for more than twenty-five years she had lived quietly, without being found; that the person she'd hidden herself and her children from was dead.

And so, in a swift and probably inadequate assessment of the events that had overtaken her daughter and her, Diana decided that the notes were probably precisely what they appeared to be: the slightly twisted pleadings of one of her daughter's many fans. This, in and of itself, could be dangerous enough. And so she did not mention any other fear, believing that the current fear was enough for the two of them, and that some hidden, more ancient fear was better left in the past. And dead. Dead. A suicide, she reminded herself. He set you free when he killed himself.

"We should call your brother," she said.


"Because he has many connections in law enforcement. Maybe someone he knows could analyze this letter. Fingerprint it. Test it. Tell us something about it."

"I think that whoever's sending it has probably thought of those things. And anyway, he hasn't broken any law. At least, not yet. I think we should wait until I figure the whole note out. Shouldn't take too long."

"Well," Diana said quietly, "we do know one thing."

"What's that?" the daughter asked.

The mother stared at the daughter, as if Susan were incapable of seeing something directly in front of her.

"Well, he put the first note in the mailbox. And you found this one where?"

"At the front door."

"Well, that tells us he's coming closer, doesn't it?"

From the Hardcover edition.
John Katzenbach

About John Katzenbach

John Katzenbach - State of Mind
John Katzenbach is the New York Times bestselling author of nine previous novels: the Edgar Award—nominated In the Heat of the Summer, which was adapted for the screen as The Mean Season; The Traveler; Day of Reckoning; Just Cause, which was also made into a movie; The Shadow Man (another Edgar nominee); State of Mind; Hart’s War, which was also a major motion picture; The Analyst; and The Madman’s Tale. Katzenbach has been a criminal court reporter for The Miami Herald and Miami News and a featured writer for the Herald’s Tropic magazine. He lives in western Massachusetts.


“Relentlessly chilling.”
USA Today

Chicago Tribune

The Orlando Sentinel


“CREEPY . . . COMPELLING . . . You may as well just lock the doors and burrow under the covers. What is so scary is that Katzenbach creates a fictional world that is very much like the one we live in now, only taken to a horrifying extreme. . . . We don’t want to give away too much here, but suffice it to say that the characters are compelling, the plot scary enough to keep you pinned to your beach blanket, and the overall experience very satisfying.”
—USA Today

“A well written, well-plotted thriller. . . . Katzenbach is very good at world-building, and his imaginary Western Territory is frighteningly believable.”
—The Washington Post Book World

“A superb thriller in which the power of the intelligent criminal mind rules violence in the cleverest and most malevolent way imaginable. In its dystopian vision of the American future, the novel also possesses eerie possibilities.”
—Houston Chronicle

“GRIPPING . . . With STATE OF MIND, Katzenbach delivers suspense and a wildly imaginative story.”
—Journal Inquirer (Manchester, CT)

“Katzenbach has written the best kind of psychological thriller, where the twists and turns take you where you expected to be, even though you voluntarily lost yourself a hundred times along the way.”
—The Dayton Daily News

“Katzenbach creates some clever puzzles and capably portrays an America consumed by rage and chaos.”
—Publishers Weekly

“CHILLING. . . . Katzenbach has created the killer we most fear—malevolent, brilliant, and unrepentant. . . . A novel that will engross the reader from the first page. From the killer’s . . . first message to the shocking conclusion, the reader will feel the same dread and inevitability that tortures the Claytons.”
—Washington Observer-Reporter (PA)

“Katzenbach’s novels stick with you. . . . [He] has created crafty killers before, but he’s never imagined such a thought-provoking environment. . . . Katzenbach reels us into the story. By the final confrontations, we’re hooked.”
—Staten Island Register (NY)

—Kirkus Reviews

  • State of Mind by John Katzenbach
  • March 28, 1998
  • Fiction - Suspense
  • Ballantine Books
  • $7.99
  • 9780345422538

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