“Then a letter for Pender arrives at FBI headquarters. Dorie Bell is afraid. Last year she attended a phobia disorders convention in Las Vegas. Since then three attendees have died in strange circumstances… Carl Polander had acrophobia. Fear of heights. So why would he have jumped from the nineteenth floor of a building?... Mara Agajanian had haemophobia. Fear of blood. So how could she have cut her own wrists in the bathtub?... Kimberley Rosen had pnigophobia. Fear of suffocation. She was fished out of a canal – but there as no water in her lungs.Dorie herself suffers from prosoponophobia. Fear of masks. She suspects there may be a twisted killer on the loose. Someone who preys on people’s worst phobias. Someone who, quite literally, enjoys scaring his vitims to death.”
And a soft but nice paragraph:
“Then Dorie remembered something else, a parable her father once told her when she handy sold a painting in a year and was thinking about giving up and taking a straight job. It was about a man sentenced to death who promised the king that if his life was spared, within a year he would teach the king’s favourite horse to talk. His friends told him he was crazy, that he’d set himself an impossible task. But a year is a long time, he told them. A lot of things can happen in a year. The king could die. The horse could die. Or maybe – who knows? – maybe the horse will actually learn to talk."