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Mortal Fear Summary & Study Guide

Greg Iles
This Study Guide consists of approximately 54 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Mortal Fear.
This section contains 518 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Mortal Fear Summary & Study Guide Description

Mortal Fear Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Mortal Fear by Greg Iles.

Kali and the killer, who will eventually be identified as Edward Berkmann, are in a taxi in New Orleans. The opening is a letter written to his father, describing the trip across New Orleans, locating Karin Wheat and killing her. Thus begins the story of Edward Berkmann, a medical doctor who is known for his brilliance in neurosurgery but who is on a killing rampage. Berkmann is born to a brother-sister union, raised by his father, witnesses his father murder his step-mother and later travel the globe in search of an ancient tribe that worship the goddess of death. He is a hemophiliac who is cured after hiring doctors for a private liver transplant. He then comes across research that indicates that the pineal gland, if transplanted from a young donor to an elderly recipient, has the power to restore youthful appearance and activity. The only problem is, the procedure hasn't been tried on humans and development is far from human experimental stage. When he kills his seventh victim from an online sex chat forum called EROS, EROS systems operator Harper Cole reports his theory to the police - that someone is meeting women on EROS then killing them.

Harper, along with friend and co-worker Miles Turner, become the chief suspects in the case and they create an online person in an effort to draw out the killer. They select "Erin" as the name for this woman because Harper - who'll play the role of the woman online - plans to use details from the life of his sister-in-law Erin. They do catch the killer's attention only this time he's not interested in transplanting a pineal gland - he wants a woman to bear his children. By a twist of fate, Erin is in Harper's house when Berkmann tracks him down. Erin and Berkmann's "faithful concubine," Kali, kill each other. Berkmann is angry at having lost Erin but discovers that she was only a figment of someone's imagination after all. What he does find is his true dream woman - Drewe, wife of Harper and sister of Erin. In a fiery showdown, Berkmann puts in his appearance at the Cole home just hours after Erin's funeral, demanding that Drewe leave with him. Drewe and Harper eventually make a stand and Berkmann dies, the victim of a laser jet printer manipulated to be a bomb and the wrath of Erin's father, Bob Anderson.

While dealing with the demands of a brilliant physician who is murdering for his own gain, Harper is also faced with a personal crisis. He and Erin had an affair more than three years earlier and Erin has recently admitted that her daughter, Holly, is Harper's biological child. Harper wants to continue hiding the secret but Erin - facing marital problems of her own - wants to bring it out into the open. Just before her death, Erin demands that Harper tell Drewe and announces that she'd going to tell her own husband, Patrick. Erin is killed before the revelation can be made but Harper decides that he must tell Drewe anyway.

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This section contains 518 words
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