It's really not the Halloween decorations or haunts that can send a shiver down your spine, but it's your mind and where it takes you that'll set up the scare.
In the early morning hours of Thursday October 24, 2013, Alan Miller is starting his day after a rough night of being ill. His mother noticed that he had been up and down all night and as he's getting ready for morning classes, he checks his email and sees one from Stacy Collins, a freelance journalist whom he hasn't spoken to in five years.
Alan debates whether or not to answer her but does so anyway.
They agree to meet later that night and after catching up they go back to her place where she's attacked once she enters her apartment. Alan manages to fight back a little and once the attacker leaves, Stacy tells him that she can't call the police and begins to tell him about the story that she's working on.
She's uncovered a prostitution ring in town and a real estate company is the front for it.
While she tells him everything that she's learned so far, he offers to help her out and they spend some time going over their strategy and he agrees to be a "client" looking for a house so that he can get into the office.
Stacy likes that idea, but she's started to think of them as a couple once more and doesn't know if he should go through a sexual experience with one of the girls.
After studying the website, Alan is able to piece together a couple of the addresses and manages to find one of the houses that's up for sale. He stakes out the house and follows two of the girls, but Stacy calls him and has him go to the community college where he's taking classes, because she saw the owner, Kristi Woodman, leave with an underage girl and they ended up at the school.
Alan meets her at the library, and they come up with another plan of action. The two are separated and Stacy follows the man and Vicky to a rundown house in Joliet. She hides in the bushes and watches as video equipment is brought into the house.
Following the taping, Stacy breaks into the house and is caught where she's held against her will and repeatedly attacked.
At school on Monday morning, Alan meets Amanda, one of the "girls" and he puts the pieces together that she works for Kristi and her retired ex-cop husband Sam. He gets a message from the real estate agency and is set up with a time to come into the office. With this, he sends Stacy a text but when she doesn't respond, he doesn't think much of it.
Stacy manages to break free of her captors and makes it back to her apartment and when Alan goes for his "meeting" it's with Amanda. Kristi makes them have sex in front of her because she doesn't believe Alan's story that the two of them know each other. He told Kristi that he had planned on meeting another girl and that she was the one who told him about the "business."
Back at Stacy's apartment, she's attacked again but manages to keep her attacker, Rusty, tied up and in the bathroom. She tells Alan about the attack over the weekend but doesn't tell him that one of her captors came after her.
At school, Alan and Amanda get to know each other a little better over coffee and their conversation is interrupted by one of Amanda's coworkers, Caroline. She tries to seduce Alan and Amanda tells her that they have to get to class.
They skip class and go to one of the houses that's for sale and have lunch. He tells her that a friend of his (Stacy) is thinking of becoming a prostitute and would she talk with her. Amanda says she will, and they set up a meeting for later that night.
She gets a call from Kristi about seeing a client who's into rough sex and to meet him at a different location. Amanda gives him the address where they can meet later.
Alan tells Stacy that he's managed to get an interview for her and when she's getting ready and having to fight with Rusty again, she's attacked and taken prisoner again. This time, the Woodman's are planning on selling her to the most ruthless pimp in Chicago.
Amanda is attacked at the location where she is supposed to be "selling the house" and manages to get in touch with Alan during the scuffle.
Since he doesn't know about Stacy, he takes Amanda back to his house and after she cleans herself up, she gets a call from Kristi demanding that she go to the house immediately.
Alan takes her back to the house so that she can pick up her stuff and car and once Amanda finds out about what he's doing for Stacy, she heads to the door of the house, but he sees a shadow inside. He coaxes her back to the car and tells her to drive and he manages to get out so that he can check out the situation.
On Halloween, Alan is thrilled about scaring the neighborhood kids and adults but as the night starts to wind down, he's stalked and following a shooting, he ends up in the hospital and checks himself out so that he can carry out his mission.
With so many twists and turns over six hundred pages this is just a small portion of what you're in for. Almost from the get-go, you're taken into the story and while six hundred pages may seem daunting, before you know it, you're at the end scratching your head because it happened so fast.
There is a lot of violence and twisted situations in the story, so this really isn't for everyone. However, the suspense is good and sometimes the story did drag, but before you know it, you're right back into it.
Each "chapter" is the day of the week, starting with Thursday October 24, 2013, and ending on Friday November 1, 2013, and there are multiple characters, but they're not too hard to follow.
I'm not sure if there will ever be another Alan Miller Thriller, but this book really is good and sets up the Halloween season pretty good.