ARE YOU AFRAID OF DARK ? Prologue: In Berlin, Germany, Sonja Verbrugge receives an alarming instant message from her husband, Franz. He tells her to flee the house and go to the Artesemia Hotel, a hotel for women only. The message ends abruptly without explanation and the terrified Sonja heads for the Artesemia as Franz had instructed.

At a street corner in mid-flight, she is pushed into the street. As if on cue, a double-parked limo leaves its space and heads right for her, knocking her to the ground. A passing ambulance stops for her and as she is strapped onto a gurney, the attendant calls Sonja by name.Before she can react, a hypodermic needle slides into her arm. In Paris, France, Mark Harris waits on the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower. Within two years young Kelly rises to the top of the modeling profession.

In addition to her looks, she possesses an air of untouchability, which attracts men. She returns to Philadelphia to visit her mother, who thanks her for the money she sends every month. Her stepfather, however, makes it clear that Kelly is no longer welcome in their home. Before she leaves town, Kelly visits Mrs. Houston at the library and thanks her for changing her life.Kelly returns to Paris, where she meets a man named Mark Harris.

Mark, like many men, approaches Kelly with the hopes of getting to know her. Kelly is put off by him at first, but Mark is persistent, sending her flowers and gifts and finally, a beautiful dog named Angel. Kelly and Diane sit in a coffee shop across the street from KIG. Diane tries to explain that she and Kelly have the same problem and may be able to help one another.

Kelly is still reeling from Tanner's insinuations about her dead husband and a woman named Olga and does not really wish to know what Diane might have to say about her husband.When Kelly sees Diane's face on the coffee shop's television and hears her televised image describe the details of Altieri's homicide for the cameras and courtroom, her eyes widen in fear. The not guilty verdict is announced and Anthony Altieri answers the reporters' questions. He indicates that he plans to retire and "clean up a few old debts. " Kelly knocks over her.


As Harry Flint waits for the women in the penthouse suite, he recalls office functions previously held there. Three times a year KIG hosts "board meetings" in the suite, which are actually orgies with eautiful prostitutes supplied by Tanner's money. Flint gets turned on thinking about the orgies and plans to take out his lust on Kelly and Diane when they arrive. Unaware she is walking into a trap, Diane exits the elevator and walks down the hall towards the penthouse. She is momentarily delayed by a bellboy who is blocking the hallway with his luggage cart. In that moment, Kelly gets off the elevator and sees Diane in the hall.

They quickly realize that neither of them set up this meeting. They stare at the door to the penthouse...Now that Kelly and Diane know who their husbands intended to visit in Washington, they decide to visit Senator Van Luven themselves. They call her office from a pay phone repeatedly, until the receptionist finally agrees to give the senator a message.

They wait for two hours at the pay phone before it rings. Senator Van Luven is on the line, sounding irritated. Diane quickly identifies herself and explains that her husband and Mark Harris were murdered to prevent them from seeing the senator. The senator recalls seeing their names in her appointment book.

Someone had called her office and cancelled the men's visit; afterward she learned they had both died. Diane has Senator Van Luven's attention now. Van Luven instructs them to take the next red-eye to New York...

. CHARACTERS Diane Stevens Diane Stevens is a sensitive, artistic soul who has achieved both personal and professional happiness. An acclaimed artist on the New York scene, her still-young marriage to Richard Stevens provides her with a thoughtful, caring soul mate and, she expects, a long and happy future together.Trouble first arrives in her life when she accidentally witnesses a brutal mafia murder.

With her husband's encouragement, Diane bravely does the right thing and testifies against the mafia. Thus she blames herself when she receives the news of Richard's death, thinking that the mafia killed him in retribution for her testimony. A highly spiritual individual, Diane begs her departed husband's spirit for forgiveness and then immerses herself in the grieving process. Wanting nothing more than to fade away from society and lick her emotional wounds, Diane is brought.

....SUMMARY: Are You Afraid of the Dark? is an action-filled thriller which takes the reader on a tour of the playgrounds of the rich and famous.

Tanner Kingsley takes white-collar crime to new heights by using his billion-dollar think tank corporation to create a machine for himself, which can control the weather. Prima is actually the brainchild of Tanner's older brother, Andrew Kingsley, who heads up the Kingsley Group think tank. Andrew initially creates Prima in the hopes of addressing the environmental problem of global warming.Andrew's brother, Tanner, is not as concerned with solving the world's problems as his older brother.

Instead, Tanner dreams of turning the philanthropic Kingsley Group into a supercharged think tank devoted to earning profit and power. He is a megalomaniac of the highest order, who intends to hold the world hostage once he has perfected the Prima project. First, he needs to get his brother Andrew out of the way. Tanner secretly sabotages a dangerous experiment with which Andrew is involved and Andrew's resulting exposure to toxic gases leaves him severely brain-damaged.Now Tanner is free to explore his power-hungry goals as the sole head of the think tank, which he renames Kingsley International Group, or KIG. Unfortunately for Tanner, four of the scientists under his employ at KIG manage to figure out what Prima can do, despite his best efforts to keep them in the dark.

When the scientists learn that Tanner does not intend to give Prima to the government, they realize that he intends to use it for more sinister purposes. The scientists plan a rendezvous in Washington, D. C. here they intend to reveal Prima's existence and purpose to Senator Van Luven, a member of the Senate Select Committee on the Environment.

Before they can meet with the senator, all four men are killed. Tanner doesn't stop there; he goes after the men's families as well, just in case the scientists talked to their loved ones about Prima. Sonja Verbrugge is killed in Berlin, Germany. Her husband had worked for KIG Berlin and was one of the four men scheduled to meet with Senator Van Luven in Washington.

Lois Reynolds is attacked in Denver, Colorado, just a few miles from where her brother Gary's airplane mysteriously crashes.The other two scientists killed by Tanner are Richard Stevens and Mark Harris. Their unsuspecting wives, Diane and Kelly, are about to become Tanner's next targets. Both women have barely recovered from the initial shock of the news of their husbands' deaths when Tanner goes after them. The unsuspecting women should make easy targets for the practiced assassins who Tanner hires.

However, time after time, the assassins miss their targets. With a combination of ingenuity and luck, the women escape several death traps and together resolve to learn the secret that got their husbands killed.Diane Stevens and Kelly Harris are unlikely heroines for an action thriller. Diane is a sensitive artist and Kelly is a glamorous supermodel.

The women may be inexperienced investigators, but with their beloved husbands' deaths as motivation, they quickly pick up Tanner's trail. Kelly and Diane learn about the other related deaths and escape the country to visit the scenes of the crimes. They travel to Berlin, Germany, where Sonja Verbrugge was killed and Paris, France, where Kelly's husband Mark met his untimely death.They are hampered at every turn by Tanner's thugs, Greg Holliday, Vince Carballo and the exceedingly bloodthirsty Harry Flint. Unable to learn anything in Europe, the two heroines return to the United States, where they visit the site of Gary Reynolds's plane "accident. " They discover that Gary's sister Lois is still alive after escaping a firebomb and from Lois the ladies finally learn about the existence of Prima.

Intending to finish what their husbands started, the two women make an appointment with Senator Van Luven. They plan to disclose to her the details about the Prima project.Unfortunately, the women don't realize they are walking into the same trap Tanner had so effectively set for their spouses. Senator Van Luven turns out to be Tanner's co-conspirator and his girlfriend. In a showdown at the senator's home, Tanner sets his goon, Harry Flint, on the trapped women. Kelly and Diane manage to elude Flint's clutches and the women go straight to the press with details about Prima.

This forces Tanner to destroy his prized weather machine, but he has one more surprise in store for Kelly and Diane. He has secretly built a second Prima in the French Polynesian islands.Tanner and Senator Van Luven escape on Tanner's private jet, leaving Prima I set to self-destruct. They intend to hold the world hostage with the power of Prima II. Tanner makes the critical mistake of underestimating his brain-damaged brother Andrew, however. Tanner leaves Andrew behind to die in the Prima explosion.

Andrew, even with his mental disability, realizes his brother has become an evil man. As his final act, Andrew sets Prima to destroy the KIG jet with Tanner and Van Luven inside. With Tanner Kingsley dead, his vast conspiracy collapses.Kelly and Diane have survived their ordeal and set about reclaiming the pieces of their lives.

Point of View The point of view in Are You Afraid of the Dark? takes the form of third person narration. This third person narrative is also omniscient, but only to a certain degree. In order to maintain the suspense, author Sidney Sheldon must withhold certain facts from his otherwise omniscient narration. However, the narrator is easily able to see inside the minds of every character, from major to minor and reveals as much of their thoughts as appropriate.In this way the reader is able to learn about Diane Stevens's and Kelly Harris's relationships to their husbands.

The men die at the very outset of the novel, thus it is only through the recollections of the female protagonists that the reader is able to get a sense of the dead men's characters. Interestingly, this semi-omniscient narrative...

.. Conspiracy A big-brother style conspiracy is at the heart of this action-suspense novel by noted author, Sidney Sheldon. Sheldon, like other conspiracy writers, plays on the natural fear all human beings have of the unknown.Conspiracies seem more frightening to many people than open hostility because it is difficult, if not impossible, to defend oneself against an unknown enemy. The most chilling parts of any conspiracy stories are the moments in which the conspiracy can actually be seen.

These fleeting glimpses of a powerful enemy can be more frightening, psychologically, than confronting a powerful enemy face to face. For Kelly this moment first arrives in her hotel room. When an unseen man lies to her to gain entrance into her suite, she is terrified. Although she does not yet know the scope of the plot against her,.....