First there were roses and the notes in her mailbox signed simply, "Admirer." Then, the accident. One minute Chris Callaway was one of Hollywood's brightest rising stars, starting a new picture that could send her career skyrocketing; the next, she was falling from the unfinished deck of her beautiful new Malibu beach house...waking up blind, uncertain whether she would ever see again.
An optimist and a fighter, Chris is determined not to let anyone know she can barely see. But neither Danny Devere, her hairdresser and confidant, nor Jon Larsen, the handsome young detective form LAPD's special stalker squad, can stop the notes that escalate into a chilling obsession. And as Stuart Woods's mesmerizing new page-turner races to its shocking climax, only a clever trap can stop the madman from stalking her--with beautiful Chris Callaway as the deadly bait.
The first letter arrived on a Monday." So begins the masterfully paced thriller from the author of Palindrome , Santa Fe Rules , etc. Young Hollywood actress Chris Callaway is poised at the brink of stardom when her world collapses. Shortly after she begins receiving disquieting letters signed "Admirer," she is nearly blinded in a fall at the construction site of her new Malibu home. As Admirer becomes a menacing stalker, sending gifts and a gruesome photo and calling on the phone, Chris is stoutly guarded by her best friend and confidant, hairdresser Danny Devere. Also on duty is Beverly Hills police detective and stalker expert Jon Larsen. The Admirer soon targets the threesome in escalating attacks that become grisly and, then, murderous. Meanwhile, Larsen races to investigate the sinister suspects that emerge from the cadre of subcontractors on the Malibu construction team. Woods's style is lean and staccato, if unsubtle, and he's a pro at turning up the suspense, which is increased here as romance blooms between the cop and the rising star. 100,000 first printing; major ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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September 30, 1994
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Excerpt from Dead Eyes by Stuart Woods
The first letter arrived on a Monday. Chris Callaway was annoyed when her secretary told her it had been in the mailbox. It was unstamped.
The tone was friendly, not too worshipful, not too familiar.
Dear Ms. Callaway,
Your work has given me such a lot of pleasure that I felt I had to write to you. Somehow I had missed your films until last week, when I saw Heart of Stone on late-night television. I was so impressed that I saw Valiant Days in Westwood the following night. I have since rented the videos of Mainline and Downer, and I was impressed with your very high standard of work in all of them.
Have you ever had the experience of meeting someone and feeling that you had known him for a long time? I have that feeling about you.
Thank you again for your fine work. You'll be hearing from me.
When Chris had bought this house, she had taken a lot of trouble to keep the address strictly private. All her bills went to her manager's office, and when she found it necessary to give an address, she used a box number. Her friends sent their Christmas cards to the box, damn it, she thought, and now some fan had found her. She handed the letter back to Melanie, her secretary. "Answer it cordially, and refer him to the box number."
"There's no return address," Melanie said, turning over the envelope.
Chris felt oddly frustrated at not being able to reply to the writer. Many of the actors she knew didn't answer their fan mail at all or referred it to a service for handling, but she had always replied to everything, and it amounted to twenty or thirty letters a month, jumping to a hundred after the release of a new film. Melanie wrote the replies, and Chris signed them.
"Then call the security patrol and ask them to keep a watch on my mailbox."
Melanie gave her the "you-can't-be-serious" look. "Chris, don't you think you're overreacting? It's a letter, not a bomb."
Chris laughed. "You're right." Jesus, she thought, why am I letting a little thing like this get to me?
Melanie glanced at her watch. "You're due at Graham Hong's in twenty minutes for your class, and Danny's doing your hair here at one."
"Right, I'd better get going." Chris grabbed her duffel and entered the garage through the study door. A moment later, she was driving down Stone Canyon, past the Bel-Air Hotel, toward Sunset in the Mercedes 500SL convertible. It amused her that in Bel-Air and Beverly Hills, there were so many of the flashy little cars that she could think of hers as anonymous.
Graham Hong turned out to be big for an Asian--over six feet and well-muscled, yet lithe. He taught in his home and it was nothing like a gym, more of a teahouse. Hong greeted Chris with a cup of tea and asked her to sit down.
"Have you ever had any martial arts training?" he asked. His voice was accentless California; no trace of anything Asian.
"None," she replied.
He beamed at her. "I'm so glad."
"Why?" she asked.
"Any dance experience?"
"I started as a dancer, in New York."
"Very good. Do you work out with a trainer?"
"No, I have a little gym at home. I'm in good shape."
"Good, then you will not tire easily."
"Graham," she said, "if I tired easily I wouldn't be an actress."
He laughed appreciatively.
"Why is dance training better than martial arts?"
"I've read the script," he said. "What we want for this picture is not anything ritualistic, but simply dirty fighting. Your dance experience will help greatly with your balance, and ultimately, it will make you more graceful." He stood. "If you've finished your tea, let's begin." He slid back a screen, revealing a good-sized room furnished only with a wall-to-wall mat and a canvas dummy. One wall was mirrored, with a ballet barre.
"First, some basics," Hong said. "Let's say that you find yourself in a fight--a fight with a man who is larger and heavier than you. How would you approach this fight?"
"I'd kick him in the crotch," Chris replied.
"Because I've been led to believe that would disable him."
"It might, if you caught him unawares. You might have more success kicking him in the shin, or better, the knee."
"Why there, instead of the crotch?"
"The idea is to inflict as much pain as possible with your first strike. It is the pain that is disabling. There is nothing in the testicles that is inherently disabling, except the pain caused when they are struck. If you are wearing hard shoes, you can inflict disabling--or at least, very distracting--pain in the shin. But if you kick in the knee, you can actually disable, even while barefoot or wearing soft shoes. The knee is a complex and vulnerable structure."
"Very interesting," Chris said.