Ben Anderson goes to bed Sunday night, lying next to his wife in the comfort and safety of their Pennsylvania family home, to wake up the next day in a rundown motel in California — alone.
He doesn’t know how he got there, he doesn’t know where his family is, and written in dried blood on the bathroom door are the words LET THE GAME BEGIN.
Soon Ben is contacted by Simon. Simon knows all there is to know about Ben, more than he cares to remember himself. If Ben wants to save himself and his family, he will have to do everything Simon says.
As the game begins — with stakes much higher than either man can imagine — no one knows where it will lead or how it will end. Only one thing is for certain: this time the game will change everything.
Praise for Man of Wax:
“Man of Wax grabs you by the throat in the first chapter and never lets go. A suspense-filled thrill ride with plenty of shocks along the way. Read it!” —F. Paul Wilson, author of the Repairman Jack Novels
“One of the best 'scary' stories I have read this year ... great job, I loved it.” —The Parents Little Black Book of Books
“The action gets pumped up through the roof.” —Pajiba
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Read An Excerpt From Man of Wax
That morning—the first day the game officially started—the ringing of a phone woke me.
It was a distant, unfamiliar noise that dipped its hand into the dark I’d been floating in and abruptly yanked me out. First I opened my eyes. Then I started to sit up but stopped. My head pounded. It was like a bad hangover only different, making me feel groggy, even shaky.
I waited a few seconds and then slowly sat up, swung my feet off the bed, and reached for the phone on the bedside table.
“Yes, hello,” said the exasperated voice on the other end. “This is your nine o’clock wake-up call.”
“My wake-up call,” I said, almost a question, but the person on the other end had already hung up.
It was then that I realized something was wrong. Normally I sleep on the right side of the bed, Jen on the left side, and here I was now sitting on the left side of the bed holding a phone that shouldn’t be there. After all, we had no phone in our bedroom.
I blinked and quickly stood up.
This wasn’t my bedroom. This wasn’t even my house.
What the hell?
I was in some kind of motel room. This much was evident by the bed I had just been lying on, completely naked except for my boxers. The air conditioner must have been on high because I was cold, nearly freezing—a fact that came a few seconds later, as I was beginning to catch my bearings. Across from the bed was an old TV, sitting on a four-drawer wooden dresser. The curtains were slightly open, letting in some sunlight. In front of the curtains was a wooden table with an opened bible on top. Beside the bible was a pair of jeans, a plain black T-shirt, white socks, and a black leather belt. Underneath the table on the carpet was a pair of sneakers.
“Hello?” I called out. “Jen? Casey?”
I realized I was still holding the phone. I placed it back down on the cradle, feeling a little more awake now but even more confused. Beside the phone was an alarm clock, its digital numbers glowing red. Without my glasses I had to squint to see that it read 9:05.
I took a step forward and leaned over the table and pushed the curtains aside. I squinted through the window at the parking lot beyond. Stepping back, I glanced down at the bible, noticed that its crusty pages had been opened to the Book of Job.
“Hello?” I called again.
Still no answer. The only noise was the air conditioner blowing cold air from the rear of the room, right beside what had to be the bathroom. That door was closed. If my wife or daughter were anywhere, I thought, that was where they would be.
I started that way, my bare feet digging into the carpet. I hesitated outside the bathroom door, considered knocking, but then just turned the knob and opened the door.
I reached in, found the light switch, flicked it on.
There were fluorescents in the ceiling which blinded me, causing me to squint even more and shield my eyes with my hand. I took another step forward, leaving the coolness of the carpet for even colder tiles. The bathroom smelled strongly of chlorine. It was small and compact, with only a toilet, tub and shower, a narrow mirror and sink.
And on the sink was a pair of glasses. I grabbed them and put them on. They weren’t my glasses, not by a far stretch—they were too heavy, the frames thick, and they pinched around the nose—but they were my prescription. At least now I could see fine, I had that going for me, and even though I knew nobody was behind the shower curtain, I still pulled it aside to find only mildew spotting the tiles and drain.
That was when I turned and saw what was on the back of the door. Something skipped in my chest. In crude long letters that seemed to run because of the paint, someone had written:
LET THE GAME BEGIN
I stared at it for a long time. The fluorescents above me buzzed quietly. My heart pounded in my head. I knew what the letters had been written in—some internal voice kept whispering it—but still I walked forward, slowly, until my face was only inches away. I reached out and hesitantly touched one of the letters before snatching my hand back.
Just as I’d thought.