Knot of Fear, a Highly Recommended Psychological Thriller by Bryan Cassiday

The Bottom Line: This psychological thriller about organized crime in the metaverse is a smashing success. Highly recommended for both new and longtime Scott Brody fans.  

“Being married to the boss can have side effects,” says Ivy Kingston, whose husband owns a metaverse platform called Rabbit World. The “side effects” Ivy speaks of include getting violently assaulted and raped in the virtual world, where her role in the fledgling family business is selling real estate. Adding to her fear, she believes that the terrifying “avatars” who attacked her are also stalking her in the real world.

And how is that possible? Ivy’s husband doesn’t believe her, but there’s someone who just might: private investigator Scott Brody. 

The veteran PI is delightfully puzzled when he first hears Ivy’s unlikely story. In a reflection of real-life conversations happening in households across the globe, Ivy patiently explains how headsets and virtual reality work. Considering that Brody’s previous outings have seen him take down terrorists with national security implications at stake, the initial meeting between him and Ivy – in which he naively suggests that Ivy carry a virtual gun in Rabbit World – is a stroke of genius. 

Purportedly fearing bad publicity, Ivy’s husband doesn’t want her hiring a PI, much less going to the cops. And her friend Liz thinks she should see a psychiatrist (spoiler: she already had one). It’s up to Brody to save her, and the fact that he finds the entire case baffling makes it all the more likable. 

Meanwhile, Cassiday hatches a juicy subplot in which another organization is giving him the hard sell on putting casinos into Rabbit World. 

Nearly every chapter is a cliffhanger in the fifth installment of Bryan Cassiday’s Scott Brody series. Haven’t read the first four books yet? No matter. Newbies can easily dive right in and enjoy as a stand-alone. 

Cassiday’s trademark prose – stripped down, no frills – is in full effect in Knot of Fear. Cassiday’s reliance on crackling dialogue and rapidfire action makes for a fast, gritty read in which both the crimes and Brody’s real world tradecraft are truly innovative and inspired. And word to the wise, readers: brace yourselves for a mind blowing ending that you’ll never see coming.

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