The clinic was empty, except for a staff of one, a young woman sitting on a tall stool behind the reception desk, reading on her phone. 

Graveyard shift. 

Boone heard the faint sounds of a second person out back, talking quietly on the phone. Attending physician. From the voice, a male. Young. Possibly talking with a girlfriend. 

He told the girl at the counter he had just arrived in Iceland and needed to fill a prescription, but the pharmacy had said he needed to talk with a doctor first. 

“Please, I’m in kinda a hurry.” He smiled an apology. “Wife back at the hotel, got the allergies somethin’ awful.” Handed her a piece of paper. 

She smiled as she took it, but her look turned doubtful as she glanced over the neatly hand-lettered specifications. “Just a moment,” she said. “Let me talk with our nurse practitioner.” 

Ah. Not a physician, then. 

While the young woman consulted with the male nurse through her desk phone intercom, Boone strolled around idly among the sparse shelves of braces, supports, heat/cold packs, and crutches. He noticed a display of canes and walking sticks and picked up one carved hardwood number that looked like it had character. Brazilian walnut, his best guess. One of the hardest woods on this fine planet. He found the handiwork impressive. 


Send a text to this number, Björn the waiter had said. He’ll text you back and meet you. Boone had followed his instructions, but the drug dealer had so far not returned his text. 


Boone might have to take some initiative there. 

Trouble himself to locate the man and stop by for a visit. 

Meanwhile, he could do right now right now right now with a skosh of sweet, sweet balance. Diphenhydramine hydrochloride: the antihistamine that put the “PM” in Tylenol PM. Trade name Benadryl—or as they called it in Iceland, Benalyn. 

Another option might have been Doxylamine, the sleep aid (Icelandic brand name: Unisom), but this was a weak choice. Boone had also seen guys in the Teams try to modulate the effects of Adderall with alcohol. This was a complete shit idea in Boone’s view: too difficult to calibrate. Besides, Boone didn’t care for alcohol. Too fucking sloppy.

‘Cold Fear’ Excerpt Preview: ‘The Cemetery’

Read Next: ‘Cold Fear’ Excerpt Preview: ‘The Cemetery’

No, until he could replenish his supply of ketamine, Benadryl would have to do. Available here over the counter, but only in liquid form, which was another shit idea. For tabs or caps, a fella needed a prescription. 

Hence this visit.


“Mister Lansdale?”


The male nurse was at the counter now, wanting a word with Boone.

The nurse apologized all over himself. Explained that he would need to have a doctor sign off on an order of this size. He spread his hands out in the universal sign of apologetic impotence. “I’m so sorry,” he said again.

Boone smiled. “It’s all good,” he said.

More’n one way to skin a possum.

He withdrew a pair of cloth booties from his pocket, like the ones worn by crime scene technicians. 

Never left home without them. 

Bent down and donned the booties, left first, then right. 

His boots properly protected, he straightened again and thanked the two for serving him, then said, “And now it’s me who gotta apologize.” 

They both looked puzzled. Apologize for what? 


He held up one index finger. 

Whether this meant Shush or Wait was impossible to tell, but to be on the safe side the young woman and young man did both. 

Boone cleared his throat. Closed his eyes. 

Began to hum, hearing the music in his head. 

Ravel’s Boléro

The softly tat-tat-tatting snare drum, barely audible. The cellos and violas, pizzicato pianissimo,  three-quarter time, like a waltz. And then, the single flute, its sinuous, hypnotic solo.

Boone drew in a slow inhale, then pushed out a slow exhale, one with the flute’s serpentine melody.

A slow inhale. And slow exha—

On the final third of the out-breath he erupted into motion. 

Spinning counterclockwise in a full circular arc, he came around and bashed the young nurse on the left side of his head with the walnut walking stick, crushing his skull. 

Blood and brain matter flew with tremendous velocity. 

Spattering the young woman’s face. 

She froze—but only for a split second. 

During that split second Boone absorbed the energy of the heavy hardwood object bouncing off the man’s skull and followed it, backwards and around, now executing a full spin in the opposite, clockwise direction, coming back to front and bashing the young woman on the right side of her skull, driving her into the collapsing nurse so that the two crashed together before sliding down into a mangled, ruined heap on the floor.


The flute continued. 

The snare drum rat-tat-tatted its delicate triplets. 

Boone closed his eyes, rolled his shoulders, cracked his neck. 

Took a deep breath. Let out a sigh.

First time since boarding the damn bus that morning that he’d felt like himself. 

He came behind the counter, making a wide berth around the inert pile of bone and tissue, and began rummaging through shelves for the product he wanted. 

Correction. Not the product he wanted

The one that would have to do for the moment. 

A 50-milligram dose would slow most people down. Boone thought he would go with 75.

Ah. There. 

He popped open the box and carefully tore open one packet. The hell with 75, make it 150. Two for the road. He would take a slow walk back. 

Give the Ravel time to finish. 

He slipped his supply into a coat pocket, then turned and looked at the inert figures on the floor. 

Stared at them for a long beat.

Ah, what the hell.

He crouched down between the two bodies, balancing on the balls of his feet so that nothing else touched the ground. Withdrew a clean plastic sandwich baggie from another pocket and set it balancing on one knee while he pulled a tool from yet a third pocket, the same one that held his penlight. Finally, he donned a pair of latex gloves.

Just one task to finish before he left. 

Wouldn’t take but two minutes. 

He bent down and pried open the young woman’s mouth . . .


Order your copy of “Cold Fear” today!

Order at least two copies of Cold Fear or Steel Fear (soon to be a streaming series) for the Holidays and receive a limited offer to have your gift recipients receive a personalized cameo style video emailed to them directly from the authors and there’s more.

Buy here now. 

You’ll also receive an exclusive live Zoom SNEAK PREVIEW where the authors will reveal glimpses into their next book, Blind Fear (spring/summer 2023 release).

Send proof of purchase and your gift recipients name and email to:  [email protected]


Brandon Webb is founder of SOFREP and the New York Times bestselling author of The Red Circle and Benghazi: The Definitive Report. A former U.S. Navy SEAL whose last assignment was Course Manager for the elite SEAL Sniper Course, he was instrumental in developing new curricula that trained some of the most accomplished snipers of the twenty-first century. Webb has received numerous distinguished service awards, including the Presidential Unit Citation and the Navy Commendation Medal with a “V” for “Valor,” for his platoon’s deployment to Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks.

John David Mann is coauthor of more than thirty books, including four New York Times bestsellers and five national bestsellers. His writing has won multiple awards and been featured in American ExecutiveFinancial TimesForbesLeadership ExcellenceHuffingtonWired, and CrimeReads. His bestselling classic The Go-Giver (with Bob Burg) has sold over 1 million copies and won the Living Now Book Awards Evergreen Medal for its “contributions to positive global change.”

John and Brandon have coauthored ten books together. Steel Fear, the debut novel in their Finn series, was nominated for a Barry Award and hailed by Jack Reacher author Lee Child as “an instant classic, maybe an instant legend.” Cold Fear is the second book in the series; the third, Blind Fear, comes out summer of 2023.

Visit Webb & Mann here.