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Sidney Sheldon's thriller Are You Afraid of the Dark features Tanner Kingsley whose ruthlessness and greed drive him to murder.
Tanner's older brother, Andrew Kingsley, after developing Prima, a machine that can manipulate the weather, founded the Kingsley Group, a large think tank brought together to solve the problem of global warming. However, Tanner sees how Prima can also be used to create a multi-billion-dollar fortune. Knowing Andrew will never go for the idea of corruptly using Prima to amass a fortune, Tanner knows his first move is to take over the think tank by getting rid of Andrew. To do so, Tanner intentionally corrupts an experiment Andrew is working on, exposing Andrew to toxins that severely damage his brain. With Andrew no longer able to run the think tank, Tanner is able to easily take over, renaming it the Kingsley International Group (KIG).
Tanner's new problem becomes the fact that, though Tanner tries to keep the abilities of Prima a secret from the new scientists hired for KIG, the brilliant scientists of course figure it out. They also realize that Tanner is planning to use Prima for corrupt, private means rather than governmental means. The scientists decide to jointly approach Senator Van Luven in D.C., who is on the Senate Select Committee on the Environment, and reveal both the nature of Prima and Tanner's plans. However, Tanner of course learns of the scientists' plans and arranges for their murders.
Scientist Franz Verbrugge is murdered in Berlin; Mark Harris is murdered in Paris; Gary Reynolds is murdered in Denver, Colorado; and Richard Stevens is murdered in Manhattan. Not only that, their families are eliminated as well. The only two remaining are artist Diane Stevens, wife of the late Richard Stevens, and supermodel Kelly Harris, wife of the late Mark Harris. Together, these two women go on a run for their lives, escaping the hired assassins multiple times in both Berlin and Paris. Their own investigation into their husbands' murders leads them to the US, where they find Lois Reynolds, sister of Gary Reynolds, still alive. Lois informs them about Prima, and together, all three decide to carry on the mission to report Prima to Senator Van Luven.
However, Senator Van Luven is actually a trap set by Tannner, as she is his girlfriend and on his side. When the three women approach the senator, they find themselves face to face with a hired assassin but manage to escape and report Prima to the press, forcing Tanner to set the machine on self-destruct, happy he has a second Prima hidden away that he can use to control the world. His intention is to explode the first Prima in the KIG plant along with his still living brother Andrew. But even suffering from brain damage, Andrew is able to understand what Tanner is up to and use the first Prima to destroy the KIG jet Tanner and the senator are using to get away, putting an end to Tanner and his evil plans.
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