The Mysterious Press
The Mysterious Press
The Mysterious Press

Red 1-2-3

by John Katzenbach

“No one portrays the mind of a sociopathic killer better than John Katzenbach, in superb form with this psychological thriller, a vivid cat-and-mice game in which the mice strive to outwit the cat.” —William Bayer, Edgar Award–winning author of Peregrine and Switch

  • Imprint The Mysterious Press
  • Page Count 384
  • Publication Date January 13, 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2298-8
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $16.00

About The Book

Three ordinary women with nothing in common. They are different ages, come from different backgrounds, and lead drastically different lives. The only thing that binds them together is their red hair—and that each of them has been targeted for murder. When these women receive chilling letters in the mail from a killer known only as the Big Bad Wolf, their lives are upended. The “reds” spend every waking moment in fear as the Wolf stalks them, biding his time, searching for the perfect opportunity to complete his master plan. But the one thing this devious killer didn’t count on was the Reds discovering each other. These three women, using clues left by the Wolf, band together to protect one another from their deadly predator. And when law enforcement refuses to pay them any attention, the Reds’ only hope for survival is to turn the tables and beat the Wolf at his own game.

In this riveting novel, filled with suspense that only a master like John Katzenbach could write, the Reds must track down the Wolf before he silences them all forever.


“In the familiar cautionary tale about the little girl and the big bad wolf, the child wears a red hood. In Katzenbach’s skillful contemporary version, red hair attracts the predator, who targets not one but three vulnerable females. . . . This is a page-turner from the get-go and must reading for thriller fans.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Katzenbach creates a convincing triad of sympathetic women who grow through their harrowing trials.” —Publishers Weekly

“Katzenbach has a diabolical talent for working changes on this basic plot. . . . The whole deal gets more delicious when the Big Bad Wolf’s wife enters the picture. Katzenbach keeps on delivering this kind of wily stuff all the way to the book’s remarkably unmessy climax.” —Toronto Star

“[Katzenbach’s] novels are reliably smart and intriguing, featuring characters who are off-kilter in various ways . . . presented in a cinematic narrative that yanks the reader in from the first page. . . . This is indeed an edge-of-your-seat thriller, in many ways one of Katzenbach’s best works to date.” —Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter

“A first-rate thriller.” —Huntington News

“[RED 1-2-3] gives us a long look into the mind of a killer. . . . Katzenbach is an excellent writer and adds vivid details to really bring his characters to life.” —Reviewing the Evidence

“A chilling retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.” —Hilton Head Island Packet

“John Katzenbach is a master of terror. . . . The novel draws the reader in and moves along quickly, giving the reader reasons to cheer for the women to defeat the killer. . . . Recommended for mystery readers.” —Sandie Kirkland, Curled Up With a Good Book


The opening lines were delivered without salutation or introduction: “One bright, fine day Little Red Riding Hood decided to take a basket of delicious goodies to her beloved grandmother, who lived on the far side of the deep, dark woods . . .” You undoubtedly first heard the story years ago when you were small children. But you were probably told the sanitized version: the grandmother hides in her closet and Little Red Riding Hood is saved from becoming the Big Bad Wolf ‘s next meal by the brave woodsman with his sharp axe. In that retelling everything ends happily ever after. In the original, there is a far different and much darker outcome. It would be wise for you to keep that in mind over the next few weeks. You do not know me, but I know you. There are three of you. I have decided to call you:

Red One.

Red Two.

Red Three.

I know each of you is lost in the woods.

And just like the little girl in the fairy tale, you have been selected to die.