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The day THE EXTREMIST's life fell apart was the day she started living. One night two years ago, as Judy Tanner and her husband, Jack, were leaving a Pacific Heights sushi bar, a man stepped out of the shadows, plunged a knife into Jack's abdomen and carved a deep X. A week after the funeral, Judy knew only one thing for certain: she had never truly known the man she had married. In a squalid studio apartment Jack had rented without her knowledge, Judy found hundreds of books and photographs describing a world she never dared dream existed - a world of sexual obsessions, of pleasure and pain, of leather and lacerations - depraved passions sanctioned by a secret organization called the Order. She found cassette tapes labeled 'The Diary of the Extremist,' about a man who tracked down sex criminals and, often as not, killed them. The voice on the tape was Jack's. Judy also found a costume. Once it may have belonged to the man she had called her husband, but within a year the costume belonged to Judy. And Judy belonged to the world of THE EXTREMIST.