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This was another one of those paperbacks I borrowed from a girl in middle school, around 1992 or so. The main character was a recently divorced woman moving into an apartment. I think that the ex had been abusive in some way and she'd obtained a restraining order. Initially, things go well for her. The neighbors are friendly, particularly a kind of geeky guy nearby her. But after a while, she starts receiving packages from a stalker who claims they're always watching her, someone keeps smashing in her windows with no trace of how, she's got a feeling of extreme dread and the presence of something otherworldly when she visits the laundry room, and she finds the stray kitten she adopted dead, with its eyes clawed out. I remember that she suspected her ex for a while, but something happened that proved to her that it could not have been him.

I do remember a decent amount of the ending:

It turns out that the geeky neighbor is the one stalking her. He'd devised some sort of sonic weapon, which he was using to try to make her scared enough to run to him. The shattered windows were the result of high frequencies and the feeling of an otherworldly presence was the result of subsonics. I want to say that he indicated that the kitten had been a mistake as he hadn't realized what it would do to a creature with more sensitive hearing.

Revision

I previously thought that this book involved receiving a record of Sting's "Every Breath You Take", but I've since learned that memory is from Orson Scott Card's Lost Boys.

It was a strange kind of love song. No matter what the woman did, the man would be there watching her. It didn't sound like he loved her, either. Or even liked her. It talked about her faking smiles, staking claims, breaking promises. And the rhyming was relentless. "Every cake you bake," she thought, and almost laughed. "Every child you wake. Every thirst you slake. Every duck and drake. Every well-done steak." Amazing the number of words in English that rhymed with take. The songwriter had barely scratched the surface. Then it didn't seem funny anymore. Because somebody had sent that record to them anonymously. Why would they do that? They wanted to send a message. And what was the message? That no matter what they did, somebody would be watching.

closed as off-topic by Adamant, Cherubel, TheLethalCarrot, Meat Trademark, Mat Cauthon Jul 25 at 9:51

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about science fiction or fantasy within the scope defined in the help center." – Adamant, Cherubel, TheLethalCarrot, Meat Trademark, Mat Cauthon
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Is this even actually science fiction? It sounds interesting, but a lot like real science. It is possible to shatter windows with sound, and infrasound really can cause psychological effects in some people. – Adamant Jul 25 at 4:52
  • @Adamant: The site includes fantasy, and by that covers supernatural horror movies, as well. Not sure whether there is already a decision on whether seemingly supernatural horror, which, in a "twist ending", turns out to have quite a mundane explanation, is in scope. – O. R. Mapper Jul 25 at 6:45
  • Exactly, there's nothing supernatural there. – Adamant Jul 25 at 6:49
  • @Adamant: Neither is there if all of the supernatural happenings in a work turn out to be a dream or a hallucination, yet works where that is the case are on-topic as per a meta question. – O. R. Mapper Jul 25 at 8:51
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    @O.R.Mapper - That's because even if the story is embedded in another narrative, it is clearly fantasy. But there's no embedded story here, just a creepy mystery a la Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys. – Adamant Jul 25 at 8:52
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Ok, I don't at all remember the ending to this book, but the beginning with the divorced woman and the cat dying seemed to ring a bell with me. Could it be Night Stalker? Alexandra Carlson is a divorced female artist who has just moved to a house in Reno, when suddenly anonymous phone calls start and her cat turns up dead.

  • That looks very likely. I'll have to find a copy to confirm it, but you have my upvote from the start. – FuzzyBoots Mar 16 '16 at 19:17
  • Out of curiosity, did you arrive at it via a search, or had you read it before? – FuzzyBoots Mar 17 '16 at 2:57
  • Bit of both. I found the title via search, but I was pretty sure that if I hadn't read the book you were describing (I don't remember the sonic thing), I remembered something very similar. I think I picked it up from a charity shop when I was a kid. – Lydia Mar 17 '16 at 21:32
  • Finished the book. I'm sorry, but it's not the right one. I may check out the other books she wrote, though. Apparently, most of them have very similar plots. – FuzzyBoots Mar 20 '16 at 2:48
  • Sorry I couldn't help. :-( – Lydia Mar 20 '16 at 16:11

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