My life in outer space

A Man Obsessed – Alan E Nourse (1955)

A Man Obsessed


Jeffrey Meyer had a killing on his mind. It meant nothing to him that his towering Twenty-first Century world was going mad. He shouldered aside the rising tide of narcotics-mania, the gambling fever, the insatiable lust for the irrational. Jeff had his own all-consuming obsession—Paul Conroe must die!

After a five-year frenzied chase, Jeff had his victim cornered; he’d driven him into the last hideaway of the world’s most desperate men—the sealed vaults of the human-vivisectionists. And Jeff knew that to reach his final horrible objective, he must offer himself also as a guinea pig for the secret experiments of the world’s most feared physicians!

Alan E. Nourse’s new novel A MAN OBSESSED has the impact of Orwell’s 1984 and the imaginative vigor of Huxley’s Brave New World.

Blurb from the 1955 D-96 Ace Doubles Paperback edition.

Jeff thinks he has set the perfect trap for Conroe, the man who murdered his father, in a bar where his mistress is performing. When Conroe arrives the mistress, in the midst of an erotic display, has a spotlight thrown on Jeff. Conroe sees him and escapes. Jeff’s hired team cordoning off the area can find no trace of him. The only place he could have gone to would be a feared vivisection institute.
Jeff, desperate to track him down, signs himself into the institute, where big money can be earned by those willing to subject themselves to fiendish and dangerous medical experiments.
Some way into the narrative, Jeff discovers that both he and his room-mate at the institute, Blackie (who bears a suspicious resemblance to the dancer in the bar) possess psi-powers, which leads him on another journey to discover the truth about himself, his father and his death.
This is an odd, very noir-ish, piece set in a world where incidents of mental instability are increasing.
The phemomena of ESP seems hurriedly introduced and is awkwardly handled.
There are also some obvious plot holes, such as the fact that Blackie never reveals that she was, in fact, the dancer in the bar, but the denouement is both interesting and unexpected.
Nothing really out of the ordinary though.


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