James Neal Harvey Mental Case

ISBN 13: 9780312959951

Mental Case

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9780312959951: Mental Case
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New York Police Detective Ben Tolliver, hero of By Reason of Insanity, ponders the links between a serial killer and the suicide of an affluent young woman, the daughter of a top advisor to the mayor. Reprint.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

The fourth case for Lt. Ben Tolliver, about linked murders in Manhattan, as Harvey attempts to upgrade his series begun with the overly predictable The Headsman (1991). A beautiful, wealthy blond walks into a jewelry store, asks to see a $100,000 necklace, then shoots the jeweler, his security guard, a customer, and finally herself. Reviewing the store's videotape, Tolliver can't find anything to go on besides the woman's unearthly calmness. The medical examiner eventually finds a Prozac-like substance (fluoxetine) in her blood, though that's a mere mood-enhancer. Then there are two more mysterious murders in the Village, on two different nights, as a young man walks up to a visitor, then to an antiques dealer, and stabs each to death through the breastbone. Some yellow capsules found by one of the bodies points to the same Prozac-derivative. Though Tolliver runs into blind alleys for over half the novel, the reader is introduced to Dr. Jonas Drang, a psychiatrist with a secret cellar lab for research on psychopharmaceuticals who has whipped up a swell new antidepressant made from rats' brain cells--but can't get the dosage right. The drug boosts the taker's confidence hugely, granting an amazing calm, but also releases the aggressiveness inherent in Dr. Drang's outsized Norwegian rats, mammals second in intelligence only to monkeys. When he does get it right, he'll go to Switzerland (he's already buying a house there) and give Eli Lilly a run for its money. Fact is, Dr. Drang's real objective is a drug that will allow armies to build up cadres of superbly aggressive soldiers. When Tolliver eventually gets too close to Dr. Drang, the good doctor gets in touch with his Village stabber. This fails, but Tolliver at last winds up bound in Dr. Drang's black-out cellar, being eaten alive by hungry rats . . . . Credible policework and fantasy sex give way to comic-book grue. Even so, a distinct series improvement. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Beth Whitacre, the beautiful and intelligent daughter of a wealthy and prominent citizen, goes for a walk one day. She enters a posh jewelry story, takes out a gun, shoots three people dead, and then shoots herself. Why? The mayor and D.A. want the answers. Intrepid investigator Ben Tolliver is sent out to find them. Ben finally stumbles across the trail of Dr. Jonas Drang, an evil genius the likes of whom has not been seen since the Emperor Ming in the old Flash Gordon movies?and about as believable too. In fact, all the characters in this latest Ben Tolliver book (Flesh & Blood, St. Martin's, 1994) are unbelievable. Tolliver is shot by poisoned bullets, his car is fire-bombed and melts, and this bozo walks, illegally, into Drang's dark, unlocked (in New York City?) house, with no back-up or radio contact and not even a flashlight. When Tolliver is caught, gassed by one of Drang's puppets, and tied to a chair, his escape method is bravado, snarls, and curses. Of course Drang must leave our hero alone to make his escape. Tolliver uses the old cut-the-ropes-with-broken-glass ploy. How do you do this without getting bloody fingers, hands, and wrists? If you like high camp, this is it.?Dawn L. Anderson, North Richland Hills P. L., Tex.,
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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