Tor, Jul 2004, 12.95, 223 pp.
Returning to his home in Hawthorne from working at the North American Aircraft plant in Inglewood, Tom Wallace sees the car belonging to Philip, his brother-in-law, who is a psych major at Berkley. That night Tom, his pregnant wife Anne and Phil go next door to attend a party. Phil offers to hypnotize any volunteers, but no one steps forward so he informs “brother man” that he is the chosen victim. Phil successfully hypnotizes Tom.
That night while unable to sleep, Tom begins hearing voices of people he knows and impressions in his dead culminated with a ghost in his living room. Suddenly, Tom's middle class American dream lifestyle seems meaningless as the hypnosis has aroused psychic abilities that he never knew he had. He hears the intimate most confidential thoughts of those around him and learns secrets that shake his existence, but worse is the visits from the murder victim demanding he help her find her killer.
This is a reprint of a 1950s thriller (and a one degree Bacon movie) that combines an amateur sleuth subplot within a fast-paced paranormal story line containing a ghostly element and psychic abilities. Tom is a terrific protagonist as readers observe the contrast between his lifestyle and his new ESP abilities. The support cast adds depth to Tom's travails as he tries to solve a homicide and regain his former existence without “hearing” the thoughts of others.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner