Mental Case

James Neal Harvey, Author St. Martin's Press $23.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-14014-4
The hokiness that hallmarked Harvey's three previous Ben Tolliver, NYPD thrillers peaks in this fourth (after Flesh and Blood, 1994). Like a latter-day Sax Rohmer, the author stirs in ravenous rats, experiments on severed human brains, a beautiful woman-turned-sex-slave and a villain with the delicious name of Dr. Jonas Drang. Every bit the mad scientist, Drang, in his desire to transform the human brain and psyche, has been conducting illicit drug experiments on his psychiatric patients that have led to a high-profile attempted robbery and a series of random, motiveless murders in New York City. Tolliver is the cop investigating the crimes. Harvey's prose throughout remains bright and remarkably clean, no small feat given the gruesome nature of much of the action. While there's not much depth to the characters or themes, there is a certain deadpan charm to the sheer melodrama of it all; no doubt Dr. Fu Manchu is grinning in his grave. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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