Mefisto in Onyx

Harlan Ellison, Author
Harlan Ellison, Author Mark V. Ziesing $16.95 (91p) ISBN 978-0-929480-31-2
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Ellison's in-your-face story about telepathy and a serial killer is his most substantial piece in years--though in length it barely qualifies as a novella. Rudy Pairis is a well-educated black man with telepathic abilities and one true friend in the world, a deputy district attorney named Allison Roche. Allison, who once had a brief sexual liaison with Rudy, presumes on that relationship to ask him to do the unthinkable. She wants him to slip into the mind of the most heinous serial killer she has ever tried to send to the chair, a prospect Rudy looks forward to as much as having ``a skunk spray my pants leg.'' The twisty turnings of the road that eventually lead psychic and psychopath to a confrontation at the electric chair, as well as Ellison's award-winning (World Fantasy, Nebula, Hugo) prose may be too much for some, but it should burn like slow whiskey down the throats of his many hard-bitten fans. Though the ending is predictable--and the language about racial stereotypes brutally candid--the story holds an intense and morbid fascination. The introduction by Frank Miller discussing convicts' ``dead eyes and dead voices'' is also a winner. (Dec.)
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