This close, uncommonly, uncomfortably well done novel focuses, with both considerable precision and compression on an obsession, from the time when, seemingly unreasonably, Harold Makepiece throws a brick through the window of ""odiously righteous"" Greensmith. The cathartic exhilaration which follows stimulates him to repeat the act which is then paralleled with abusive, obscene telephone calls and letters. Otherwise it would seem that Harold is a nondescript middle-aged man. However, as it develops, and the novel is developed with tremendous care and consistency, the vendetta is not unmotivated: Greensmith had been responsible for the accidental death of Harold's only son some four years ago and the boy himself is not so much mourned as the sense of purpose he contributed. Here, from day to day, Harold deteriorates slowly; his wife, Margaret, who drinks, leaves him; he has a brief affair with her younger friend; but actually he slips away further and further into his solipsistic wretchedness, a ""dead man, an empty man."" His disassociation is complete and ""mind and memory"" waver backward and forword ""without gripping."" Mr. Bloomfield's novel, less extreme than the earlier The Tempter, has its obsessional fascination for the reader-- it is both a goad and a vise, and it should certainly find an audience, say among the admirers of Simenon, a comparison he invites and can easily withstand.