THE FIFTH ANGEL by David Wiltse


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Super-efficient psycho tries to destroy New York City--in a crude, implausible, occasionally zesty thriller from the author of The Wedding Guest and The Serpent. Staff Sergeant Mark Stitzer, Vietnam vet and superbly trained guerrilla, has been in a top-security US Army loony-bin since 1979--when he was accidentally buried alive for three days (during war games), dug himself out through super-human effort, but emerged with a wild, homicidal case of paranoid delusion. Stitzer, you see, now believes that everyone is an enemy agent--including his beloved nephew Carl Thorne, a N.Y.C. newsman. And, when Stitzer escapes from the asylum, he first fakes his own death (a particularly grisly yet fascinating sequence) and then heads for New York--which he supposedly believes to be post-nuclear Moscow: according to Stitzer's old commander, the robot-like psycho ""is about to rip New York City a new asshole, and there's fucking little anyone can do about it."" Soon, however, as Stitzer starts blowing up water mains, it becomes apparent that he does want to make contact (half-loving, half-lethal) with nephew Carl--who has now begun an affair with his uncle's ex-wife. So, hoping to prevent Uncle Mark from being killed, Carl agrees to become the bait in a trap to capture the crazed Sergeant--which leads to carnage during the Labor Day Parade. . . and a sewer-ordeal finale that brings uncle and nephew together as quasi-allies. Rather half-heartedly filled out with romantic subplots: cartoonish suspense, basically unconvincing but active and visceral.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1985
Publisher: Macmillan