Grotesques and dwarfs have hobbled through the pages of literature rarely surmounting their misshapen bodies or inherent symbolism. In this, his second novel, (Hard Rain Falling - 1966) the author places his characters before the multiple mirrors of his own reflective insight and they stand naked in a Blade of Light, agonizingly human. Sample is the pitiable protagonist, imprisoned for eighteen years in an insane asylum. What act had this incoherent monster committed that had reduced him to a subhuman shell? Eighteen years before, Semple had merely been an unfortunate: ugly, acne-scarred, uncoordinated, the butt of high school soon to be reclassified as the village idiot. There was his hero worship of Harold Hunt, self styled tough guy and leader of a club that Semple desperately wanted to join. And there was Carole, beautiful, popular who scorned the True Romance idylls of high school history books by going out with Harold. And there was Rattner, Harold's right-hand man who went along with what went on out at the hut because... As the narrative fastens on the past, it begins to parallel the present as Semple is finally released; at thirty-five able to communicate in a bare guttural and to hold an undemanding job. And we watch as he tries to formulate a simple life...then he rediscovers Harold. Mr. Carpenter writes with power and psychological perception. It's strong, edgy stuff.