THE LONER by Otto Friedrich


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A gruesomely gruelling account of a kidnapping follows Benny Franzek from the time when he leaves home (a wife, two children, and a third en route, and a good many appliances about to be repossessed) and takes a four month infant from a carriage. Hard pressed by debts and the grievances of his family, Benny hopes to become solvent with the $5000 ransom money he expects to pick up. Beyond the physical circumstances of the crime, Benny is a ""loner,"" not only out of touch with the society which has taught him to live on time, but with reality; he has no feelings- only impulses. He keeps the baby for a night and then leaves him to die of exposure in a honeysuckle patch. The graphic horror of this sequence is seconded only by the final scene when Benny is electrocuted... A shocker, this also points a finger at the society of which Benny is the ""waste product""; living on the cuff, he is up to his elbows in the debts which it has not only permitted but encouraged. This may give its readers a secondary reason for squirming while engendering a smaller-scaled Compulsion to read on.

Pub Date: June 4th, 1964
Publisher: Crown