THE NIGHTMARE CANDIDATE by Ramona Stewart

THE NIGHTMARE CANDIDATE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another Stewart recycling of an old psychic standby: precognitively seeing a future crime and trying to prevent it from happening. Elissa Blake, staff photographer for Presidential candidate Gov. Steve Cameron (a young blend of Kennedy and Rockefeller), has just celebrated her birthday by giving Steve her virginity. . . when she sees Steve dead, his heat shotgunned to a bloody pulp. But Steve is really alive, so Elissa's chums introduce her to ""one of the biggest ESP men in this country""--who ascertains that Elissa is super-telepathic, seeing both past and present (""you seem to go both ways""). In fact, maybe Elissa's crazy mom (in an asylum and now lobotomized) isn't really loony at all, since ""a lot of people in institutions are really psychic!"" Many such fiercely pro-ESP discussions ensue--as Elissa tries to focus on her vision (via hypnosis and a brain-wave machine) and tries to convince Steve of the impending danger (the situation's complicated by her sexual jealousy); and meanwhile an apparent assassin (a weird N.Y. bartender) is indeed following Steve from city to city. However, this assassin tries, fails, and dies--all in San Francisco, whereas Elissa's vision clearly saw Steve dead in the family's Manhattan museum hideaway. So it will take a boating/drowning damsel-in-distress finale to reveal the Truth. A neat end-twist--but the evangelical tone throughout and the gothicky histrionics make this, as much as ever, a Stewart-style diversion for the truest psi believers only.

Pub Date: July 23rd, 1980
Publisher: Delacorte