THE SANDMAN by Robert Ward


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What starts out seeming to be a pulpy but arresting thriller about mercy-killing dwindles into yet another glop of run-of-the-kill psycho-suspense with raw sex trimmings. Brilliant, handsome, but strangely square anesthesiologist Peter Cross is the psycho, and his hangup--which manifests itself in something called ""The Space"" messing up his mind--at first appears to be connected to his late mother's terminal illness; he put her out of her misery and now naturally does the same for similarly situated patients at his hospital, right? No, not exactly, since Peter seems pretty undiscriminating about which patients he cleverly bumps off, and his problems actually have a lot to do with women and sex, or so it develops during his doomed romance with sweet nurse Debby. Anyway, Peter gets away with his first few snuff-outs, but soon his fellow doctors--out of self-defense--build a case against him, almost too late to save sweet Debby. . . ""He was able to kill because he was in love with the idea of innocence, of purity. . . ."" Well, there's no danger of getting too involved with innocence and purity while reading this potboiler by a previously promising writer (Cattle Annie and Little Britches), what with the hospital gore, some extraneous anal sex, and the general aura of desperate but ineffective commercialism.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 1978
Publisher: Rawson, Wade--dist. by Atheneum