IMAGE OF EVIL by William Beechcroft


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Breezily farfetched, cheerfully violent doings in and around the Catoctin Institute for Advanced Sciences (CIAS)--a government-funded think tank in Maryland. The top researchers at CIAS have just come up with a super-duper secret invention: a gadget that sends out waves causing rapid mood-changes in everyone nearby! So the KGB (via the Bulgarian Embassy) hires mercenary mastermind Andr‚ Lefroid to steal the gadget from CIAS--but, unfortunately for Lefroid, his superbly science-oriented agent, Raphael Kooven, is dying of heart disease. What can Lefroid possibly do to replace the irreplaceable Kooven? Well, it just so happens that Canada's Dr. Bela Csorna has recently announced (with no fanfare) the success of his ""personality element"" brain-transplants in apes. So: Lefroid has CIAS scientist Albert Reifsnyder kidnapped (faking a car-accident); Reifsnyder, spirited off to a private hospital under Lefroid's control, receives some of the soon-dead Kooven's brain in Dr. Csorna's first human experiment; Dr. C. is then murdered for secrecy's sake. And, after recuperation, scientist Reifsnyder--now sharing his mind with that of evil agent Kooven!--returns to CIAS, prepared to do Lefroid's bidding re the theft of that super-gadget. Silly stuff? Yessiree. But the action is fast and twisty--especially in the second half, when CIAS security chief Marty Horn (a likable sort with marriage woes and other hangups) begins to suspect that Reifsnyder isn't really Reifsnyder. And Beechcroft, whose Position of Ultimate Trust (1981) was routine and predictable, spins out this unlikely story with just about the right balance between curious, believably creepy character-details and wry, black-comic detachment.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1985
Publisher: Dodd, Mead