Just a bananas double header with Ubik. Can't believe I have never heard of johnfranklinbardin before. By John Franklin Bardin. Published by Macfadden-Bartell Books. Did not see that coming
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The complete review 's Review :. The Deadly Percheron begins with a scene that doesn't sound that unusual: psychiatrist Dr. George Matthews sees his last patient of the day, a new one named Jacob Blunt whose first words are: "Doctor, I think I'm losing my mind. He tells a story of little men -- leprechauns -- who pay him to wear flowers in his hair and to give away quarters and to whistle in public places.
Even Blunt thinks it's pretty unbelievable, which is why he's come to consult a psychiatrist: to see if he might not just be imagining things. Matthews narrates the whole story, and he's a bit flummoxed by Blunt: the well-off young man seems, by and large, sane enough, but tells a story that's just too strange to be true. Blunt convinces him to come along when he's supposed to meet Eustace the leprechaun that evening, and Matthews decides to humour him. Problem is, a midget named Eustace does show up at the bar Eustace has another odd job for Blunt to do: deliver a percheron that's a horse -- "the kind they use on beer wagons" to the apartment of Frances Raye, "the most successful actress on Broadway".
As Eustace explains: "We leprechauns have decided that it's about time she had a percheron". And he even has the horse waiting outside the bar. Matthews thinks it's all a ridiculous, elaborate practical joke -- but then he gets a call the next morning and learns that Frances Raye has been murdered and Blunt arrested.
Blunt goes to the police station and talks to an acquaintance there, Lieutenant Anderson, convincing him to release Blunt into his custody. Matthews goes to collect the prisoner with Blunt's gal Nancy, whom he also met the previous evening -- but the man Nancy greets as Blunt isn't the man Matthews met the day before.
Instead of immediately telling the authorities, however, he decides to go along with the charade -- only to promptly feel a sharp blow to his back as they wait on the subway platform, and to black out. Matthews wakes up to find himself in the psychopathic ward of the City Hospital, a huge scar disfiguring his face. Months have apparently passed by, and everyone believes him to be a vagrant named John Brown. Try as he might he can't convince anyone he's Dr. George Matthews -- a man who died a while back.
Matthews' memory is hazy and he has no idea what happened to him. First he has to get out of the hospital -- which he does by convincing the doctors that he really is John Brown and not a maniac claiming to be the dead Matthews.
He begins a new life as John Brown, out in Coney Island, still unclear about what happened to him all those lost months. Slowly things come back to him -- and there are new encounters with figures from the recent past. Layer by layer Bardin strips back the covered-up past, as Matthews remembers what happened to him and others fill in the blanks until all the pieces slowly fall into place.
Parts of the novel stand on pretty shaky ground -- it's a complicated plan behind the murders by the end there's more than just the one , and along the way some very fortuitous coincidences and unlikely and unprofessional conduct by many of the actors prevent things getting cleared up earlier.
Still, it's one tight, taut thriller and it's never boring. Clinical and then slightly confused Matthews as narrator also effectively keeps the truly bizarre aspects of the book in check, allowing for the parade of freak show characters and incredible behaviour while still keeping things more or less rationally grounded.
The book isn't quite believable -- there's just a bit too much that's a bit too far-fetched -- but it's still a very enjoyable read. Bardin knows how to tell a story, and he sets a nice tone for Matthews, generally capturing the various stages the doctor goes through bewilderment, acceptance, curiosity, a desire for revenge very well.
The explanations behind it all are a bit too convoluted to be believed as is the fact that they weren't discovered earlier , but they're acceptable, especially given the fun and exciting ride provided along the way. Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs. Contents: Main. The Deadly Percheron - US. The Deadly Percheron - UK. La Mort en gros sabots - France. Das Teufelsrad - Deutschland. L'enigma dei tre omini - Italia.
El Percheron Mortal by John Franklin Bardin 2004 Ediciones B Paperback Edition
Tree, Gregory, Bardin, John Franklin Overview. Publication Timeline. Most widely held works by John Franklin Bardin.
El percherón mortal John Franklin Bardin
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