Review: The Demolished Man

The Demolished Man
The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ben Reich's company is failing and the only way out is for him to join with Craye D'Courtney's company. When D'Courtney refuses, Reich's only other option is to kill D'Courtney and take over his company. A murder may seem like a banal affair; however, in Reich and D'Courtney's world, a premeditated murder has not happened in over 70 years. A portion of the population are telepaths and can tell if people are going to murder someone in advance. Reich not only has to commit a murder but then also hide it for the rest of his life. Also, he keeps having dreams about a Man With No Face. What does it all mean?

The Demolished Man is a very interesting book. It is a little bit Colombo, a little bit Dirty Harry, and a little bit Freud. No, I am not kidding. The book is predominately a cat and mouse game between Reich and Powell, a telepath police officer. When the book focuses on the crime, I love it. I grew up watching crime/mystery shows both from the criminal and from the detective's POV, so this plot is right up my alley. When the book starts to focus on Freud, rebirthing, and other psychological theories, I just smile and am amused. As a psychologist, I find the use of Freud's theories as a foundation for a book to be amusing. Yes, it gets a bit weird at times, but it is overall amusing. The only thing that I found frustrating was the attitude towards women. The ladies were either virgins or "not at all virgins" (if you catch my meaning). The majority of the women seemed to be in love with Powell. The fact that Powell who is quite a catch according to the book falls in love is by meeting a young woman who has suddenly become an infant (long story). Heaven forbid, he likes a woman who can string a full sentence together.

Anyway, the criminal aspect to this book is great, the psychological aspect is entertaining, and the feminist aspect is nonexistent.

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