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The Disorientated Man

Novel by Peter Saxon 1967.

Later reissued as Scream and Scream Again, the title under which it was filmed by Gordon Hessler (1969), starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Vincent Price, this is the first and easily the best of Stephen D Frances' three novels as 'Peter Saxon'.

In three different places, events are taking a strange turn. In the German Democratic Republic, one man, seemingly changed after a visit to Berlin, is climbing the rungs of the Secret Police's promotion ladder with meteoric speed, due to boss after boss being found dead. In England, a successful long distance runner finds himself in some kind of hospital missing more and more of his body parts every time he wakes up. And in London, the hunt is on for a gruesome sex killer with immense strength and agility, who is drinking the blood of his victims. It falls to a young doctor to find out the incredible connection between these events.

A bit of a weird one this, certainly very different from any of the other usually more traditional 'Peter Saxon' books. Most deal with traditional horror plot devices, with the notable exception of Through the Dark Curtain, but this is essentially an alien invasion story, albeit more easily categorised as horror rather than sf. The plotting is intricate, with three distinct strands unfolding relatively simply, until they all meet at the final´┐Ż. The book's main flaw is that there is too much concept for the page count. Especially nowadays, there are many books that are too long, not so many that are too short; but this is one that would certainly benefit from expansion. A strange book that turned into a strange film, both of which are well worth a look.

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