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Fallen Angel

The lights go out in a Manhattan skyscraper and young David Stillman cautiously picks his way down a flight of stairs (that later turns out to be not there) and makes his way home. There he finds a sinister individual who tries to persuade him to leave the country and ask no questions. David throws him out and the next morning is chased and nearly killed.

Completely at a loss as to why he, a cost accountant, should be the object of such deadly interest, he consults a psychiatrist, certain that his trouble must be mental. After a curious interview, the psychiatrist will have nothing to do with him.

Creepy horror is the keynote of this chilling story. To the horror of being in danger of his life from an unknown enemy is added the sudden and terrifying experience of doubting his own identity. Overnight his office in the skyscraper disappears, seemingly never there; his friend, a private eye, is brutally murdered; the beautiful Shela gives him passionate warnings that indicate she knows who he is -- better than he does himself.

Here is a high-voltage thriller that is pervaded throughout by a mood, almost a tangible miasma, of frightening horror and brutality. The skill in creating an atmosphere of dread, the ingenious working out of the puzzle, the race the hero runs between danger and madness, keep the reader enthralled to the last page.

from the dust jacket of the 1952 Little, Brown first edition