Dangerous Behavior

Front Cover
Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2002 - Fiction - 275 pages
From an Emmy award-winning author comes a high-voltage psychological thriller, whose film rights have already been sold to Paramount/Scott Rudin. Charged with suspense and powered by canny intelligence, Walter Marks's taut debut crime novel pits the rigorously trained and disciplined mind of a promising young psychiatrist, David Rothberg, against the acute, if warped wits of a convicted murderer in a maximum security prison. As the unseasoned doctor strives to determine whether a prospective parolee—Victor Thomas Janko, once known as the Baby Carriage Killer, and now, after years in solitary confinement, a celebrated prison artist—"if released, would behave in a manner dangerous to others," he finds himself drawn unwillingly into the psychological quicksand of his enigmatic subject's phobias and fantasies. A guard at New York's Vanderkill Upstate Correctional Facility has no doubts about Janko's guilt or danger: he's often heard the prisoner boast about his crime. And the prison priest tells David that Janko is evil incarnate. Janko himself claims to have no memory of committing the gruesome murder that captured headlines nationwide, while his girlfriend Daisy maintains that Victor, a loving man, could never kill anyone—and that she can prove it. Each of them, however, has a hidden agenda, and all of them complicate the issue that confronts David, on whose increasingly clouded judgment rests the parole of a possibly seriously disturbed man. What complicates matters even more for David as he tries to penetrate the mysterious case of Victor Thomas Janko in this riveting crime thriller are the demons he confronts within himself—demons that may prove to be the agents of his own destruction.

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