By Pat Winter (Pinnacle; 1982)
An account of telepathy and bodily possession that reads like a Harold Robbins or Sidney Sheldon potboiler with a horrific edge. DRIVER has a noticeably high sexual content, in other words, and takes place amid a sleazy upper-crust milieu, yet still fits comfortably into the horror niche.
The situation is this: Val, a gorgeous TV commercial actress, finds her mind invaded by that of Michael, a Hollywood himbo who is currently interred in a hospital, being the victim of a catastrophic car accident–and the loss of both his legs at the hands of an overzealous ambulance driver. His wealthier-than-God movie mogul father is overseeing Michael’s hospital care, and has provided a hot-to-trot nurse in the form of Tanna, a woman with an odd genital deformity, to administer to all his needs.
But getting back to Val, she first encounters Michael–or, as she comes to known him, Misha–in dreams that inevitably turn sexual. From there his voice begins turning up in her head during waking hours, leading to a couple lascivious bouts of telepathic coitus. Val decides she’s found her soulmate in Misha, not realizing his true nature is quite scummy. As his telepathic connection with Val grows stronger Michael takes to possessing her body, figuring he can use it to enact revenge on the ambulance driver who amputated his legs.
As long as author Pat Winter sticks with Val and Michael’s story the book is on firm ground, being a fitfully trashy and erotic potboiler with surprisingly robust, clear-eyed prose. The problem is with all the distracting subplots and ancillary characters, who in addition to Michael’s father and Tanna the genitally afflicted nurse include Val’s overly inquisitive psychiatrist, her asshole boyfriend and some old men who like to spy on people from the rooftop of Michael and Tanna’s hospital. All, ultimately, are dispensable, or at least could have stood to be pared down considerably.