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 Trance is unique in that it was not originally published under the name Stanley Morgan - instead it appeared under the nom de plume Richard Kessler in 1993. As with "Laura Fitzgerald" - Stan only has the one copy but we located an on-line bookstore in the USA which listed it for sale.

Stan: "Poor Trance. It is a lovely book, a thriller in hardback, published by Severn House. It should have done very well, but met with publishing disaster. And, ah!, in an effort to separate this thriller from the Tobin genre, my agent suggested that I publish Trance under a pseudonym...Richard Kessler. Didn't work, of course, and I now regret not using my own name. I was surprised that you managed to locate a copy of Trance in the USA. Severn House publish essentially for libraries, and in view of the 'Publishers Weekly' disaster, I'm amazed that any copies got over there. (I do know that Severn House did a deal with a Russian publisher, but so far I haven't seen a single rouble!)"

As you can see above - the Russian version did indeed get published and for anyone who reads Russian, the entire book seems to be online here

It was 12 years later When Stan negotiated the Tobin Goes Cuckoo deal with Twenty First Century Publishing that they snapped this title up and agreed to finally publish it under Stan's real name. A move he was thrilled about, as he was immensely proud of the book. Quite right too. With some judicious editing to update the timeline and references, this was Stan's final book in 2005.

  • Cover Notes

 Kessler Version: Paul Drummond, forensic hypnotist, is called in by his friend, Detective Dick Gage of the LA Police, to obtain information under hypnosis from the amnesiac victim of a bank robbery. It soon becomes apparent, however, that Tom Keegan's memory blank began long before the crime, and relates to a much more serious trauma. In a deep trance, Keegan reveals a vision that has tormented him for 20 years. It clearly has something to do with Vietnam, yet the conscious Keegan remembers nothing about the war or his involvement in it - despite the fact that his squalid apartment is plastered with photographs from the war. Drummond begins to suspect that his patient's mind has been tampered with. Jack Crane, tough charismatic former head of the CIA and a hero of Vietnam, is streets ahead of Milton Byrne, a liberal academic, in the race for the White House. Only one hurdle stands in his way...the 90 minute TV head-to-head debate between the two candidates. Only one obstacle, that is, until Drummond takes Keegan to his valley home for some more thorough psychological examination. Just when he thinks he is getting somewhere with Keegan, aided by Karen Beal, a lovely English crime journalist working for the LA Times, the amnesiac is kidnapped from Drummond's home and a horrific warning is left to forget Tom Keegan ever existed. What does Keegan's vision, and the enigmatic rhyme he recited under hypnosis, mean? And what does the tough-talking preseidential candidate have to do with the horror that lies trapped in Keegan's subconscious? The climactic chase and unexpected denouement are the hallmark of this compelling, fast-paced thriller by exciting new author Richard Kessler.

 Morgan Version: The year is 2000 and the US presidential race is well under way. Jack Crane, a charismatic war hero, is pulling ahead on the final straight against his liberal rival Milton Byrne. Enter Paul Drummond, a hypnotherapist in Los Angeles, who treats the rich and neurotic, as well as undertaking forensic hypnosis for the Los Angeles Police department. Little does Drummond know that this police case will lead him into a web of intrigue. Delving into the amnesiac mind of Tom Keegan, witness to a robbery, Drummond realises that the seat of Keegan’s torment lies deep in his mind . . . deep in the past. What was the enigmatic role Keegan played in the Vietnam War? Together with his friend, Detective Dick Gage and the LA Times reporter Karen Beale, Drummond embarks on a quest for the truth . . . soon to become a struggle for survival – their survival – as the election clock ticks. What is locked in Keegan’s subconscious? Who are the powerful forces lined up against Drummond to suppress the secrets his hypnotherapy threatens to reveal?

 Translated Russian Version: A Los Angeles resident, Tom Keegan, becomes an unwitting witness to a bank robbery, but has absolutely no memory of what happened. The forensic psychiatrist Paul Drummond interrogates him under hypnosis, and in a state of trance, Keegan talks about the terrible visions that haunted him for twenty years. A Vietnam veteran, Keegan does not remember either the war itself or his participation in it. Seriously suspecting that someone deliberately invaded his patient's consciousness and brutally violated memory, Drummond decides to conduct a deeper examination. The high ranks of the CIA are threatened with exposure, and they will not stop at anything, so that an ominous mystery dies together with those who have learned of its existence ...

  • Dedication

 Kessler Version: For Linda And My Family With Love.
With special thanks to Police Officer S. Mount Los Angeles Police Department West Los Angeles Area for his courtesy and help

 Morgan Version: For Linda And My Wonderful Family.
With special thanks to Police Officer S. Mount Los Angeles Police Department West Los Angeles Area for his courtesy and help

 Translated Russian Version: Linda and my whole family with tenderness and love
I express special gratitude to the police officer S. Mount, a police officer in the West District of Los Angeles for kindly assisted.

  • Our Review

 Would you believe it? Probably Stan's finest book outside of the Tobin series and they talked him into publishing under a pseudonym. Seriously though - this is a great thriller that keeps the reader gripped and is nowhere near as predictable as other books I've read in this genre. If you're at all interested in CIA cover-ups, conspiracy theories, the Vietnam War or hypnosis then you'll love Trance, even if you've only read Tobin in the past. I'd rate this as easily Stan's finest book outside of his comedy novels and makes a superb follow up to the rejuvenated Tobin series. We were so glad to see it re-published. The other point to note is the secret Morgan trademark hidden away in the pages to let the readers know who Richard Kessler REALLY is: The beautiful English Journalist lady drinks Vodka Tonics!

Another review is now up on the excellent Bookworm On The Net blog

  • Rating on the MORGANOMETER


The 2005 re-print is now also out of print again but you can pick up a copy via Amazon here