Returning home to the small Louisiana parish where he had praticed psychiatry, Dr. Tom More quickly notices something strange occuring with the townfolk, a loss of inhibitions. Behind this mystery is a dangerous plot drug the local water supply, and a discovery that takes More into the underside of the American search for happiness.
When psychiatrist Tom More returns home to Feliciana, Louisiana, after doing time at a minimal security prison, he is dismayed by the bizarre behavior he encountersthe ``curious flatness of tone,'' the loss of sexual inhibition, of complex speech, even of context in conversation. More is further dismayed to discover that fellow psychiatrist Bob Comeaux is masterminding an unauthorized scheme to eradicate social ills by manipulating cortical functions through surreptitious doses of heavy sodium. And the suspense is only beginning, for More wants to investigate signs of sexual abuse at his children's school. The loss of human response smacks of a grade-B horror filmMore himself speaks of ``bodysnatchers''and the moral implications of social engineering, though given the most contemporary interpretation here, have already been considered. But in crisp, masterful prose Percy delivers a relentlessly compelling tale. BOMC dual main selection. Barbara Hoffert, ``Library Journal''