Uncontrollable Urge! by Jerry M. Goff, Jr. (Merit Books, 1963)


Uncontrollable Urge is aptly titled, when many Novel/Merit Books often were not — it’s about a man whose right hand is not his, and is possessed. This is a bit of a horror/paranormal storyline, unlike other Goffs we’ve read here. Whether or not he plagarized Prather in this one is uncertain.

It begins with the narrative of Dr. Mays, who tells of George Calumet, a wealthy Beverly Hills stockbroker who wants his right hand cut off. Not seeing a life or death situation, Dr. Mays refuses, so George goes down the street to a machine shop and places his hand at a saw.

Treating George at the ER, Dr. Mays gets the story from the handless man. Here the narrative gets sloppy, we’re spposedly listening to George on a tape recorder, but the author doesn’t make an effort to change voices much.

For reasons unknown, George’s right hand started doing things beyond his control — stealing small items, trying to run nurses down on the street, smacking strange women on the ass, buying an engagement ring for his girlfriend while they are in Vegas, and then marrying her…and later, when he realizes his new wife is unfaithful, the hand picks up a gun with the intent of murdering her…

He also writes in cursive not his own, and writes out a review of a pay about Satan, signed “Etienne Coeur.”  That’s the name of the local paper’s love advise column writer, who also does reviews…the same play review appears in the paper.

Dr. Mays finds out from a cop that Etienne Coeur is the pen name of George’s brother-in-law, whom George had given a cushy job at his stocbrokereage firm, and has had a criminal past George is unaware of: three years in the pokey for forgery.

The funny thing is, at the same time George cuts his hand off, someone pushes his brother-in-law in front of a subway and he loses his own right hand too, when the subway runs over it…

Strange. There’s plenty of sex to make this a sleaze men’s paperback, but the whole notion of this possessed hand gets confusing.  But it’s not a bad read.

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