Books: Into the Night

A PEEP INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by Christopher Davis. 200 pages. Harper & Row. $5.95.

THE BOOK OF DANIEL by E.L Doctorow. 303 pages. Random House. $6.95.

These two novels deal seriously with death in the electric chair. Inevitably they inflict a kind of emotional blackmail on the critical faculty. Legalized killing is a cruel and unusual procedure, so that the condemned, whether guilty or innocent, become miserable victims. Under such circumstances, it takes very little skill to arouse pity and terror in the reader.

Christopher Davis, always a painstaking craftsman (Ishmael, Lost Summer),...

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