On an elementary school field trip to the local library, I had just started reading this book when the teacher took it away claiming that the content was not suitable. When I returned to the library later on, the book wasn't where I had picked it up and I couldn't remember the title. So basically I haven't slept since... and that was a good 15 years ago.

I remember the synopsis and the book's cover-graphic pretty well (A person reclined in a chair wearing a what looked like a fighter pilot helmet)

Synopsis: It's the cold war, Soviets vs the USA. Both sides have been developing a way to create a telepathic super-soldier. One of the obstacles in creating this telepathic machine/soldier is melding the mind and the machine, which the soviets do via removing the optical nerve or eyeball. (Can see why the teacher took the book away).

I distinctly remember there being a part where the Americans, via spying discover a Soviet facility testing their telepathic weapon. They discover a pile of deceased prisoners that have had their eyes removed. The Americans have found a way to utilize their telepathic weapon without removing the optic nerve, however the connection is unstable.

The last bit that I remember is a scene where there are some Soviet leaders walking in the snow and they are attacked by a telepathic monster (presumably one of the inmates who had been tested upon). Blood in the snow, telepathic monster was hard to see or invisible...

That is about all I can remember… The closest I have come to it was the book by Fredrick Pohl, A Plague of Pythons/The Demon in the Skull, but nope, this was a different book.


Psychic Warrior by Bob Mayer aka Robert Doherty. Read it a few times, almost certain this is the one you are looking for.

It's set in 1981 and opens with military psychics attempting to "remove-view" Russian sites. After it doesn't work, Project Grill Flame is shuttered, at least officially. Off the books, it was renamed Bright Gate, and is dedicated to create a "virtual soldier" who can leave his body and act using only his mind. Unfortunately, the Russians have their own project, and their assassin, Chyort, "Devil," is in action. The protagonist is Sergeant Major Jimmy Dalton, a former Green Beret (or possibly a Ranger. The synopses disagree on the point) with no family ties who leads a team of Psychic Warrior. There was a sequel, Project Aura, which introduces a set of villains named the Priory.

It was released in 2000, so it would just barely squeak in for your 15 year range.

Cover images for the first and second books:

Psychic Warrior Project Aura

Confirmation of the optic nerve connection in the Russian subjects:

Each of the four men was horribly disfigured. All four were blind, their eye sockets empty, the gaping holes red and scarred. On each man’s head four metal sockets extended out, having been surgically implanted through the skull directly into the brain. It had taken the scientists at SD8 many years to perfect the technique of implanting those sockets and to determine the correct location for each.

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  • I added a paraphrase of the blurb all of the sites seem to use for this, as well as a link and a mention of the sequel. Haven't seen any mention of optic nerves, but it might be in there. – FuzzyBoots Feb 21 '15 at 0:18
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    I will guarantee the optic nerves reference is valid. – Gary Walker Feb 21 '15 at 0:25
  • Green Beret / Ranger is not a dichotomy. While there are specific Ranger units, Ranger is also a qualification, like Airborne, and a lot of Green Beanies are Rangers. – WhatRoughBeast Feb 21 '15 at 0:48
  • @WhatRoughBeast: Ah. I was under the impression that they were usually fairly separate, albeit usually just grouped under a generic "Special Forces". But I'll admit that I have no firsthand experience there. – FuzzyBoots Feb 21 '15 at 4:22
  • I no longer have access to the above account where I originally posted this question... But the above is definitely the answer... THANK YOU! – isaacdre Oct 15 '19 at 4:22

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