So randomly over the years I've tried to find this book using all sorts of keywords, reading release lists by decade, and nothing seems to click.

I'm pretty sure I read it in 1987, give or take a year, but it could have been published 5 years or so before then.

The story: It's around the year 2050, and a 50+ year old(?) janitor is compelled to help a mysterious boy escape from the corporation he is being held captive at one night. Turns out the kid is telepathic and the longer the janitor is around him, the younger he feels.

One memorable scene is where he ends up torturing two security guards in the back of a semi trailer for info using jalapenos/juice in their mouths and eyes.

The only other big scene is the end where the janitor has fixed up a gas burning car to race in the Daytona 500 against all the electric cars, as a distraction until help can arrive, in the form of a newly converted aircraft carrier FTL (faster than light) spaceship.

The cover had a red helicopter either crashing near a house or attacking it, double bladed, with no tail rotors (straight shaft).

  • 2
    Sounds like an odd mix of "Firestarter" and "The Golden Years", both by Stephen King.
    – Omegacron
    Feb 16 '15 at 22:15
  • 2
    ...and The Shining by Stephen King, although this time its a young telepathic boy and an old chef (looking like a janitor) who leaves the Overlook Hotel for the winter shutdown, but returns to help the boy when he calls out to him telepathically. Sep 11 '16 at 11:49
  • Maybe it´s a book by Philip K. Dick his book are from the 80´s and wrote a lot about telepathy and science fiction...
    – Guiomar M
    Sep 28 '17 at 13:50

If you are slighly out with the date could it have been Simple Simon [1996] by Ryne Pearson that became the movie Mercury Rising [1998]?

It took years to develop. Cost billions to perfect. A National Security Agency cryptographic system so advanced it safeguards the United States' most vital secrets. It is secure. Impenetrable.

Until sixteen year old autistic savant Simon Lynch happens upon a forgotten snippet of code, his damaged brilliance breaking the cipher with ease and unwittingly marking him for death. Soon, elements of a pathological government security apparatus within the NSA are hunting him, as is a beautiful, sadistic assassin working for enemies who will stop at nothing to learn the secret locked in Simon's mind.

Only FBI Agent Art Jefferson stands between the innocent young man and these corrupt forces, putting his career, his freedom, and his life on the line to save Simon.

My first thought was the novel Taronga by Victor Kelleher. But that probably wasn't it.

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