Created by Katherine MacLean
A series of short stories, all published in Analog from about 1968 to 71, all featuring GEORGE SANDFORD, was later adapted to form the 1975 novel, Missing Man. In fact, the original story won a Nebula. The setting is New York in the near future, and the Big Apple is suffering from a population of over two billion people, and George is just one of many people falling through the cracks, a painfully-shy under-achiever who has one special gift. He has what you might call over-developed telepathic skills.
Through a friend, he lands a part-time freelance job with the Rescue Squad, an elite corps who act as a combination fire and police department, who use George as a "fear hound." He uses his ESP powers to sniff out people in trouble, and to track down runaways and criminals. And George's weaknesses make for a rather different private eye hero, and for a rather different kind of private eye tale. Intriguing. It's a shame there wasn't a sequel.