Mathis, author of a modestly absorbing Texas-private-eye series (From a High Place, etc.), branches out into the cops-and-psychopath genre here--with creaky, lurid, overwrought results. The area around Merriweather, Texas, is hit with a series of vile, gruesome killings: women and men (often in couples) raped, tortured, bound, asphyxiated, and penetrated with an assortment of household tools. The two chief cops on the case--burly, macho Hamilton Pope (haunted by his own childhood abuse) and super-handsome, part-Indian Hackmore Wind (whose wife, another child-abuse victim, suffers from paralyzing migraines)--eventually connect the murders to an unsolved family massacre 35 years back, survived only by abused twin boys named Duke and Rocky. Meanwhile, the reader gets close-ups of more present-day psycho-killings--carried out, sure enough, by two creepy, loquacious guys named Duke and Rocky. And meanwhile, too, Pope's cop-girlfriend Milly is becoming suspicious of a local pair of ""young Nordic god"" twins named. . .that's right, Duke and Rocky--though they're much too young to be the Duke and Rocky from that bygone case. Notwithstanding Mathis' competent narration: a wretched concoction--with the smelliest of red herrings, strained police-station ribaldry, below-average psychobabble (earnest and rampant), and a windup of laugh/groan implausibility.