Sullivan's fourth novel (after Games of the Blind, 1994) is a deftly handled psychological thriller about concealment and the dark power of secrets. Vida Morse, the young wife of failed history professor John Anders, is writing a biography of scientist Geoffrey Fry, an expert on theories of coincidence, who happens to live in Frascati, Italy. When Vida decides to go to Italy to research the book, John and their mutual friend Jim Quarrel go with her. Once in Frascati, however, a foreboding atmosphere begins to envelop the story. Vida, driving out to see Fry, skids in a puddle and is nearly killed when her car goes over an embankment. Meanwhile, she's spending most of her time with the scientist, leaving the two other men to brood and become jealous. John begins to feel estranged. He takes part in one of Fry's experiments and likewise has a narrow brush with death. Vida, it slowly becomes evident, is a woman with a secret past that she has only partially revealed to her husband, providing more (but not complete) details to Jim. And Vida is not the only one concealing something. John, Jim, and Fry have secrets as well -- and each secret relates to the others. As the time approaches for the trio to leave Frascati, a mysterious sense of impending doom weighs on the characters, a feeling that death will claim one of them. Sullivan's considerable skills -- in plot and in prose -- keep her readers hooked even when coincidences become too far-fetched.