How cold is it in New York? So cold that WIBN-TV newswriter Michael Carpo's buying coffee for the streetwalkers outside his building. So cold that Athena Galleries owner Frank Werner, who phoned Carpo begging for an appointment to talk, is in the Central Park reservoir under four feet of ice. When Carpo finds out that Werner was knocked out, lobotomized, and given a grotesque facial cosmetic job all before that phone call, he realizes he's been set up by somebody who knows an awful lot about him--like his former lover Karen Blackwell, the Metropolitan Museum curator whose name the bogus Werner had used to get Carpo's attention. Frosty Karen insists she doesn't know Werner; press photos link them as close professional acquaintances--Karen had authenticated a number of Werner's most spectacular acquisitions--and hint at even more intimate relations; and before Carpo can set the record straight, for the TV audience and himself, he's been suspended from his job, left twisting slowly in the wind to figure out what a mail order of cochineal insects has to do with Werner's latest and priciest offering, a fabulous bust of Cleopatra. Miano's first novel kicks off with an appealingly strong situation--the backbiting in the WIBN newsroom crackles with tension--before trailing off in drably unconvincing dialogue and a shrilly unconvincing villain.