Sprightly but stock psychological horror--serial-killer style--by a pair of pseudonymous authors whose previous, mediocre voodoo-novel (The Religion, 1982) was Hollywoodized into an even worse movie (The Believers). Heroine Carol Warren is a genre-perfect damsel-in-distress with an ""air of unspoiled innocence,"" a thirty something life as a hot children's author, and a brother who may be a homicidal maniac who's dismembered 40 women. It's not that Carol really believes that ultrarich Tommy is Jack-the-Ripper II; it's just that Paul Miller--the mysterious p.i. who keeps pestering her for info about her brother--is awfully disturbing when he says that Tommy's on his list of 70 possible suspects. What's Miller's interest in the case, anyway? He won't say; but Eric Gaines, the nice young cop whom Carol meets at her pal Anne's funeral (small world--Anne's one of the maniac's victims), assures Carol that Tommy's not on the cops' suspect list. Could Miller himself, Carol wonders, be the killer? Or how about Frank Matheson, Tommy's right-hand man whom Carol's just started dating and who has just as much access as Tommy does to the company car that Miller says one murder-witness can identify? Matheson looks especially guilty when snoopy Carol finds some circumstantial evidence in the trunk of his car; but then why has Tommy's wife run away in terror from her husband? The stomach-churning interludes that are tossed in to show the anonymous killer at work don't add a clue, and poor Carol--in between dates with Matheson and Gaines and a quick sack-hop with Miller--can't quite figure it all out until her senile dad mumbles a few words that lead her to a long-buried family secret. . . The authors' failure to have the maniac actively threaten Carol leaches this tale of some potential suspense; still, the killer's identity remains a tantalizing puzzle throughout, and Carol is an appealingly plucky sort. Film rights have already been sold to Columbia Pictures.