Let Albany shamus Donald Strachey introduce the Osbornes: ""A distinguished New York State family whose members apparently were trying to kill one another off for reasons of ideology and/or cash."" A forced sale of the family newspaper has turned the liberal Osbornes--editor Janet, nature writer Eric, crackpot left-wing publisher Dan, and their mother Ruth, clinging to the frayed edge of sanity--against their insurgent conservative wing--broker Chester, his self-righteous sister June, and their equally stuffy spouses, toadies, and hangers-on. The question is: Which of two buyers to sell the ailing Edensburg Herald to? Eric has already been murdered, and when Janet barely survives an assault by a jet ski--a second episode ends up breaking the foot of Dan's lover, Timmy Callahan--it looks like somebody's trying to rig the election by retiring the liberals and mandating the appointment of more conservatives in their stead. The available replacement candidates: June's son Tidy, a 24-karat twerp; Tidy's brother Tacker, who ran off to the South Seas years ago; and Chester's sociopathic son Craig, now doing hard time in Attica for robbery and murder. Eventually, Don's investigation takes him to Attica--where Craig tells a wild tale that makes Don regard the Osborne clan even more suspiciously. Stevenson's sixth (Shock to the System, 1995, etc.) manages to bring new urgency to the crazy-family scenario by loading the Osborne branches with the rottenest fruit imaginable. They're enough to make you pack Uzis and hand grenades for your next family reunion.