Ever since The Horse Latitudes (1990), Ferrigno's been floundering in a deepening trough. His fourth suspenser (after Dead Man's Dance, 1995) is his most routine yet. A few days after one-time rocker Nick Carbonne and his lawyer wife Sharon open their California home to Perry Estridge, Nick's long-ago colleague in the Plague Dogs, Nick runs his Porsche into a ditch, nearly killing both Perry's girlfriend Alison and himself. The two manage to scramble out of the submerged car, but things haven't gone so well on the home front: Perry's been shot very much to death in Nick's hot tub, with Sharon lying dead not far away. Sgt. Calvin Thorpe, of the Rancho Verdes PD, thinks Perry and Sharon were sharing more than a hot tub, and it isn't long before he discovers that Sharon was seeing a divorce lawyer (a surprise to Nick). Meanwhile, though, Ferrigno has started in on what's meant to be the real action. First, there's the news that Alison, who liked to phone people at random and talk dirty for audiotapes she later peddled around Hollywood, got a tiger by the tail the night of the murder: She's listening as someone she's phoned gets beaten to death. Then there's the Blue Angel, a freelance scavenger/avenger on the trail of a $9 million marker owed by Evil Dead gangleader Ben Telaris and his baseball-bat-wielding buddies. Sparks will surely fly, you think, when the Angel's path crosses Nick's and Alison's. Don't be so sure. Despite some lovely riffs on hurting people very much, and several more ingenious murders and betrayals, the earth doesn't move, and you might as well be idling in the driveway, fully packed and raring to go, by the time Ferrigno delivers his soggy climactic twist. Line by line, Ferrigno writes one mean thriller. It's the bigger units--characters, relationships, plot--that keep this familiar tale from sounding as fresh as the prose.