A second novel from Racina (The Great L.A. Blizzard, 1977) offers a busily plotted tale of obsessive love run nastily amok. We first meet gorgeous Matt Hinson in a snowstorm, gearing up to murder a beloved elderly couple as a ploy to win the love of their daughter Julia, inconveniently married to someone else. He accomplishes the deed with relish, disappearing on snowshoes only minutes before Julia arrives to discover the carnage. At the funeral, Matt delivers a sugary eulogy--and turns his calculating green eyes on the object of his desire. Luckily for him, Julia's marriage is in trouble: A recent mastectomy has mined the couple's sex life, and husband Tom has withdrawn into his work. While Julia and seven-year-old daughter Molly hang around her dead parents' home and cavort in the snow with Matt (Tom's gone back to his San Francisco office), investigators are racking up evidence. Julia and Matt spend a passionate night together; the next day, he's charged with the double murder. Throughout the trial, Julia is his most ardent defender. She gets a volume of his sensitive poetry published, lobbies tirelessly for his release, and separates from her husband. Tom has three weeks of therapy, recognizes his faults and overcomes them, and tries to get his wife back. He reads some computer disks he's swiped from her desk, and learns that Matt unwittingly revealed to Julia his involvement in the murders. Matt, just released from prison, goes to Julia's penthouse to celebrate; she attempts revenge by shoving him off a balcony. But he survives to take her hostage, and heads for Yosemite to kill her, though fortunately the new, improved Tom is in pursuit. Meantime, shallow and unpleasant main characters and clumsy technical effects (Matt's whole trial, for instance, is reported via newspaper clips and TV transcripts) bog things down; the graphic sex is more unpleasant than titillating. Lurid, unbelievable, and thoroughly tedious.