Boston realtor Marni Verstak's terror begins with a 2 a.m. phone call suavely threatening the life of Matthew, the son she's been hiding with her Vermont friends Eva and Steve for five years from her estranged husband, Anderson Thorpe III, and his omnipotent mother. The next day the foreman on a restoration project of Marni's is killed by bogus muggers; when another call sends her running up to Vermont, she finds Eva and Steve gone with Matthew, their own sudden flight to her place cut short by a collision that's left Steve dead and Eva in a coma. When sympathetic Sgt. Jake Murphy identifies Steve as a prominent drug courier, Marni thinks the mystery can't get any more tangled or threatening, but she's wrong: a last dinner with her ex- husband will lead to even scarier revelations--and Marni's arrest for murder--before she and Jake finally figure out who's out to get her, and why. The multiple villains--Marni's paranoia turns out to be all too justified--are as improbable as the child whose existence can't be revealed to his father. But the pseudonymous Juniper's first mystery- -despite its unlikely premises--sweeps you up with a kind of nightmare logic.