If Colby hadn't tried to steer this first novel past so many signposts, it might have gone somewhere, but his small-town Iowa physician turns out to be just another prescription mid-life-crisis victim. Dr. Ned Owen emerges from the rounds of emergency eases, office treatments, and major surgery with hardly a wrinkle in his white coat; he clearly likes his work, the deference that goes with it, and his trusty sidekick, a 1969 280SL Mercedes. But he's one of those $125,000/year men with clinical smarts and few emotional sutures, so his split with churchy wife Win and sizzling liaison with younger, liberated Gail come as no surprise. Gail, an Eastern professor (""psychic topographic investigation""), seems to attach herself without strain, content with a distracting popsicle during a summer research stint. Of the three, Win is the spookiest (and most original), suffering Ned's unchristian behavior while sharing secret mini-sex with a fellow Baptist, then disappearing suddenly with their two daughters and totally covering her tracks. The search for his family shifts Ned into overdrive, complete with perforated ulcer, and Gail into a more permanent (and unsolicited) front-seat position. Until Superdoc and Superprof play detective, this had a chance, but their breakneck maneuverings just accelerate a schlockstep race to the finish line.