Fifth in the gritty procedural series featuring criminal investigation chief Colin Harpur (Protection, 1992, etc.). Here, the focus is on Sarah Iles--wife of Harpur's superior--who, while chatting up her lover Ian at the Monty, a fringe-element club, witnesses a gangland knifing, thus setting in motion a moral struggle, as well as a multilayered cat-and-mouse game: Sarah and her lover are stalked by both the crime and the good guys, while the emotionally wrought-up ACC Iles tries to salvage his marriage and the investigation. Did the wounded man whisper something to Sarah before collapsing? Will she repeat it to Iles? Meanwhile, one mob boss plans to assassinate another; minor players are roughed up; and Sarah, despite the danger--or because of it--can't stop herself from seeking out Ian, which lands her in the middle of the final shootout, with Colin a despairing onlooker. Le CarrÇ-like psychological ambiguities and fierce double- crosses--from an author who, in an understated sentence or two, can pack a knockout punch. With a little more promotional zeal, James could enjoy a wide, devoted readership.