Detective Lenny Bliss, NYPD Homicide, can't buy a break. His neglected wife Rachel Davis has started to pull in club audiences for her comedy routines based on his sad-sack grind; his daughters understudy their mother by trying out their jokes about the Cereal Killer and the De-Ranged Killer on him; his octoroon partner Ward's jazzy crime-scene patter gives him nightmares. And now Ward's riding high, because the murder of St. Petersburg dentist Elena Koroshekvesy, last seen turning tricks in the Big Apple, and the taunting phone calls Bliss has been getting from whoever killed another prostitute and left her body in an obliging dumpster, are nasty enough material for Ward's cruelest cracks. But Bliss isn't the only one who's feeling the pinch. Performance artist Johnny Tolstoy, the pimp who strangled Elena, feels as if he's just killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. Elena's replacement, the angelic waitress Tatyana, turns out to have ideas of her own about their partnership. So does Brighton Beach kingpin Sascha the Bear, who expects a hefty percentage of Tatyana's take. Johnny may just have to slice his way out of these troubles. . . . Sloan's first mystery (following Dad's Own Cookbook, not reviewed) is jocular, neurotic, and depressive--not by turns, but all at once. It's like watching a psychotic standup comic self- destruct on the analyst's couch.