Rivers, who specializes in issues-spangled romance (Virgins, Girls Forever Brave and True, Intimate Enemies), tries her hand at a biotech thriller, with slickly professional results. The oil-and-vinegar leads this time are proper Bostonian Jack Aiken, science reporter for the Boston World Herald, who keeps all his pencils arranged with the labels up, and police reporter Sally Ellenberg, brassy, sloppy, hard-working, and Boston Jewish. The mysterious death-from-natural-causes of a local hood in the middle of a liquor-store robbery brings Sally and Jack together for nasty cracks and tough investigative journalism--and their inevitable sequel, great sex (earthy Sally is just what Jack needs to rescue him from his suffocating sense of propriety), romance, marriage, and incidentally the cracking of a conspiracy of biomedical thought control (aimed at felons, prostitutes, and black activists) that reaches from the suburban Neurodyne Clinic to the Attorney General. But the complications, though piled high, are too perfunctory to carry much conviction: Jack's too-perfect fiancÃ‰e Mild Shelton retires gracefully as soon as Jack comes to terms with his need for Sally's contribution to the family's gene pool; his sympathetic but disapproving uncle Robert turns out to be in on the conspiracy and so can be killed off; and, considering the number of doctors, cops, and feds out to get them, Jack and Sally triumph with surprising ease and unsurprising good humor. Not the most tender or witty love story you've ever read, or the most suspenseful thriller. But Rivers is as amusing though as superficial, as ever, and her leading couple make fine company indeed.