If you think the contents of the lunch box independent filmmaker Burke Lymon's just received -- pieces of a dead squirrel nailed to a wooden cross, accompanied by a miniature ax and a note from ""your most adooring fan, Lucifer"" -- sound revolting, just wait till you see what somebody does to Lymon himself at the premiere of his latest, Lucifer's Shadow. Using Lymon's cache of mad money, his loyal secretary, Selma Steinberg, hires Queenie Davilov, an aspiring screenwriter who's been doing security checks for Lymon, to investigate his murder. Queenie, whose brother Rex was put on the disabled list by the Red Sox just in time to fly to Hollywood and discover Lymon's body, has quite an assignment: find out what's happened to Nessa Glass and L.D. Barth, the vanished stars of Lucifer's Shadow; figure out whether there's a pattern behind the spate of suspicious deaths during filming, why Lymon had just fired several of his longtime collaborators, and which of the souvenir axes handed out at the wrap party for the film was used to kill him; and, of course, identify Lymon's most ""adooring"" fan. The answer, she'll find, isn't among the exotic fauna of Lymon's Hollywood crew, but in his well-hidden connection to a Massachusetts drug clinic. Only a first novel would squander such an impossibly rich collection of zanies and subplots before methodically unpacking the most elaborate frame-up in years. Even if you don't cotton to Queenie Davilov, you're bound to be impressed.