Acting jobs in New York aren't the most reliable source of income, and so Dana Coakley fills the time between TV ads for coffee by doubling as super of her Upper West Side building. As a super she's naturally interested when things go wrong in other buildings, but she finds Travis Williams's story hard to believe. The surly kid from an alternative school tells her that his building, an SRO called the Harrison, was torched (to the tune of ten fatalities) by a friend of a friend of a friend--and this last friend, the only potential witness, can't go to the cops because he's been the victim of a timely drive-by shooting. Putting on her actress hat--despite this debut novel's title, she puts in almost no time as a super--Dana makes a series of increasingly nosey, and dangerous, forays into the rarefied world of Mitchell Brandon, the sharklike developer who'd been interested in the Harrison site. Before you know it, she's getting razzed by her sidekick, socialite book editor Peggy Woodruff; pushed around by the D.A.'s office; and beaten up by thugs who threaten her with worse. Dana's masquerades--she tries to be all things to all men in order to pump at least some of them--are often amusing, as is her banter with Peggy; but they're not enough to compensate for the pokey pace and lack of mystery. A lackadaisical slice of downscale New York chic, whose dependably bright-eyed heroine deserves fewer fits and starts.