Believable medical suspense, in Wilson's best work since the first half of his Nazi-vampire epic, The Keep (1981), and the inspired plot of Reprisal (1991). Wilson's most sensible, reigned-in plot so far features an attractive and well-spoken villain whose warped take on things is understandable, if not justified. At 62, Dr. Duncan Lathram is the lean, handsome former vascular surgeon (``a gonzo with a scalpel, unafraid to take on any vascular catastrophe'') who has given up his miraculous gift to become Washington's greatest plastic surgeon, albeit one who attends only those vain folks who want (and can pay for) him, not those who need him. Secretly, though, he also performs at a surgical clinic for the very poor who can't afford him. (Some time ago, in his earlier career, he saved the life of Gina Panzella when she was a child; now she's his chief assistant.) Elitist Lathram has the hates for the government officials he revamps, especially the members of a medical-guidelines reform committee about to submit a program that Lathram knows will dilute the quality of the nation's medical procedures. Five years ago, furthermore, his teenaged daughter died in a fall, a death he attributes to the lawmakers. Now, in revenge, he's putting implants into members of the medical guidelines committee, implants that contain TPD, a drug that drives its victims psychotic and that, once implanted, can be released subcutaneously by an ultrasound gun. That is, the victims suddenly go crazy in public when Duncan quietly opens up their implant. Meanwhile, Gina, romanced by an FBI agent, gets onto Duncan early and spends the novel assembling nasty facts about the man who saved her life and is her idol. And vastly against his will, Duncan must drive Gina psychotic to save America.... No guns, no terror, just a terrific story with Clint Eastwood as the heavy.