A galloping nightmare centered on the schizoid blackouts and fantasies of a murderer in the hours before he is captured in a New Jersey hotel. In his madness Philip the draftsman becomes an exquisite French nobleman fleeing the Revolution, an escape from disorder that takes the form of a preoccupation with clocks. ""Whatever is left to itself goes wild, grows rampant, falls into disrepair, or loses time."" Swinging between reality and the mechanism of perfect balance, Philip revisits his victims--a girl near a lake of swans and an army sergeant, emasculated, in a pay toilet. In case there is any doubt as to why Philip is stark staring bonkers, some of his damp interior journeys encompass shaping events like a childhood rape by his father and an observation of violent sex acts. He cannot accept his humanness and in the process of withdrawal becomes a machine for ""symmetrical"" endings--hence the murders, as sexual resolutions. Mr. Coleman writes with precocious balance and care but this remains a clinical disengagement.