In a third outing, Chicago police Detective Jeremy Ransom (Ransom for an Angel, 1995, etc.) and partner Gerald White are assigned to a particularly nasty killing. Nails have been hammered into the hands and feet of a teenaged boy, his head bashed in, and his naked body dumped into the trash. The victim is identified as Danny Lyman, member of an offbeat religious group called the Community; its leader is the ever-smiling but autocratic Reverend Samuel Draper. As the cops interview the minister and others in the Community, they find that Danny was too independent-minded for a church that demands utter obedience. (The church dictates every element of life; members are allowed to marry only other adherents of the faith.) When Danny's roommate Michael Franklin is similarly tortured, murdered, and his nude body dumped into trash behind a gay bar, Ransom and White grill the Reverend and his devoted associate Saul Berne--a man known to be quick to anger when anyone dares to question Rev. Sam's authority. Meanwhile, Ransom visits his sometime sidekick, the grandmotherly Emily Charters, now ailing in the hospital, and the two talk about life, literature, and, occasionally, the case. A plot that would seem thin in a novella is interminable in a full-length mystery. Here, the action appears to be taking place not in a big American city but in the world of an old-fashioned British novel, with an unsurprising climax to boot.