Low-profile freelance reporter Jack McMorrow (Deadline, 1993, not reviewed) sticks his head above the treeline long enough to contract for an article on ``Kids Having Kids,'' then homes in on one particular high-school kid: Missy Hewitt, a success story of sorts who put her baby up for adoption and left Prosperity, Maine, to enter a nursing program in Portland six months ago. Trouble is that determined Missy's been having second thoughts about the adoption, and the day after she phones Jack with her reservations, she's found dead, strangled. Back in Prosperity, there isn't a single lead--unless you count a truculent boy who vandalizes Jack's property and threatens to vandalize him, and Missy's redoubtable mother, who has completely different designs on his body. With the local and state police he's called in on the vandalism more suspicious of him than of anybody else, Jack has no choice but to follow the trail of Missy's baby--only to end up making a lot of people unhappy, some of those being rich and influential, one of them dangerously unbalanced. Spenser in the sticks. Jack, who has a nice line in patter, seems to relate to people through a combination of avoidance and sarcasm; the dialogue hums and crackles as engagingly as his master's.