In Masterson's second Jim Rook series installment (Rook, p. 246), Catherine White Bird, the daughter of a Navajo, is able to turn at will into a huge, raging creature whose 12-inch claw- spread can tear holes in steel when not ripping out human hearts. A bout of pneumonia in childhood left Jim Rook equipped, like it or not, with psychic insight. Today, as a teacher at a community college in California, he runs a remedial class for slow learners, whom be brings up to speed by exposing them to modern poetry (Whitman, Ginsberg, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and others)--a terrific hit, as it turns out. But poetry is not all balm, either. It just so happens that one of his students, the lovely Catherine, was promised in marriage at age 12 to the demonic and detestable Dog Brother, who can call forth the terrible spirit known among the Navajo as Coyote. Catherine, now 15, has a boyfriend, Brad, who is suddenly found clawed to pieces. At the same time, the locker room for the school's football team is savaged, its lockers bent and ripped by giant claws, the team's uniforms shredded and helmets burst. Rook's apartment and all the contents are similarly shredded--and his cat murdered. Catherine's brothers, Paul and Grey Cloud, have a heavy-handed way of protecting their sister, which angers Rook. But he's informed by Catherine's father, Henry Black Eagle, that if he really wants to appease Dog Brother--and save Catherine- -then Rook must take his girlfriend Susan, two students, and Catherine and pay a visit to Dog Brother on the Navajo reservation. When Rook does so, though, he finds that the students and Susan are actually intended as sacrifices to Coyote. He also discovers that Catherine herself, not Dog Brother or Coyote, is Changing Bear Maiden, the raging black beast. . . . Styleless but straightforward, very nearly a YA novel.