An overachieving New York cop meets her match in the monstrous pharmaceutical executive whose taste for seriously offbeat sex has left a prostitute dead in the hotel room he shared with his wife. From the beginning, Lewis (House Rules, 1994), working inside Ingrid Santerre’s dazzled brain, emphasizes how nightmarishly normal the death scene seems to her. There’s the clothing and makeup to readjust, the room to clean, the oversized suitcase to purchase (that’s her husband Gabriel’s job), the corpse to bathe and untie before packing it up. But Ingrid, programmed to obey her masterful husband, slips a cog and calls the police, and when the couple is prevented from checking out with their hideous baggage, Gabriel, calm as the villainous husband in Dial M for Murder, smoothly switches gears and offers to testify against his wife in exchange for immunity. He’s got both the forceful personality and the political clout to cut a great deal for himself; and when Caroline Reese, the detective assigned to grill Ingrid, tries to get her to protect herself by fighting back, she finds that Gabriel’s been planting evidence against this awkward eventuality for a long time, and that addled Ingrid’s in no shape to roll over on anybody. Reese’s only hope is Lynn Carver, a prostitute who was lucky enough to survive her encounter with the Santerres. But Carver, a veteran of a heroin habit and taste tests of a dozen other designer drugs Gabriel fed her, reveals through a series of conversations as elliptical as any by Henry James--though a lot more sordid--that she isn’t exactly anxious to get back into the ring with Santerre, and when she does, it’s on his terms, not hers or Reese’s. Bad news for Reese, who’s already carrying the obligatory load of guilt that will keep her until it’s almost too late from seeing just how things stand between the Santerres. Gabriel is a little too obviously a double-breasted bogeyman to carry much conviction. But when Lewis stays close to Ingrid, her matter-of-fact dissociation is horrifyingly real.