Before Senator Harvey Banks can convene a blue-ribbon committee that could give Antonio DeLisa some anxious moments, Tuxedo Tony plans to have him taken for a ride. But his first attempt backfires when the senator's bodyguard, FBI agent Reggie Stanton, sends Tony's designated drivers home dead with an attached note: ``The next time this will be you, DeLisa.'' Enraged, Tony imports father-and-son assassins Karl and Ernest Steiger to finish the job. The basic story is as simple as that, except that (1) Tony's traumatized daughter Rachel, frantic to escape from her father, wishes the note would hurry up and come true; (2) Rachel's current minder is really undercover cop Judy Daniels, self-styled Mistress of Disguise/High Priestess of Mayhem; (3) Judy's latest victim, maniacal killer Armand Hagar, is now on Tony's payroll; (4) Stanton, an ex-cop implicated in a couple of eerily similar executions 15 years ago, is willing to go up against anybody--DeLisa's men, the Chicago blues, his Bureau chief--to bring down Tony; and (5) Stanton is no stranger to the Steiger family. Did we mention that Commander Larry Cole (Windy City, 1995) is in on the shenanigans, too, even though he doesn't get to double-cross anybody? Except for an unnecessary detour back to 1979 to show Stanton acquiring his prowess with the ``Whistling Dagger of Death,'' Holton races through his feverish tale like Scheherazade on speed; the result is wildly, powerfully pulpy. Shove over, William Caunitz.