Big and brawny British police procedural--London cop vs. serial killer and cohorts--by the talented author of Glory and Crow's Parliament. Curtis presses a new wrinkle into the serial-killer formula by having his madman killing for pay, with one of the victims--an art dealer--a deliberate target screened by many randomly chosen others. After much spadework, Robin Culley of Scotland Yard becomes aware of the murderous conspiracy, but he still must catch sniper Eric Ross and figure out who hired him and why--even as Ross, as Culley soon realizes and as we learn from creepy forays into Ross's head, has become addicted to the godlike powers of death-dealing. Complicating both the plot and Culley's life--already tangled by his knotty relationship with his estranged wife--is the hiring, by the same mystery man who hired Ross, of sharpshooter Martin Jackson: once Ross's best pal but now aiming to shoot out-of- control Ross and then nosy Culley. As Jackson stalks Ross and Ross stalks innocents, Culley flies to Arizona to look into a rich art collector who's transformed his desert acres into a fantastic rose garden, and who may be the brains behind the killings. But he's only a guilty accomplice, as Culley learns by ruthlessly seducing the man's neurotic daughter and using her as blackmail-bait, leading to her suicide. Back in England, as the panicking masterminds behind the killings--key to an art-theft scam--bump each other off, Culley at last snares Ross, only to have Jackson kill Ross, then dangle Culley's wife from a high window and drop her--an indiscretion that Culley avenges in a mano-Ö-mano showdown on a fog-swept moor. Kind of a sophisticated cops-and-robbers variant of the spaghetti western: tough yet sentimental, unwieldy yet grand, suspenseful yet utterly predictable as its textured yet super-macho hero and villains vector toward their inexorable fates.