As Lt. Bill Corde--still haunted by the tragic mistake that drove him off the St. Louis police force to quiet New Lebanon, Missouri- -hunts for the killer of Auden University coed Jennie Gebben, the murder is already beginning to tear his own family apart. His high- school son Jamie--who's narrowly survived the result of someone having tampering with his bicycle--knows much too much about the murder, and the killer has secretly befriended Corde's learning-impaired daughter Sarah by leaving her notes encouraging her to run away and by sending unsettling photographs of her to her father. Besides the full-dress investigation of the Auden case, then--replete with the standard professorial lusts for sex and power--Deaver plays expertly, and at shameless length, on Jamie's fatal secret and Sarah's precarious progress, as a helpful visiting tutor tussles with her secret friend the Sunshine Man for her life. Deaver (Mistress of Justice, etc.) combines academic malfeasance, small-town police department politics, and family melodrama with all the requisite mystery and suspense for a double dose of pleasure.