The slender story of a messy Dallas divorce--husband hires hit man--that Dallas Morning News reporter Schutze pumps up to the size of an ascent balloon. Linda and Robert Edelman met in 1967 at the Univ. of Oklahoma, where she was a star in the music department. They married and moved to N.Y.C., he learning the basics of sales hustling and she making unsuccessful rounds of auditions. During this period, Robert punched Linda for the first time. Soon, his violence became the keynote of their marriage, although Schutze provides few clues as to what made Robert tick, other than that he was a bad man. The couple moved to Dallas, where Robert began getting pumped up with long ears and big houses: Banks had huge amounts of oil-boom money to loan and real-estate developers--Robert's new game--were throwing up houses like slot machines spitting out quarters. Two children issued from the marriage, but Robert ignored them as persistently as he choked and hit his wife. Linda found a high-powered divorce attorney who was able to counter Robert's by-then considerable influence in Dallas's nouveau fiche set. The lawyer soon informed Linda that Robert had contracted with a hit man to protect his fortune and that the FBI had set up a sting: Robert's hired gun was actually an agent. Here, Schutze starts inflating his prose with bargain-sized servings of contrived G-man dialogue (""...here's the deal. We have some FBI-type pieces we have to put into play this coming week, before the deal will be ready to go""). Linda is stashed in a remote location so her husband will think his hireling has killed her, and the only drama remaining is whether Linda's friends' subsequent search for her will screw up the FBI's trap. Numbing.