Consider this a minor glitch in Lutz's estimable career, a sketchily researched study of the seemingly tawdry, emotionally bleak world of the competitive ballroom dancer. Someone, it seems, is eviscerating and throat-slashing attractive entrants at various dance gatherings; and although the police are slow to connect the killer with the venue, competitor Mary Arlington is not: She notices a decided resemblance between two of the victims and herself. Has her abusive lover Jake run amok? Or the husband of one of the other victims? Or perhaps a smarmy dance instructor or a jealous contest loser? As Mary prepares for her first major competition, she runs afoul of the maniac in a deserted parking lot--and is barely saved by a cop and a reporter. Downbeat background, which is made all the worse by an easy- to-spot villain. Not by any means up to the author's Nudger series.