Ross Macdonald isn't the only ghost hovering over this case, in which psychiatrist Phil Pearson hires Cincinnati p.i. Harry Stoner (Extenuating Circumstances, etc.) to track down his daughter Kirsten; there's also, in Macdonald's manner, the ghost of Phil's first wife Estelle, an apparent suicide 13 years agoa suicide that now, thanks to Kirsty's ties through her brother Ethan to psychotic killer Herbert Talmadge, looks more and more like murder. Crisscrossing Ohio with unusual somberness, Harry uncovers a truly hair-raising trail of nasty sex, child abuse, blackmail, and multiple murder (Estelle, a pair of nurses, a young airman and his son, Herbert Talmadge, andinevitably and heartbreakinglyKirsty and Ethan). You'll see the solution coming 50 pages before Harry does, but that won't stop the shivers when it finally arrives. More, much more, than a restaging of The Chill and The Far Side of the Dollar: what Valin lacks in originality this time he makes up in genuinely tragic power.