A suspense thriller, something of a departure for Heckler, who hitherto has dealt with overheated family embroilments--mothering and love trials of a Vietnam war-wife in Safekeeping (1983); alcoholism in A Fragile Peace (1986); and spatting siblings in White Lies (1989). Here, a distraught, increasingly desperate mother of a small son discovers and tracks her husband's killer- -who, by the close, is on the prowl for both his followers. Deena, husband Tim, and son Jon have a restaurant get-together in Manhattan, with court artist Martin and jewelry designer Paul- -old friends of Tim's whose families had summered at the same lake upstate. It was at the lake that two beloved women drowned--Paul's adored mother Sarah, and Jenny, the girl Martin was to marry. Deena, Tim, and Jon also vacation at the lake, and it is during a river raft trip that Tim is murdered, bludgeoned and drowned. The reader will learn the serial killer's identity soon enough, but Deena's chilling knowledge does not arrive until after the funeral. But in spite of the ``accidental'' verdict of the medical examiner, Deena's suspicions begin with a photo taken with Tim's camera, and then she finds a witness--mute, crippled, ancient. Once the murderer's identity is known to Deena, and his psychotic mind begins alternately to freeze and flame, Jon's life and Deena's are in immediate danger. Frantic tracks of pursuit and escape meet in a cave where death is inevitable. The characters, including the homicidal lunatic, are not completely believable, but the sleuthing and suspense are sharp and fast.