A particularly nasty case falls on Detective April Woo's plate just as she's cramming for the NYPD sergeant's exam: the strangling and hanging of an Upper West Side salesgirl as she was at the point of closing her store just a few steps away from April's precinct house. Albert Block, the accountant across the street, soon confesses to Maggie Wheeler's murder, but even though he knows a few choice details about the crime--what Maggie was wearing when she was strung up, for example--April and her colleagues don't believe him. And they're right, because we know even before a second salesgirl is killed over on the East Side that the murderer is dangerously unbalanced Camille Honiger-Stanton. Or is it, after all? Could the pushy redhaired killer with the friendly dog actually be a transvestite impersonation by Camille's boyfriend Nathan Bouck, the brutal caretaker who keeps her confined in a straitjacket--or a masquerade by her sister Milicia, a glamorous architect who's tearfully consulted April's psychiatrist friend Jason Frank about her out-of-control sister? Just as long as April and Jason's debut (Burning Time, 1993), and even less propulsive, since the regulars' continuing problems don't make them continuously engaging. Skip every other page and you won't miss a thing.