In her first outing since Prior Convictions (1991), Willa Jansson, unlike her creator ``one of the few lawyers without a legal thriller in the works,'' has the perfect excuse for missing her first day at the newest of her numberless jobs: She's been taken hostage by a gun-toting madman. Well, she hasn't really; seeing her old family friend, benighted mythology professor Arthur Kenna, waving a gun at a man pretending to be his holdup victim, she's impulsively rescued gentle Arthur by pretending to be his hostage and spirited him away from the San Francisco police and off to the woods outside Santa Cruz--the very place, it turns out, where Arthur's assistant, Kwakiutl shaman Billy Seawuit, has just been murdered. Since the law is still very interested in Willa and Arthur, they go to ground among Billy's recent collaborators in Cyberdelics, the mom-and-pop computer firm whose latest projects include hardware that can smell and respond to your thoughts, and a software program called TechnoShaman, which will allow your computer to heal the sick and talk to the dead. Sound crazy? Wait till Willa sees Arthur keening in hours-long grief at Bowl Rock, or runs into the demigod/shaman Pan. As in The Maltese Falcon, a constant stream of loony byplay keeps you from doping out whodunit--unless you can call on your own online shaman.