Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cooper, in charge of New York County's Sex Crimes Unit, was intimately involved in her first case (Final Jeopardy, 1996)--the victim was a friend of hers, killed perhaps in error for her--but this time the case is just a case: the brutal assault and slashing of Dr. Gemma Dogen, head of neurosurgery at the behemoth Mid-Manhattan Medical Center. The killing looks like the work of one of the numberless nutcases confined to its wards (or resident in the labyrinth of tunnels that connect its buildings), but Alex thinks the motive is more insidious, based on the long list of enemies Gemma Dogen's professional practice had brought her. While she's waiting for the very unscientific brainstorm that will finger the perp, she has time (lacking a personal interest in the case) for a didactic sex-crimes lecture to an appreciative audience, a posh transatlantic crime conference, a million self-infatuated reflections about her lingerie and microwave menus, and some very funny tales of the rabbi who molests cleaning ladies and the enema freak who does a number on the cop Alex has placed under the covers of a Mid-Manhattan bed. Only the throwaway anecdotes about colorful lesser sex offenders pack any punch; not even Alex's romance with a wonderful new man whose late wife died under Dr. Dogen's knife carries the slightest conviction. It's hard to remember a second novel as keenly disappointing as this one. For forensics addicts only.