A hard-cover debut for San Francisco p.i. Catherine Sayler, a semi-self-sufficient type who relies only on her lover Peter (a gun-totin' p.i.), her ex-husband Dan (a homicide cop), and her wisecracking assistant Jesse when absolutely necessary--i.e., when her mastery of aikido, her leads, and her author's plot fail her. This time out, Catherine is hired by Daniel Martin, senior v.p. of First Central Savings, to find missing bank executive James Mendoza, who may be planning a computer-generated robbery of five million dollars of the bank's funds. The trail leads to a trio of Mendoza's Vietnam cronies (one is soon killed), and Catherine begins to suspect that a fourth buddy, Luis Ramirez, did not really die in Vietnam: if she can locate him, she'll find Mendoza. But first, Catherine's attacked in the park and in the hospital parking lot; Pete's hospitalized with two slugs in his chest; there's a confrontation in a Colorado cabin; and Jesse is used as bait to smoke out the real villain of the story--whom readers will have identified way back before the first phone was tapped or the first punch thrown. Serviceable prose, but the flimsiest of plots--and Catherine's not in the same league as her competition, V.I. Warshawski or Kinsey Millhone.